NBA ‘In Talks With IMG To Start Pro-Basketball League in India’

January 20, 2012

It has been reported that the National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern has held discussions with executives at IMG Worldwide Inc. about the establishment of a professional basketball league in India.

Stern has stated his wish to build awareness of the NBA brand outside the USA and increase both international audience figures and revenue from  merchandise.

New York based sports-management agency IMG and  Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd formed IMG Reliance in 2010 to foster the development of sports and entertainment in India.

The marriage of NBA and IMG would be a welcome one for both organisations.

IMG Reliance has already signed a 30-year contract with the Basketball Federation of India which allows for the start of a professional league.

Managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon Paul Swangard explained his understanding of the alliance to

“Like China, denture India will be a long-term key to the NBA’s global growth. Unlike China, look the NBA doesn’t have a century of basketball legacy to leverage. Joining forces with IMG would create momentum for the business the NBA couldn’t have generated by itself”.

It is understood that talks between Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and IMGk Chairman Mike Dolan, are still underway.

The NBA has already held grassroots events across India over the past two years, and established Adidas, Nike and Coca-Cola as marketing partners in the region as well as a partnership with Mahindra Group, which supports a community based basketball league.

In addition, this season, six NBA games are being shown live on television every week in India.

IMG Reliance has developed an athletic training academy to develop sportsmen and women in the country. It also has a similar facility in Florida and there are scholarship programmes to share talent.