NBA Global Games Marginally Profitable, But Stern Claims That's Not The Objective
NBA Commissioner David Sten said the league's Global Games are "usually marginally profitable," but the intent of the international presence is to "grow the game so people can see the game in action and the events around the game and to give support the markets we play in and the surrounding markets in the same time zone," according to Jonathan Feigen of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Stern: "We’re serious about bringing the sport to the greatest number of people." Stern, who was is in the Phillipines for Thursday's Rockets-Pacers preseason game, added that he expects the NBA to return to that country and "other nations in Southeast Asia, but said that the distance rules out the possibility of regular season games so far from home" (CHRON.com, 10/10). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Jason Jones writes it is "only natural to wonder when the Kings might play in India" considering team Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive was born in the country. Kings coach Michael Malone said that he "would not be surprised to see the Kings play in India in the coming years." He said Ranadive has indicated "many, many times he wants to be a global brand." Malone: "With his background in India, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sacramento Kings playing a game there in the foreseeable future" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/11).
OVERSEAS GAMES ARE TRENDING: CNBC.com's Mark Koba noted the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB all have played overseas in recent years, and the "shuffling of pro teams to far-off places may seem out of order to American fans, but the moves are part of a growing trend to globalize U.S. sports." Analysts said that it is "not likely to abate anytime soon." Univ. of Indianapolis marketing professor Laurence DeGaris said, "The main reason for them staging more events overseas is because the U.S. sports market is very mature and cluttered, so the real growth opportunities lie outside the country." MLB Senior VP/Int'l Business Operations Paul Archey said, "If you want to be a global sport, you have to play in the overseas markets." Analysts said that if one league is "slightly ahead of the others in reaching a global audience, it's probably the NBA." The NBA "has some 14 offices overseas and has a long history of being the most global of sports leagues." An NBA spokesperson said that by the end of the preseason games, the NBA "will have staged a total of 146 games in 20 countries" since '78. Ketchum Sports & Entertainment VP Shawn McBride: "The exposure the NBA has in other countries has helped it attract players. You're seeing players from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia play in the league on a regular basis" (CNBC.com, 10/9).