The NBA decided to continue to export more than ever

“There are more markets that want matches than we can offer”explained to AFP Mark Tatum, the deputy commissioner of the North American Basketball League. « The world is big. We’ve played in a lot of places, but there are still a lot of opportunities »he further assured, referring in particular to Germany, Italy and Greece as countries likely to host meetings. “At some point we will be back in India”added Tatum, who is also considering « preseason, regular season matches in Africa ».

This year, as a prelude to the next exercise which will begin on October 18, pre-season matches are planned in Japan and Abu Dhabi. Stephen Curry’s Golden State Warriors, defending champions, will face the Washington Wizards, team where young Japanese star Rui Hachimura plays, on September 30 and October 2, in the Saitama Super Arena, located in the suburbs of Tokyo, where Team USA won Olympic gold last year against France in the final. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks, champions in 2021, and the Atlanta Hawks will play the very first NBA team matches in the United Arab Emirates on October 6 and 8. « They have a world-class facility. They know how to do it right », assured Tatum. As in the 2019-2020 season, the last before the pandemic, Mexico City and then Paris will host a regular season game. The Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs will meet in Mexico on December 17, the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons will face Bercy on January 19.

« Bringing Cultures Together »

« For (Frenchman from Detroit) Killian Hayes, playing in his home country is going to be great“, said Tatum, who expects to see NBA fans flocking to Paris from all over Europe, to also see the Montenegrin of Chicago, Nikola Vucevic, two-time All-Star Game selection. 70% of NBA social media followers are outside the U.S. And while TV broadcasts of the games have already been watched by fans in 214 different nations and more than 50 languages ​​last season, Tatum claims that offshoring dating is « an important element » of the « commercial strategy ».

« There’s nothing quite like watching a live match for the hundreds of millions of fans around the world. »

« There’s nothing like watching a real match for the hundreds of millions of fans around the world. It’s a way for us to bring cultures, people and our fans together. », he insisted. In total since 1978, the NBA has scheduled 205 matches in 20 different countries, outside of American and Canadian cities. China has long been one of the NBA’s main markets, until the diplomatic incident in October 2019, sparked by a tweet in support of Hong Kong protesters from Daryl Morey, then leader of the Houston Rockets. The NBA, which had refused to sanction Morey, arguing that freedom of expression was an immutable principle, suffered heavy losses from the crisis as Chinese authorities ceased broadcasts until March this year.

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