Satellite TV channel puts basketball on schedule

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is looking to increase the sport’s popularity in the UK after signing a deal with ESPN to broadcast almost 100 live games on the sports TV channel.

All star games: ESPN will show live basketball matches in the UK
All star games: ESPN will show live basketball matches in the UK

Sophie Goldschmidt, managing director of NBA in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says the deal will help build on basketball’s growing popularity as a participation sport among the under-18s.

“These deals are fundamental to us bringing basketball closer to UK fans, enabling them to engage with the sport more than they are currently able to do,” she says.

The package includes a weekly game on Sunday, the NBA All-Star Game, and the end-of-season playoffs and finals. Studio show NBA Fastbreak and behind the scenes show Action will also become part of ESPN’s UK schedule.

Max Hamilton, marketing director of NBA EMEA, says the TV exposure will enable further promotion of the sport in the UK and Europe.

“Expanding opportunities to get the NBA branding in front of them is core to achieving our objective of international expansion, and quite possibly to the creation of a European NBA league,” he says.

ESPN launched its UK channel in August after it picked up the rights to show live Barclays Premier League matches.

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