DURHAM — Duke basketball will dip a toe into international waters Saturday by offering a Mandarin broadcast of its game against Virginia.
The broadcast, featuring three undergraduate student announcers, will be the first of its kind for the Atlantic Coast Conference. It will be available live and on demand on the Duke sports website.
The game is at 2 p.m. Saturday That's 3 a.m. in China.
The broadcast will be one small step for a university steadily expanding its presence in China. Duke has more than 1,000 current students, faculty and staff there, as well as more than 600 alumni. Last year, the university began developing a campus in partnership with the city of Kunshan, China, expected to open in 2012.
"In my opinion, this is much more forward-looking on the part of Duke," said Simon Partner, director of Duke's Asia/Pacific Studies Institute. "They'd like to be a bicultural institution, so broadcasting in Chinese would be symbolic, rather than trying to meet some demand."
The demand for a Mandarin version of a Duke radio broadcast isn't clear. Professional basketball is quite popular in China, and Duke is known there as well, said Pan Wu, president of the Duke Chinese Students Association. But college athletics are less visible, he added.
But the broadcast may be popular with Chinese students studying at Duke, said Wu. Many arrive in Durham and take quickly to local customs.
"A lot of students go to the games," he said. "They do the [Krzyzewskiville] camping and really enjoy it."
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