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Cavaliers, hoping to expand footprint, sign on 2 international firms

Shortly before their first NBA Finals home game in eight years, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced plans to capitalize on becoming a global brand.

The team said it has hired ESP Properties to represent the company in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America, and Property Consulting Group to forge partnerships in Australia, where Matthew Dellavedova and Kyrie Irving were born.

While international television deals are split equally among all 30 NBA teams, and so too is merchandise sales, team sponsorship deals are not shared.

The Cavaliers say more than half of the team's nearly 4 million followers are from fans abroad and 25 percent of the traffic to the Cavaliers official website this year has come from international fans. The countries with the most fans include the Philippines, Brazil, France, Canada and Australia.

Thanks in part to Yao Ming, the Houston Rockets have been the leader in foreign sponsorships in the NBA. In the past, the team has signed deal with Chinese brands Yanjing (beer), ZTE (phones) and shoes (Peak) and Taiwanese tire brand Maxxis.

In 2012, LeBron James signed a deal with Dunkin Donuts to promote its brand in China. From October through February, the Cavaliers were the only team that had two players in the top 10 best selling jerseys in China (LeBron #6, Irving #9).