NBA Commissioner David Stern said that the globalization of basketball is on his "short-list of accomplishments for which he is most proud," according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY. Stern admits that he "wasn't sure how far the NBA's reach could go when he first started this global mission." But the NBA, "without question, has made its mark worldwide." After eight preseason games and two regular-season games are "played in 10 cities and seven countries and territories" in the '13-14 campaign, the NBA "will have hosted 148 international games in all while having two regular season games in two different countries" outside the U.S. and Canada for the first time. First-time preseason games are "being played in the Philippines and Brazil, and the cities of Manchester, UK, and Bilbao, Spain." The NBA's social media following is "enormous, with more than 445 million likes and followers worldwide on Twitter and Facebook, respectively, for league, teams and players." Stern said of the notion that the growth of international games might lead to the day when NBA teams are housed in Europe or beyond, "I don't know the answer (to that question), but we're beginning to take the steps. ... At some distant point in the future, it may result in serious consideration of (more international) franchises, but that's better for talking than for doing at this point. But I do think it will lead to discussions with various groups in Asia about NBA-sponsored or NBA branded competitions in the like as this incredible population mass and growth looks for opportunities to associate with our game" (USA TODAY, 10/2).
Leagues and Governing Bodies
David Beckham and Brightstar Communications CEO Marcelo Claure "remain in serious discussions" about bringing an MLS franchise to Miami, but "nothing has been finalized, the stadium issue is still a question mark, and another interested ownership group emerged this week," according to Michelle Kaufman of the MIAMI HERALD. A source said that Beckham and Claure "met in Japan last week and plan to meet again in the next few weeks" in L.A. Beckham "has an option to buy a franchise for a sharply discounted price" believed to be $25M, but the option "expires in December, so he would have to decide before then." Meanwhile, a London-based investment group led by hedge fund The Children's Investment partner Alessandro Butini "made its pitch for MLS-to-Miami official on Tuesday, partnering with the University of Miami School of Architecture to develop ideas for a viable soccer-specific stadium, and launching a website -- MIA4MLS.com -- to drum up fan interest." Butini said that his plan "would include a privately-funded stadium." His partners include Marco Novelli, who has "been successful in real estate ventures", and Suzie MacCagnan, a former N.Y. financial advisor who "more recently has brokered deals" between foreign investment groups and EPL clubs. Butini said MLS Commissioner Don Garber "told me the stadium is the biggest variable, the No. 1 priority, so I am tackling that issue head on." Butini "gave a presentation to UM architecture students and a few local architects Monday," and he "sees Miami Beach or downtown Miami as the best places for a stadium, but has no specific location in mind yet" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/2).
UPDATE ON ORLANDO'S EXPANSION BID: In Orlando, Mark Schlueb reported two "small pieces of property are among the final hurdles for Orlando to clear before it can move forward with plans" to build an MLS stadium downtown, but the property's owners "aren't willing to negotiate." Because of that, the city of Orlando is "turning to eminent domain to seize the land at a court-ordered price." The team has said that MLS "requires its new franchises to play in soccer-specific stadiums." City commissioners are "expected to approve a funding package on Oct. 7, and Orange County commissioners will vote Oct. 22" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 10/1).