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NBA confirm two games in Abu Dhabi for October 2022

The NBA and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism jointly announced that two preseason games in October 2022 will be staged in the UAE.

Nov 16, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) shoots the ball over Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry (31) during the third quarter at Vivint Arena. Utah Jazz won 120-85. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Chris NicollUSA TODAY Sports

Two preparatory games ahead of the 2022/23 season will take place in October 2022 in the United Arab Emirates, the NBA and the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism jointly announced on Tuesday.

These games will be the NBA's very first foray into the Gulf with previous pre-season games going ahead in the likes of England, France, Mexico, Japan, China and more recently lately in India. These will be the first games played overseas since the covid pandemic.

The partnership will see DCT Abu Dhabi, under “Visit Abu Dhabi,” the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital city, serve as the Official Tourism Destination Partner of the NBA in China, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

The partnership which "will also include a variety of interactive events for fans with the presence of current and former league players, the launch of NBA junior leagues for boys and girls in UAE schools promoting the work of 'team and inclusion "or an exhibition of the e-sport + NBA 2K League + competition".

"Organizing NBA games and events in Abu Dhabi is part of our desire to develop basketball around the world," said Mark Tatum, deputy commissioner of the body, who signed the multi-year agreement adding: "Abu Dhabi is a vibrant multicultural hub with a demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events".

New NBA markets

The NBA, which is one of the most globalized professional sports leagues, is constantly in search of new territories and playing fields and even more so after its relationship with Beijing has been undergoing issues for the past two years following a series of tweets from former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey (now with the 76ers) who publicly expressed his support for the protesters in Hong Kong.

The relationship also suffered when Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter recently lambasted China over human rights on his social media profile, directly attacking Chinese President Xi Jinping and supporting Tibet's self-determination.


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