NBA Scheduling Issues Slowing Overseas Expansion Plans Amid Desire For More Games
The appetite for more NBA games "remains huge around Europe -- and the rest of the world" -- but there is still a "gap between the NBA's desire for overseas expansion and what's actually doable," according to Mattias Karen of the AP. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver ahead of Thursday's Celtics-76ers game in London said, "We're considering bringing additional games to Europe. It's just the logistical challenges for us are so much greater (than for the NFL). The demand is there and the interest is there. It's really more a question of our schedule and whether we can make it work." The NBA has been staging regular-season games at O2 Arena since '11 in an "attempt to grow the game both in Britain and worldwide." It was "clear from Silver's pregame news conference that other countries want an up-close look at the spectacle as well." Journalists from Australia, France, Germany, Turkey and Africa "all had the same question: when will the NBA bring regular-season games to their part of the world?" Silver "pointed to state-of-the-art arenas in Paris and Berlin as possible venues for future regular-season games." However, he said that he "couldn't offer a 'specific calendar' for when it might happen" (AP, 1/11).
BUILDING A GLOBAL BRAND: In Philadelphia, Keith Pompey reported the 76ers are "hopeful their participation in global basketball games will continue" following Thursday's game, as they would "love to make appearances in Africa and Australia." 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo: "We let the league know we are interested and a willing participant in events like this. ... We do see ourselves as one of the bright, young, exciting teams in the league. The league must view us that way as well when they consider us and to talk to us about these opportunities." Pompey noted the 76ers are "building a global brand" with five international players on the roster, including C Joel Embiid (Cameroon) and F Ben Simmons (Australia). 76ers coach Brett Brown, who lived in Australia for 17 years, said, "If you went to Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane, and I mean this, if you had 30,000-seat arenas, you'd fill them all" (PHILLY.com, 1/11).
STILL A DIVIDE: The Undefeated's Jesse Washington said the "big difference" between the ways the NBA and NFL approach the European market is "that the NBA is marketing stars, faces (and) personalities." Washington: "You can see these guys. They're not behind helmets and bundled up in pads." He added that the NFL in Europe is "more of a novelty." Washington: "It's the game there, it's not necessarily the players." ESPN's Bob Ley noted a recent poll showed British fans find the NFL "boring." Washington said he understands that perception, as there are "a lot of stoppages in play" and British fans are "used to a fast-paced game that keeps rolling." He added players like Embiid and Celtics G Kyrie Irving are "not boring," which gives the NBA "an edge in that regard" over the NFL. Washington: "They've used that to really become ascendant as a global game. The NFL is still really American" ("OTL," ESPN, 1/11).