In 1932, the International Basketball Federation was formed by the following eight countries: Greece, Latvia, Romania, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, and Argentina. Initially, this organisation managed only amateur players. The letters FIBA come from the French word “Fédèration Internationale de Basketball Amateur. In 1986, the word “amateur” was dropped because there was no difference between a professional and an amateur. Although FIBA changed the name of the organization, it remains the same.
The Final Plan for NBA Expansion Abroad
The NBA enjoys great popularity outside the United States and was the first American professional sports league to propose an international website for its fans. Matthew J. Brabant, vice president of the NBA, stated that “they are not trying to compete with cricket, but if we can make waves in a country of over a billion people like India, that would be a great achievement.”
The difficult economic period in the United States made it even more important for sports leagues, such as Major League Baseball and the NBA, to expand beyond the United States for expansion. Profits fell during the recession due to lower ticket prices and a 2% drop in fan attendance at NBA games.
However, the hard work to attract international fans paid off. International sales of the NBA’s merchandise business are up 35 percent, and that percentage is expected to rise another 30 percent this year. More than half of NBA.com’s website visitors come from outside the US, more than any other sports league. NBA.com/China achieved a turnover of 7.5 million web visitors during the final. That’s about a third of the total traffic to a website. The Finals have become an international phenomenon, with live broadcasts reporting to more international websites, stations, and other avenues in 215 countries and serviced in 41 languages.
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Another goal of the NBA is to capitalise on the growing interest in Africa. The NBA’s first African office recently opened in Johannesburg to promote major basketball events and strengthen NBA partnerships through media, marketing, and fan-based product companies. Other plans include opening offices in Russia, Brazil, and India. The Sports Business Institute of the University of Southern California Executive Director David Carter stated that “the original and true goal was to make the NBA a global competition.” With so many new technologies for streaming live games over the world wide web, on mobile devices and in cinemas, it seems that the NBA is on track to become the number one sport worldwide.