On Monday, the NBA announced NBA Africa, a new entity focused on league business within the continent. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the company is valued at “nearly $1 billion.”
“Much of that valuation comes from the enormous optimism we see in this brand in Africa and our opportunity to bring content directly to the people of the many countries of Africa,” Silver said.
Investors include former NBA players Dikembe Mutombo, Grant Hill, Luol Deng, and Helios Fairfax Partners, an investment holding company that works with African businesses.
The business operations of NBA Africa will be similar to those of NBA China, which launched in 2008 and has an estimated valuation of more than $5 billion, per Sports Business Daily. That venture also included an investment from Disney.
NBA Africa aims to expand media rights throughout the continent and establish corporate partnerships, NBA academies, and social initiatives.
The entity will also oversee the Basketball Africa League, which launched May 16. J. Cole made his pro debut for the 12-team league’s Rwanda Patriots this month. He currently has the No. 1 album in the U.S. after “The Off-Season” notched 325 million first-week streams.
“We believe that basketball can become a top sport in Africa over the next decade,” said Silver.