|SHANGHAI, Sept. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Yum China Holdings, Inc. (the “Company” or “Yum China“) (NYSE: YUMC) announced the launch of the KFC 3×3 Basketball Championship 2017 in China. Now in its 14th year, it is expected that more than 430,000 students from over 4,600 schools will take part in the 2017 competition.
Yao Ming, President of the Chinese Basketball Association, launched the event at the official opening ceremony at Tsinghua University High School in Beijing. Yao Ming commented, “3×3 basketball is entering a new phase of explosive growth and the sport has recently been added to the roster for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo. KFC’s national competition demonstrates the huge potential of the sport in China and will provide a launching pad for the players of the future.”
In 2004, KFC partnered with the Chinese Basketball Association to launch the KFC National 3×3 Youth Basketball Championship, one of the largest corporate-sponsored grassroots sports programs in China. The program started with 48,000 participants from 172 cities. Today, the competition has rapidly evolved to become one of the largest and most influential youth basketball tournaments in the country. In 2016, over 11.2 million people watched the competition’s final championship game and closing ceremony online.
“3×3 basketball is a fantastic sport that encourages teamwork and inspires young people to lead active, healthy lifestyles,” said Joey Wat, President and Chief Operating Officer, Yum China. “We hope this competition serves as a platform for young emerging basketball players to showcase their amazing skills and realize their dreams.”
Yum China and KFC are committed to promoting the importance of balanced, active lifestyles, and the 3×3 basketball competition is a central component of this initiative. Requiring fewer players and a smaller court, the condensed format basketball game is highly accessible and helps to improve the fitness of teenagers across China.
In recent years, the KFC 3×3 Basketball Championship has also helped young basketball players pursue their professional aspirations. Li Haonan, a player from Xinjiang who was on the championship winning team of the 2016 competition, was invited to join the Chinese Olympic Basketball Team’s official training roster. He is the first middle school student to be selected to join the national basketball team.