Timberwolves Plan Chinese New Year Celebration for February 13
Event to be recognized by Chinese government as an official Chinese New Year celebration
Minneapolis-St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced plans for their largest-ever Chinese New Year celebration in conjunction with their game against the Houston Rockets at Target Center on Tuesday, February 13. Game time is set for 7 pm.
The Timberwolves have been hosting Chinese New Year celebrations for years, but this season’s will be the most robust to date in representation of the team’s continued growth in popularity in China. In 2016, Lizhang “John” Jiang became the first Chinese minority owner in major professional sports. The Timberwolves also participated in the NBA China Games during the 2017-18 preseason, matching up against the Golden State Warriors in both Shenzhen and Shanghai.
Due to the growth in the team’s popularity in China, the organization has been able to open other doors from a business perspective, including corporate partnerships with TCL and O-RANGE Sports, both headquartered in China. The Timberwolves Weibo account has grown to 2.8 million followers, a 300% increase over the past year.
The event will be recognized by the Chinese government as one of the official Chinese New Year events around the world.
In attendance for the event will be special guest Hong Lei, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago. While in town, Lei and Timberwolves executives will meet with students from the University of Minnesota China Center, members of Global Minnesota and Timberwolves corporate partners. Lei will also receive a gift from the team before the game on the court, an important gesture in Chinese culture.
The entire experience in-arena has been themed to the night, including pregame performances from Huaxia Chinese Elementary School in synchronized dribbling and a traditional Lion Dance, the national anthem performed using a Chinese pipa by Gao Hong, a halftime performance of a traditional Dragon Dance from CAAM Chinese Dance Theater and a Timberwolves Dancers routine set to Chinese pop music. Text on the scoreboard will include Chinese translations and a variety of in-game contests will be tailored to the night.
During the third quarter, the team will present Minnesota International Chinese School with a $5,000 donation. MICS is a non-profit organization established by public school Chinese teachers around the Twin Cities. They are dedicated to serving the community by providing an encouraging and unique program to learn Chinese language and culture. Through their weekend language school program, they currently have nearly 300 students across 30 different classes. Tickets were also provided to MICS and Huaxia Chinese Elementary School through the Timberwolves Tickets for Kids program.
The first 500 kids to visit the Kids Zone in the 200 level will receive a plush toy dog, celebrating 2018 being the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Dog.