AntPool, a Chinese bitcoin mining company, has been named an official sponsor of the Houston Rockets for the 2018/19 season. As part of the partnership, AntPool is building an exhibition inside the Toyota Center, scheduled to launch on Jan. 19.
AntPool claims to be the second-largest bitcoin mining operation in the world. The company is a subsidiary of Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies, a bitcoin mining company that reportedly generated $3-4 billion in profit in 2017.
“As far as professional sports teams go, the Houston Rockets are legendary across the globe, and what better way to continue the momentum of our U.S. expansion than partnering with the prolific Houston Rockets basketball club, the No. 1 team in China,” said Haijiao Li, AntPool’s overseas operations manager, in an official post on Facebook.
AntPool will invest $500 million in the U.S. economy as part of the company’s Texas expansion, per the South China Morning Post. In August, Bitmain announced it was opening up a blockchain data center in Rockdale, Texas, a city about 130 miles west of Houston. According to the Facebook post, AntPool’s goal with U.S. expansion is to grow the company’s client base while educating consumers about mining technology.
The post also identifies factors such as rapid population growth, strong economies, and business-friendly regulations as the main reasons why Antpool landed on the Houston area for expansion.
“We’re excited to work with AntPool as a conduit in the U.S. for their ever-growing business,” said Rockets Vice President of Corporate Development John Croley, according to the Facebook post. “The Rockets are always looking to stay ahead of the curve with technology both on and off the court and AntPool’s prowess with cryptocurrency makes for a great partnership.”
Shanghai-born, Hall-of-Famer Yao Ming’s 11-year career with the Rockets cemented Houston’s place as “China’s team.” Ming’s popularity clearly continues to benefit the Rockets in China, where the NBA is considered to be the most popular sports league. Ming is now the president of the Chinese Basketball Association, and the strong affiliation between the Rockets and his home country may continue to foster partnerships like this one with AntPool.
Read more: sporttechie.com