Silver Says NBA Plans On Continuing Games In London And Throughout Europe
The Nets beat the Hawks 127-110 Thursday at London's O2 Arena, and NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver prior to the game said the league has "plans in place to continue playing regular-season games in London." The league also "hopes to continue building our business in London and throughout Europe." Despite the Nets' goal of building an int'l brand, the "plan is to spread it throughout the league" so different teams will play overseas. Silver said establishing a franchise in London and other "major European cities" is something "we've talked about for years." However, if the NBA went to Europe, it would "be with a division rather than a single team for ease of logistics." Silver: "Part of understanding the opportunity is to play games like this and to measure the response and go from there." Meanwhile, NBA Commissioner David Stern said despite Olympic qualifying games possibly occurring during the season, the league "will not be interrupting the NBA season nor will we be releasing our players to go play because that would be impractical as a business matter." The league, though, will "try to be as supportive as possible within our business model of the changes that they're making" (NBA TV, 1/16).
PUTTING ON A GOOD SHOW: Hawks' play-by-play announcer Bob Rathbun noted the majority of the "sold-out crowd of close to 20,000 has stayed until the end of the contest." Rathman: "The fans here at O2 give both teams a standing ovation. They enjoyed the NBA show, no doubt.” NBA TV's Jared Greenberg noted organizers "sold this game out in four hours." NBA TV's Andre Aldridge interviewed Stern, who is retiring on Feb. 1, during Thursday game and asked him, "“When you took over three decades ago, could you have envisioned this global growth?” Stern responded, “It would have been presumptuous to the max. Anymore than I could have anticipated that there would be an Internet or there would be satellite delivery of our signals or anything like that” ("Nets-Hawks," NBA TV, 1/16).
FOR MORE FROM LONDON: SBD Global correspondent Richard Gillis files a report from Stern and Silver’s discussion with the U.K. media from the Nolan Partners Sport Industry Breakfast at BT's central London headquarters. Meanwhile, SBD Global monitors the media coverage of the Nets-Hawks game from the U.K.