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NBA to stage two preseason games in Mumbai

NBA to stage two preseason games in Mumbai

THEARON W. HENDERSON

AFP

These will be the first National Basketball Association games to take place in India.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced on Thursday that the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings will feature in two preseason games in Mumbai in 2019.

These will be the first games the NBA plays in India and the first to be staged in the country by a North American sports league.

The preseason games will take place Friday, 4 October and Saturday, 5 October at the NSCI Dome. No date for the tickets’ release has been revealed. However, fans can visit nbaevents.com/indiagames to register interest for information and tickets.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement: 'Our inaugural NBA India Games will help (unleash) the enormous basketball potential in a country with a thriving sports culture and a growing, young and engaged population. We thank the Kings and Pacers organisations for participating in this historic event.'

NBA’s interest in India

The NBA prizes its growth in the cricket-mad India. Currently, the association runs an academy in New Delhi, and has arranged the visits of 35 current and former NBA and WNBA players since 2006. Also, in 2011, the League opened an office in Mumbai.

More than 350 NBA games are screened in India each season, including 78 with Hindi commentary.

“The sport is experiencing tremendous growth in India and we are excited about continuing to expand the NBA’s reach to fans across the globe,” SIlver said. “The world wants to watch basketball, and India is a fast-growing new frontier.'

Fittingly, one of the teams to play in India next year will be the Sacramento Kings, which has the first Indian-born majority owner and Mumbai native Vivek Ranadive as its chairman.