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Could The NBA Be Open For Saudi Arabia’s Business? Maybe

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver appears open to investment from Saudi Arabia.
  • League recently allowed sovereign wealth funds to buy minority team stakes.
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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With Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund working its way deeper into professional golf via its new pact with the PGA Tour, it’s fair to wonder what other sports the country will be interested in soon.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver won’t completely outrule the possibility of the Saudi PIF entering the league in some shape or form, given the NBA recently decided to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy minority stakes in franchises.

“People are a little too dismissive these days about the benefits that come from the commonality around sports,” Silver said during a recent appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show” while discussing the PGA Tour deal.

While he noted sportswashing concerns associated with Saudi Arabia makes investment from the country a “two-edged sword,” he is bullish on sports presenting “an opportunity to bring people together.”

Silver clarified that the Saudis have not made any official inquiries about buying into an NBA club. “They certainly haven’t come to the league office,” he said.

The PIF owns Premier League Newcastle United but any investment in the NBA would have to be for a non-controlling stake.

“We allow funds to invest in teams but not control teams, not to have influence over teams,” Silver explained.

The NBA in 2022 began playing preseason games in Abu Dhabi, which has its own human rights violations but not on the same level as Saudi Arabia.

Judging by Silver’s comments, it sounds like the NBA would be open to investment from the Saudi PIF, especially at the right price.

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