Basketball New Zealand announced a new partnership with Fonterra today, which has sponsored the Junior Tall Blacks with their dairy brand Anchor.

This announcement comes on the day the Junior Tall Blacks fly out for a preparation tour in China for six games, before heading to Cairo where they compete in the FIBA Under 19 World Cup, 1 - 9 July.

Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive Iain Potter said partnerships like this offer a great opportunity for organisations seeking recognition not only in New Zealand, but also throughout Asia, especially now that FIBA have added New Zealand to the Asia Zone.

"New Zealands national basketball teams are poised for great things. Our teams are now weeks out from being swept up in the FIBA Asia zone and Fonterra have joined us at a very exciting time. Their support of the Junior Tall Blacks is a great start - these young players have created New Zealand sporting history by becoming the first junior team to qualify and play in a FIBA World Cup. These talented young men are the future of the Tall Blacks and Fonterra have come aboard with Anchor to show their support as they step onto the world stage," said Potter today.

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This support follows research that was commissioned by Sport New Zealand to better understand the relevance of basketball in China. They found, of the 433 million television households in the country, 90% watched their national sports channel and the most popular national sport was basketball. Potter says it was exciting to think of New Zealands basketball brands entering that market, and becoming truly relevant to the hearts and minds of Chinese sports fanatics.

"People in China are absolutely fanatical about basketball and their national team is without doubt their most watched sports team. We learnt that if companies want to be endeared to the Chinese market, then an association with basketball is a fantastic avenue. The reach is immense - 38.6 million people watched the China team play the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup in 2015. And when the World Cup draw came out last month, drawing the Tall Blacks with host-nation China, suddenly the Tall Blacks brand became one of New Zealands most attractive sporting brands in China. So the potential is vast and Fonterra have had the foresight to test the waters with the Junior Tall Blacks.

"Its fantastic that the team will go over to Cairo with such a strong New Zealand brand. The company have done incredibly well in Asia and it seems to have a great symmetry as we step into the Asia region for the first time in a World Cup context," said Potter.

Kane Silcock, Fonterras Global Sponsorship Manager, says partnering with Basketball New Zealand was an exciting one at a time when basketball is on the rise.

"The fit between Fonterra, Anchor and the Junior Tall Blacks is a natural one on so many fronts.

"From a nutrition perspective, dairy is key in a healthy balanced diet and, even more so, when youre a top performing basketball player. It contains high quality protein with all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to build, repair and maintain muscle.

"From an attitude perspective, we believe that goodness provides strength, and leads to self-belief and the willingness to give anything a go. And as the Junior Tall Blacks compete they will be drawing on this attitude that is hard-wired into the Kiwi psyche.

"And finally, every day, as we turn our farmer owners milk into products that are then consumed all over the world, we recognise we have a responsibility to do Kiwis proud on the world stage and were delighted at the opportunity to support the Junior Tall Blacks in doing exactly this too," said Mr Silcock.

The Junior Tall Blacks depart for China tonight. Fans can follow the teams progress and show their support by tapping into Basketball New Zealand's Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts through @BasketballNZ.

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand