NBA And FIBA Collaborate To Operate A Standalone League In Africa
By Taruka Srivastav | May 25, 2021
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has announced the formation of NBA Africa, a new entity that will conduct the league’s business in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BAL) – a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
The inaugural BAL season, featuring 12 of the top club teams from 12 African countries, is underway in Kigali, Rwanda, and the first BAL Finals will be held Sunday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m. CAT / 10 a.m. ET.
The strategic investors include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, Chairman and CEO of Yinka Folawiyo Group; and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Tope Lawani, Co-CEO of HFP and Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Helios Investment Partners (“Helios”), HFP’s investment advisor.
The investors’ expertise in a wide range of industries and established relationships with African businesses, governments and NGOs will help accelerate the NBA’s growth across the continent. Lawani and Folawiyo will also join the NBA Africa Board of Directors, which is led by NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams and includes NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
Helios Fairfax Partners Co-CEO Tope Lawani said: “Throughout Helios’ history, we have bridged international capital and expertise to African talent and enterprise, and this is a unique opportunity for us to do so in the world of sport by partnering with the NBA, a truly best-in-class operator. As a committed and experienced partner for businesses operating across Africa, we look forward to contributing our expertise, connectivity and market knowledge to support NBA Africa’s growth throughout the continent.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said: “Today’s announcement is the result of many years of investment and on-the-ground work to grow the game of basketball in Africa and a recognition of the enormous opportunities ahead for the NBA on the continent. We believe that basketball can become a top sport across Africa over the next decade, and I look forward to working closely with our investors to make that goal a reality.”