‘In­dia is NBA’s Fastest Grow­ing Biz in Asia’

Now that bas­ket­ball has be­come pop­u­lar here, NBA wants In­dia busi­ness to di­rectly re­port to New York

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Gau­rav.Laghate@ times­group.com

Mum­bai: In­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of bas­ket­ball in In­dia, cou­pled with the suc­cess of Sat­nam Singh and Sim Bhullar, has made the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA) see a big­ger op­por­tu­nity in the coun­try.

The premier men’s pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball league in North Amer­ica has de­cided that it is time that the In­dia busi­ness re­port di­rectly to the as­so­ci­a­tion’s deputy com­mis­sioner.

“Since our launch of the Mum­bai of­fice in 2011, our In­dia busi­ness has been re­port­ing to Asia. We have seen that In­dia has now be­come a big mar­ket and it should not re­port to the rest of Asia, but di­rectly to the deputy com­mis­sioner in New York. We made this de­ci­sion 45 days ago,” Mark Ta­tum, NBA’s deputy com­mis­sioner and chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer, told ET.

In­dia is NBA’s fastest­grow­ing busi­ness is Asia, he said. “It is one of the youngest mar­kets as we have been here for just five years.”

While Ta­tum re­fused to share de­tails on in­vest­ments, he said In­dia is a huge pri­or­ity mar­ket for the NBA and it will “con­tinue to make mul­ti­mil­lion dol­lar in­vest­ments in this mar­ket­place to grow the game of bas­ket­ball”.

In In­dia, NBA op­er­a­tions are be­ing looked af­ter by Yan­nick Co­laco, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of NBA In­dia. He said the league has been fo­cused on build­ing bas­ket­ball bot­tom up in In­dia. NBA has hosted tour­ing bas­ket­ball events (NBA Jam), grass­roots devel­op­ment pro­gramme (Re­liance Foun­da­tion Jr. NBA) and tal­ent search pro­gramme ACGNBA Jump in part­ner­ship with the ACG World­wide Group (ACG) in In­dia.

Lo­cal he­roes are the key for the growth of bas­ket­ball, both Ta­tum and Co­laco said. A key rea­son for the NBA to be­come big in coun­tries like China is lo­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion. “In the ACG Jump pro­gramme, we see a lot of qual­ity play­ers com­ing out of the coun­try. We have a long-term view on this. We have been do­ing busi­ness in many other coun­tries around the world for decades. We know that there are no short cuts to what we want to achieve,” said Ta­tum. “Over time, we have no doubt that there will be more and more play­ers from In­dia who will have skill level and abil­ity to play in the NBA.” The league has launched a cus­tomised web­site for In­di­ans in part­ner­ship with and The 120 Me­dia Col­lec­tive, a con­tent cre­ation and com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany. The geo-tar­geted NBA.com will of­fer In­dian fans ac­cess to video high­lights, game re­caps, scores, stats and more. The re­spon­sive and mo­bile­first dig­i­tal des­ti­na­tion will also pro­vide ex­ten­sive lo­calised con­tent, in­clud­ing pod­casts hosted by lo­cal bas­ket­ball per­son­al­i­ties and a spe­cial sec­tion ded­i­cated to Sim Bhullar — the first player of In­dian de­scent to play in the NBA — and Sat­nam Singh — the first In­dian to be drafted into the NBA.

Suc­cess of play­ers like Sim Bhullar has helped pop­u­larise bas­ket­ball in In­dia

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