- The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced plans to open a new office in Singapore.
- The Singapore office will be the league’s 15th office worldwide.
- NBA basketball has grown significantly more popular in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years.
Ever since James Naismith invented basketball in the late 1800s it has primarily been an ‘American game’. Since Naismith had his origins in Canada, the game caught on quickly there as well. The sport experienced only sporadic international growth for most of the 20th Century but over the past couple of deacades this has changed dramatically. In January, 2021 basketball was named the world’s third most popular sport with an estimated 2.2 billion fans worldwide. Basketball trails only soccer (3.5 billion fans) and cricket (2.5 billion fans). Interestingly, the fourth most popular sport internationally is field hockey with 2 billion fans–in North America, the sport is typically associated with plaid skirt wearing college girls in the Northeast.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been both a catalyst and beneficiary of these trends. By some metrics, the NBA is the most popular league worldwide. The league has more social media followers than any other professional sports organization with 210.2 million followers worldwide. That’s well ahead of the WWE (175 million), La Liga (136 million) and the EPL (131.7). The league has worked tirelessly to promote the sport all over the world. Part of their international strategy has been opening local offices to coordinate promotion in individual regions and countries. The most recent addition to this roster is Singapore, which will be the NBA’s 15th office worldwide.
Here’s what a NBA press release said about the new presence in the fiast growing Asia-Pacific region:
The world’s preeminent basketball competition says it will use the local hub to increase its existing growth efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, which include live games, content distribution, youth development programmes, fan events and merchandise sales.
The Singapore office will join the league’s existing outposts in Manila and Mumbai in reporting to NBA Asia managing director Scott Levy, who is based in Hong Kong.
The release also described the NBA’s recent growth in the region:
NBA games and programming reach fans in the region through the league’s 20 media partners that span 11 countries and territories and eight languages. NBA League Pass – the league’s premium live game subscription service – has recorded double-digit subscriber growth in the region over the last three seasons. The league also has more than 35 million followers on social media across the region.
NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy is excited about the potential for future growth in Asia:
“Over the past two decades, Asia-Pacific has proven to be a major growth region for the NBA. Opening an office in Singapore reflects the enormous opportunities to build on that positive momentum by working more closely with our valued partners and bringing our passionate fans in the region closer to their favorite NBA teams and players.”
The NBA’s 15 markets worldwide are: 15 markets worldwide: Beijing, Dakar, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Lagos, London, Madrid, Manila, Mexico City, Mumbai, New York/New Jersey, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Singapore and Toronto.