HoopsHype India rumors


April 7, 2013 Updates

Wilkins, the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer who accompanied the Atlanta Hawks on their tour of the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, believes popularizing the sport in India will be more incremental than explosive. "I went with Basketball Without Borders for its first visit in 2008," said Wilkins, "and it was a very different experience than the Soviet Union of 30 years ago. Russia, even when the wall was coming down, all the Cold War stuff, was much more familiar with the game. But then when I went back to India again two years ago, I definitely could sense a difference. It's not leaps and bounds, but I think the access to information, social media, the Internet, getting more NBA games on television is changing things." Sacramento Bee

March 29, 2013 Updates

Silver, 50, said Stern was planning a trip to India next month. "Another country of over a billion people with a young population that loves basketball." He said the NBA is working with Brooklyn Nets Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the Russian government to further grow basketball there as well as projects to develop the game more on the continent of Africa. Silver said he believed establishing teams outside the United States was part of the NBA's future, but remained in the conceptual stage. "When we do expand, we'd need to expand probably with multiple teams, so that you wouldn't have an orphan team in Europe, but that you'd potentially have a division so those teams could play each other more often and NBA teams presumably traveling in Europe could have more teams to play when they're over there," said Silver. "It's still a concept, but I'm comfortable with it." Reuters

January 20, 2013 Updates
November 7, 2012 Updates

The National Basketball Association has signed a three-year exclusive carriage deal in India with MSM's sports channel Sony Six, which launched in April. ESPN Star Sports was the NBA's broadcast partner in India until 2010. After that agreement expired, the NBA split the rights between Taj Television's Ten Sports and MSM's Sony Pix. Variety.com

March 5, 2012 Updates
January 20, 2012 Updates

United States' National Basketball Association (NBA) is planning to establish a professional league in India, it has been learnt. NBA Commissioner David Stern has held talks with executives at IMG Worldwide Inc., on the matter, according to reliable sources. Indiatimes

January 19, 2012 Updates

National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern has held talks with executives at IMG Worldwide Inc. about establishing a professional league in India, two people with knowledge of the discussions said. IMG, the New York-based sports-management agency that represents Roger Federer, and Reliance Industries Ltd., the company controlled by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man, formed IMG Reliance in 2010 to develop sports and entertainment in the world’s second-most populous nation behind China. The company signed a 30- year contract with the Basketball Federation of India that allows for the start of a professional league. Bloomberg

May 31, 2011 Updates

The National Basketball Association (NBA) said Tuesday it was hoping to win more fans in India through a partnership with the country’s largest media company as it seeks to replicate its success in China. The NBA has tied up with Times Group to provide news, scores, videos, photos and other content from the basketball league on the flagship Times of India newspaper’s website, www.timesofindia.com. The league reaches its climax with Dallas Mavericks taking on Miami Heat in the start of the title series. Indian journalists will cover the games for the new venture, the NBA said in an emailed statement. The game will also be broadcast live on Indian television from 6:30am (0100 GMT) Wednesday, according to the Ten Sports channel schedule. Inquirer.net

May 25, 2011 Updates

Bucks guard Brandon Jennings has been a jetsetter since the age of 18, playing professionally in Italy after high school and visiting China last summer for a charity basketball game. His passport continues to collect stamps as he just returned from India. Jennings was overseas with the NBA to promote and grow the sport of basketball. He is one of 16 NBA or WNBA players/legends to travel to India in the last three years as part of the league’s continued commitment to grow the game. Jennings was in India until from May 13-May 18, hosting basketball clinics in Mumbai and Pune, making him the first NBA player to ever host an event in Pune. He also attended the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Skills Challenge Finals in Mumbai. NBA.com

May 5, 2011 Updates

The National Basketball Association is working to extend its reach in India, and it has chosen Milwaukee Bucks' guard Brandon Jennings to help make it happen. The NBA is expected to announce Thursday that Jennings will travel to India from May 13-18 to conduct a series of events to promote and grow the game in Mumbai and Pune. Jennings was chosen because of his youth and his experience playing internationally. Jennings, 21, played overseas in Italy before coming to the Bucks. "Having played in Italy, I have seen firsthand how the sport is growing globally and I am excited to visit India with the NBA to help continue the growth of the game," Jennings said. "The NBA has the best basketball players from around the world and it is amazing to think that one of the kids I teach in India could one day play against me in the NBA." Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

May 1, 2011 Updates

The paint on the green and rose-coloured court is faded and rats scurry along the drain troughs that run along the edge of the playing surface. Three years ago, after the NBA visited Mumbai and replaced the pre-existing potholed court, installed new backboards, and handed out a case of new basketballs, Afreen cornered her father in their one-room home here. “I really wanted to play,” she pleaded. If she was expecting a confrontation, she didn’t get one. Sheikh Karim, her father, nodded his approval. He and his wife Mumtaz have lived a life typical for most lower-class Mumbai residents. The daughter of a local real estate broker, Mumtaz was seven when she stopped attending school. By the time she was 16, she was married to Karim, a local taxi driver. “I was lucky,” she says over a lunch of rice biryani in her family’s home. “He’s a good man.” Toronto Star

