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Volume 25 No. 214
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NBA Continues To Expand Global Footprint With Games Abroad

This year saw the 76ers and Mavericks play two preseason exhibition games in China
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The global footprint of the NBA "continues to expand," as the league has opened up 12 international offices, establishing seven academies "on four continents and started broadcasting games to more than 200 countries and territories," according to Tim Reynolds of the AP. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "We can be the No. 1 sport in the world. When I look at the trajectory of growth, the fact that young people, boys and girls, continue to love this sport, are playing this sport, are engaged in the sport of basketball on social media or with online games, I don’t know what the limit is." There are "300 million people playing the game for fun in China alone," and an "estimated 1 billion people around the globe ... having some access to the NBA Finals." The NBA also "heads back to Mexico and England for regular-season contests, after the 76ers and Mavericks played exhibitions in China." Staging regular-season games abroad "isn’t exclusive to the NBA," as MLB "opens next season in Japan." The NFL is "playing three regular-season games in London," and the NHL will stage a "two-game series next month in Finland." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Mark Tatum said, "We know what the future looks like. When you look at China, India and Africa, you’ve got about 60 percent of the world’s population in those three places. So we’re putting a lot of time and energy in how we become the No. 1 sport in those countries and those continents." In China, the NBA is "well on its way to that No. 1 spot" (AP, 10/12).

GROWING AN EMPIRE: NBA China CEO Derek Chang said the sport is "really riding a wave" in China. Chang: "It's the NBA, it's the players, it's the teams. You can sense the excitement. ... We are very committed to China, as you might imagine. Frankly, it's our biggest market outside the U.S. We have close to 200 people in total. We have significant offices in Beijing and Shanghai. As I've walked into this job over the last three months, I've recognized the level and quality of the talent that we have here. We've got probably some of the best people in the business in China." Chang noted the NBA's first game broadcast in China was in '87, and its "first live game broadcast" was in '94. He added, "The combination of just having longstanding roots in the country along with our attention that we've paid to the market over the last 30 years has resulted in us being where we are" (Tyler Everett, SBD Global).

WORLD POWER: In London, Ben Pringle cited new data from Europe-based POWA Index showing that the NBA is “top of a new global table charting the commercial impact of sponsorship rights-holders,” eclipsing every EPL club and a “host of other franchises” such as Real Madrid. The POWA Index is “described as the world’s first real-time sponsorship evaluation engine” and has “compiled trillions of data points across social media, online searches and on-field performances.” The table is “constantly updating to mirror real-time trends.” Leagues like the NFL and MLB also “outperform” the likes of F1 and cricket’s Indian Premier League (EXPRESS.co.uk, 10/10).