Project REAL



Project REAL

Latest News

EABA announces partnership with Gobi Partners on new league formation

EABA announces partnership with Gobi Partners on new league formation

(HONG KONG) The East Asia Basketball Association (EABA) announces strategic partnership with pan-Asia VC firm Gobi Partners to accelerate the formation of a new East…

EABA announces partnership with Gobi Partners on new…

EABA announces partnership with Gobi Partners on new…

(HONG KONG) The East Asia Basketball Association (EABA) announces strategic…

What is Project REAL?

REAL stands for “Rising East Asia League”, a strategic initiative under the framework of the East Asia Basketball Association. REAL’s purpose is to evaluate the status of current international club basketball competition in the region and to come up with an actionable plan for a new, pan-regional league. The plan will be rolled out in 2024.


East Asia Basketball Association (EABA) is one of six sub-zones of FIBA Asia.
The current EABA President is Mr. Yao Ming.

East Asia: Heart of Global Growth

East Asia is the most populous region in the world. A hub of global megacities and world-class infrastructure, it is also home to the world’s 2nd, 3rd, and 10th largest economies. East Asia is the engine of growth today and tomorrow.

Basketball: No.1 Team Sport of East Asia

East Asia is home to the world’s largest basketball fanbase. Within Greater China in particular, basketball is the number one team sport by number of participants. Basketball’s popularity has drawn leading events with global reach to the region: for example, the NBA has a long history of hosting exhibition games in East Asia and the FIBA 2019 World Cup was held in China. Japan is one of the host nations for FIBA 2023 World Cup.

CBA – Mainland China,
Since 1995

20 Teams

B.LEAGUE – Japan,
Since 2016

38 Teams

KBL – Korea,
Since 1997

10 Teams

Pan-Regional Challenges & Opportunities

  • Despite a large fanbase, East Asia’s basketball competitiveness is behind Europe and America.

  • The gap between a lucrative market and current level of play leads to a weaker voice in the FIBA system.

  • The existing pan-regional league has failed to attract participation from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

  • There is a need for new, sustainable competition to promote regional exchange and improve overall competitiveness.

  • The close proximity among East Asia’s top cities makes international home and away schedule manageable.

Ultimate Goal of Project REAL

Build a sustainable pan-regional league that will elevate the level of East Asia’s basketball.

Project Leader:
Mr. Jintian Jay Li

Current Roles:

  • Advisor to the President, East Asia Basketball Association
  • Founder and CEO, Beijing LHL Culture Co., Ltd.
  • Executive Director, Joe Tsai Basketball Scholarship

Previous Roles:

  • Head of Strategy and Team Operations, CBA League Company
  • Special Assistant to the President, Chinese Basketball Association
  • Advisor, Sports Investments, Hony Capital
  • International Business Development, National Basketball Association


  • Schwarzman Scholar, Tsinghua University ’17


Led by Mr. Jay Li, the project is supported by global elite
professionals in sports management, consulting, media, and finance who have worked at companies including NBA, FIFA, ESPN, McKinsey & Co., Bain & Company and J.P. Morgan.

For more information,
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