NBA matches in Mumbai will help promote the sport in India, the league management feels
Team management hopes that this will provide an opportunity for fans in India, young boys and girls and basketball stakeholders from across the country to feel the excitement of the live NBA experience in person.
“These games are an important milestone in the continued growth of basketball in India. We are thrilled that on October 4, India will play host to the first ever game where two NBA teams will play in a stadium full of kids as part of our partnership with Reliance Foundation ESA - a once in a lifetime opportunity for players of both teams. It is very important to our business – and teams recognise the enormous opportunity to play in the first NBA game in India. Fans, partners, media and celebrities are looking forward to these games – and they offer tremendous exposure for teams and players. They also deepen the connection with our fans, especially with the various community events. The games further demonstrate and support how global our game is,” Diane Gotua, vice president of global business operations, NBA, told ET.
Commenting on the trend of a growing interest in India in basketball and a thriving sports culture among the young, Gotua added that NBA India plan to capitalise on this opportunity to build a strong fanbase over time. We will continue to invest behind the Jr. NBA programmes in partnership with Reliance Foundation. “We will enhance our various content offerings through increase localised content initiatives,” she said.
Though there have so far not been too many Indian or Indian American players in the NBA games; the franchise management hopes that things will change soon.
“Young players in India can look up to role models like Satnam Singh, the first Indian-born player drafted into the NBA, and Amjyot Singh, who has proved that Indian players can compete at the highest level. We believe the combination of NBA Academy India, Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program, NBA Basketball Schools and Basketball Without Borders will further develop talented Indian players,” Gotua said.