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Abu Dhabi Rumors

Bucks, Hawks to play two preseason games in Abu Dhabi

The Milwaukee Bucks are jet-setting again. The Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks will play two exhibition games in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, the NBA announced early Tuesday morning. The league announced its partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi in November to bring the NBA to the Arabian Gulf for the first time. Tickets have not gone on sale, but fans can register at www.nba.com/abudhabi for information as it is released, including pre-sale access. Other NBA-related events will take place around the games, such as junior leagues, an NBA 2K video game exhibition and fitness clinics.
In a statement Bucks president Peter Feigin said, “We are honored to have been selected to participate in the NBA’s first games in the United Arab Emirates. As the NBA continues to expand globally, we look forward to visiting Abu Dhabi and furthering the league’s goals of inspiring people through basketball. We will be proud to represent our city, our state and Bucks fans worldwide this October.”
Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire, recently bought the New Jersey Nets franchise, marking the first foreign ownership of an NBA team. This purchase “ignited and catalysed” foreign interest in ownership of the teams, said Mr Stern. “We are either in direct or indirect discussions with at least three buyers in the Middle East over their interest in acquiring NBA franchises,” he said. “We are mindful that of the 20 teams in [English Premier League football], 10 are owned by investors outside the UK.”
Investment groups in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar are in separate discussions to buy the Detroit Pistons basketball team, which has been valued at close to US$500 million (Dh1.83 billion). Negotiations are “ongoing” for a potential Middle East buyout of the franchise, said David Stern, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA). “The interest and discussions have taken place in reference to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. There is more than one discussion,” Mr Stern said. “That is a team that has been, and is having negotiations with different potential investors,” he added, declining to name the parties involved.