NBA Increasingly Using Preseason Games As Way To Promote League Globally
The NBA "increasingly sees the preseason as vital for spreading the NBA gospel at home and abroad," according to Scott Cacciola of the N.Y. TIMES. This preseason, 28% of the games "are being played at nonleague locations." In fact, NBA teams are "collectively logging more than 200,000 miles of preseason travel to destinations as diverse as Biloxi, Miss., and Istanbul." The Thunder played two games in Europe this month, while the Rockets and Pacers "faced each other in the Philippines and in Taiwan." The Warriors and Lakers last week had "a two-game swing through China." Those exhibitions were "all part of what the league has branded the NBA Global Games: eight preseason and two regular-season games featuring 12 teams in seven countries." NBA Commissioner David Stern said, "They’re our attempt to grow the game." He added the league was "serious about bringing this sport to the greatest number of people." The league's preseason excursions "have also been a boon for arenas -- and secondary markets -- that seldom have the opportunity to host NBA games." The Knicks’ game against the Wizards last Thursday had "an announced attendance of 12,376, a sellout, at Baltimore Arena, a 51-year-old building that has seen brighter days" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/20).
TIME FOR THE REAL THING? The AP reported Stern on Friday did not "speculate how long it would be until a regular season game would be played in China," instead "passing the baton" to his successor, NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver. Stern said, "The level of cooperation with the Shanghai sports bureau means we will continue to favor Shanghai with games in the future. Regular-season games are for Commissioner Silver and [Shanghai Sports Bureau Dir Li Yuyi] to decide" (AP, 10/18).