More than half of the city’s residents were born outside of Canada, so in some ways the globalization of basketball is coming home to roost, with immigrants bringing their interest in the sport as they settle into a pre-existing NBA market. “I feel like basketball is the biggest thing in Toronto,” said Minnesota Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, the Toronto native who was the first pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Bigger than hockey? “I think so,” Wiggins said. “I think it changed over.”
Oculus Rift is Facebook’s virtual reality headset, and it could make them huge profits by changing the way we consume sports in the future. Much of the excitement about Oculus Rift, which Facebook acquired for $2 billion last March, was about its role in the video gaming world. Many saw Oculus Rift revolutionizing gaming by creating far more immersive e-worlds than ever before. However, now, Oculus Rift and other virtual reality vendors are rumored to be looking to use this technology to produce an infinite amount of courtside seats that it could sell to sports fans.
Sources say Sperling and Bartoszek realize the NHL likely will come here first, given the NBA’s reluctance to expand. But sources say both remain open to adding an NBA team later. Bartoszek is vacationing abroad and could not be reached.
A united front among all the leagues would certainly help Silver’s cause for a federal solution. The other leagues have — at least publicly — not wavered from their anti-legalization stance after the op-ed. MLB declined to comment for this story, and the NFL refused to even reiterate its anti-legalization stance. Gary Bettman, the longtime commissioner of the NHL, told CNN in November after Silver’s op-ed was published: “I think there needs to be some attention paid to what sports is going to represent to young people. … Does it become a vehicle for betting, which may in effect change the atmosphere in the arenas?” But multiple sources with direct knowledge of meetings between the leagues believe the NHL is much more open to legalization than Bettman’s comments indicate. And the NHL and MLB are both currently partnered with daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings.
Any rule changes that you think would help the NBA game? For instance, sometimes they talk about instituting FIBA goaltending rules in the NBA. Any thoughts on that or any other changes that would help the game play? Marcin Gortat: The goaltending? It definitely wouldn’t help. You have too many athletic guys in this league that would tip the ball out of the rim, so pretty much to make a basket you will need to swish it, you know what I’m saying? I would say I would loosen up a little bit the rules about the fighting fines. That’s what I would loosen up. Because today you go to an ice hockey game, and the one thing they’re waiting for is a fight, you know what I’m saying? So if they could set it up something like that in the NBA. That if there are two guys and they have a problem, if they could just separate everybody. And these two people that have problem, if they could fight …
The Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA and the New Jersey Devils of the NHL have become the first major U.S.-based professional teams to sign a sponsorship deal with an online gambling company. Scott O’Neil, the chief executive of the Josh Harris-owned teams, and Norbert Teufelberger, the chief executive of bwin.party digital entertainment that operates partypoker, confirmed the multiyear agreement in a statement Wednesday night.