April 26, 2011 Updates

With the on-field work over, Stolt returned to the NBA office in New York to work on the other side of his job: planning and strategy. One of the NBA’s long term programmes, he says, has been to identify more markets in India for the type of programmes that have so far been held in some of the country’s major cities. The NBA is hoping to develop a database of the people with whom they have been involved in India and also study the results of the public’s reactions to the various programmes held by the NBA here. We want to shape things to be perfectly suitable for the Indian market,s he says. And as far as he is concerned, Stolt is certain that the people that he has worked with will make the tasks a whole lot easier. The one thing that pleasantly surprised me a lot about coming and working with India were the people involved with the game here, Stolt said, Unlike China, Japan, or Korea, who have structured leagues and systems, there is no guaranteed career paths for the coaches, players, trainers and referees in India: but they do it for the love of the game, and the game thrives here because of the people’s passion. That is a wonderful thing. SportsKeeda

December 28, 2010 Updates

A core part of the N.B.A.’s expansion strategy in India is increasing grass-roots participation, based on the belief that people who play basketball are also more likely to follow the N.B.A. The league also knows that the more Indians who play basketball, the more likely it is that one day an Indian player will be good enough to make the leap to the N.B.A. — an event that could vastly expand the league’s popularity in the world’s second-most-populous nation. The Basketball Federation of India, the sport’s governing body, estimates that 4.5 million Indians play the game. That is a fraction of the country’s 1.2 billion people, but Ueberroth said the N.B.A. suspected the real number was much higher because the federation’s statistics missed players who did not belong to a league. New York Times

In addition to Justice, the league sent the Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Pau Gasol on short ambassadorial missions to Mumbai and Delhi in the summer. It also sent two coaches to India to train the men’s and women’s national teams ahead of November’s Asian Games in China. It has created an India-specific portion of NBA.com, featuring postings by two Indian bloggers. Viewership for the N.B.A. in India has also been rising quickly, but from such a low base that it remains minuscule, said Atul Pande, the chief executive of Ten Sports, which has contracted to broadcast Eastern Conference games. Pande said he thought the audience for a live N.B.A. game would never exceed 200,000 households. The viewership for many I.P.L. cricket matches is in the tens of millions. “The problem is timing,” he said. New York Times

Others note that the ranks of English Premier League soccer fans in India are growing rapidly even though there are no Indians playing in the league. Still, the N.B.A. is not turning a blind eye to the search for an Indian Yao. Among Justice’s jobs is scouting talent. And he has found a few prospects. Among the most promising is Satnam Singh Bhamara, 14, a 7-foot-2 player from a rural village in Punjab Province. Justice helped him land a spot at an IMG basketball academy in Bradenton, Fla. “He has a bright future,” Justice said. “We don’t know where he’ll end up, but he’s got a lot of natural — for a 14-year-old, 7-footer — a lot of natural basketball instincts.” New York Times

December 23, 2010 Updates

This season, the league will play its first regular-season games in Europe, a two-game matchup between the New Jersey Nets and the Toronto Raptors in London in March. And having conquered China, the N.B.A. now has its sights fixed on Asia’s other big emerging market: India. Like China, India has a rapidly expanding middle class with newfound leisure time and disposable income, factors that Heidi Ueberroth, the president of N.B.A. International, said make the country ripe for new forms of entertainment, like professional sports. “There is a growing appetite for sports and entertainment and more options in India,” she said. New York Times

And because the I.P.L. has proved how wildly successful new sports franchises can be in India, many sports are suddenly betting that they, too, will be able to find fresh fans, and corporate backers, in the country. “The race is now on to become India’s second-most popular sport,” said Sunder Aaron, the head of Pix, one of two Indian television channels that earlier this month signed a new contract to broadcast live games and other N.B.A.-produced programming. New York Times

Viewership for the N.B.A. in India has been rising quickly, but from such a low base that it remains minuscule, said Atul Pande, chief executive of Ten Sports, which broadcasts games mostly from the N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference. Pande said that he thought current audience for a live N.B.A. game would never exceed 200,000 households. The viewership for many I.P.L. cricket matches is in the tens of millions. “The problem is timing,” Pande said; live games can start anywhere from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. in India. New York Times

December 15, 2010 Updates

Cricket's position as India's most popular sport is beyond doubt, but an Indian TV channel is broadcasting live NBA matches in the cricket -mad country, convinced basketball can take the number two spot. Earlier this month, the National Basketball Association (NBA) signed multi-year deals with Taj Television and Multi Screen Media (MSM) to broadcast games in India. MoneyControl.com

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