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Success all around the world: The Globalisation of the NBA


75 years old and still as fit as ever – the NBA, or with its full name, the National Basketball Association, is celebrating its anniversary in 2022. What started as a national league seven decades ago is now the strongest and most popular basketball league in the world. Hardly any other sports league in the world is so successful. A big share of this success is due to globalisation, which found its way into the NBA in two ways.

For one thing, the number of international players who are not from the USA is increasing constantly. At the All Star Game on the 20th February alone, seven players had their roots abroad and in the last three seasons, European players have been designated as MVP (Most Valuable Player): Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece and Nikola Jokic from Serbia. With Dirk Nowitzki, one of the biggest NBA Stars ever, Germany has its own basketball super star. In the 21/22 season, out of a total of 608 players, 109 are from abroad and are from 39 different countries. No wonder the American basketball league continues to move around the world, if the teams are also becoming more international.

More than 650 million fans are distributed around the world. With nearly 18 billion social media views during the 20/21 season, it’s no surprise that the NBA has the most followers worldwide on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok among sports leagues.

The first international matches were held in Israel in 1978, during which the Washington Bullets played against Maccabi Tel Aviv, which was followed by matches in China and on the Philippines. With the “Dream Team”, that competed at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and won gold commandingly, and the basketball stars, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan among others, the worldwide enthusiasm grew even more. 

In the meantime, regular NBA matches are being held abroad – most recently, the match between the Milwaukee Hawks and the Charlotte Hornets in Paris. Basketball, as well as its culture itself, have become a global phenomenon over the years. To be able to reach all of the fans in various countries, the NBA not only places a big focus on social media communication, but also on digital programmes. The matches are broadcasted in more than 200 countries, via streaming providers, as well as the dedicated platform. George Aivazoglou, Vice President of the NBA, Head of Fan Engagement and DTC Europe and Middle East, says in an interview about this: “Fans outside the US represent the biggest opportunity for the league to grow. We know that 99% of NBA fans will never go to a live game, so the digital experience and meeting our fans wherever they are is a key part of our strategy.”

Nowadays, the NBA is also firmly established in Germany. The success of Nowitzki, Schröder and others is leading to enthusiasm in this country and NBA matches that are broadcasted in Europe during primetime do the rest. In the 20/21 season alone, the number of spectators in Germany and Europe grew by 23 percent. The Hamburg Towers basketball club has even become part of the Jr. NBA league and also gives an understanding of the sport to children.

No surprise that brands and companies are becoming increasingly interested in sponsoring the NBA – the reach that can be achieved globally is immense. In the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), SPORTFIVE is the exclusive marketing partner and represents the NBA’s sponsorship business. In these three countries, almost 6.7 million people are interested in or follow the NBA. The majority of fans are male and between 18 and 34 years old. Whether music and entertainment or new technologies and innovations – there is room for numerous brands around the NBA, which can reach their target groups with collaborations and authentic activations.

The possibilities for brands and companies are diverse with sponsoring in the NBA and with SPORTFIVE, a customized package of rights can be put together, in order to create an outstanding partnership.

The NBA is still on course for success and there is no end in sight – the best prospects for successful sponsorship!


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By ticking the box above, I agree that SPORTFIVE may use the data provided by me to contact me and send me further information and interesting insights as well as offers for sponsoring and sports marketing. I am aware that I may revoke my consent at any time with effect for the future by clicking on the link at the bottom of any e-mail sent by SPORTFIVE or by sending an e-mail directly to newsletter@sportfive.com. SPORTFIVE will collect, process and store my data with the utmost care and in accordance with the relevant data protection regulations. | Further information can be found in our data privacy policy at the end of this website.