NBA Making Push In India, Hoping To Replicate Grassroots Success In China
Heat F Chris Bosh visited India last month as "part of a well-orchestrated effort" by the NBA to "make an all-American game hugely popular in India," according to Shareen Pathak of AD AGE. The "hope is to create more Chinas." NBA Int'l President Heidi Ueberroth said that the league has been "developing the game there for 30 years, and China is now the NBA's largest market outside the U.S." NBA India Managing Dir Yannick Colaco said that the country is "an ideal place to grow the sport." Basketball "requires little space -- a commodity in major Indian cities like Mumbai or New Delhi." In addition, half of India's population is "under the age of 25 and 65% is under 35." Pathak wrote what is "remarkable about the NBA's effort in the market is its speed -- or lack thereof." Colaco is "emphatic that the league doesn't just want to increase the number of people watching basketball, but focus on grassroots development to seed long-term growth." A basic interest in basketball among Indians "already exists, but what's needed is infrastructure, which is what led the NBA to organize 450 events at the local level over the last few years." Colaco said that the league this month will "launch a comprehensive amateur three-on-three tournament featuring Indian colleges, an attempt to get them 'engaged' in the NBA brand." The league already has "partnered with brands" including adidas, Coca-Cola and Nike in India, and its national recreational league's latest season "had 6,000 players participate" (ADAGE.com, 8/13).