The NBA Is Going To India To Play Pre-Season Games In 2019

Indian rupees are appealing.



The National Basketball Association is going to India to play pre-season games in the fall of 2019. It is the first time a North American based sports league will stage games in India and attempt to lay down a foundation to build upon. The NBA is sending two teams, the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings. The Kings owner, Vivek Ranadive, comes from the country. India has been on the NBA’s radar for a while as the league started a basketball program in the country in 2013 and the NBA Academy India in 2017. India has never been a country that North American sports leagues have spent much time thinking about in the past but that is changing. Baseball has been played in India since World War II when American soldiers were stationed there. In 1983, the Amateur Baseball Federation of India was founded. Two pitchers from India played low level minor league baseball and their stories were turned into a film called the Million Dollar Arm.

The NBA is not looking for players to star in a movie but the league is looking for a million dollars, probably a lot more than a million dollars. A game in India would be an opportunity for owners to sell NBA logos on t-shirts and hats in a big market. The NBA would also like to find players who can be on league rosters. It can be argued that the NBA and basketball only trails soccer on the global stage in popularity but cricket is a big sport in India and an India-Pakistan cricket match could get more viewers on TV than the entire population of the United States. The NBA going to Japan in 2019 in the pre-season makes sense. The 2020 Olympics, which will feature NBA players will take place in Tokyo. The NBA is broadening its global reach.