The NBA Finally Goes International In A Meaningful Championship Series

And so the international experiment finally produces.

The National Basketball Association is going international in the championship final. In Canada, Toronto will host Game 1 and 2 against the Oakland, California-based Golden State Warriors and one thing that will be brought up is that the NBA is facing a television nightmare and TV ratings will fall because Toronto is not an American TV market and therefore the market doesn’t count in the Nielsen Ratings. Just in case you haven’t looked at Disney’s ABC ratings in a while, it should be noted that Disney’s over-the-air TV network hasn’t exactly lit up the scoreboard lately. The Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s All In The Family And The Jeffersons scored ABC’s highest Wednesday night May finale show since 2007. ABC also finished third in the prime time viewers race behind CBS and NBC in part because the network does not have the NFL either a Sunday Night slate of games or the Super Bowl.  The eyeballs will be there for the NBA. 

The finals will have Warriors intrigue. The possible end of Kevin Durant’s time with the Warriors franchise. The impending move of the Warriors franchise from Oakland across the San Francisco Bay to a waterfront location in San Francisco but the team name will stay the same. The Golden State Warriors brand name is well known globally and in the Warriors ownership’s opinion is more valuable than the San Francisco Warriors. On April 23, 1993, John Bitove applied for a Toronto expansion team. Bitove was a familiar face within the NBA as he organized the Toronto and Ontario based 1994 World Championships. In the fall of 1994, the NBA granted Bitove a team. Bitove sold his team and his unfinished arena to Toronto Maple Leafs ownership for $408 million in 1998. The NBA went international.