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Saturday, February 24, 2024
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NBA Open To More Team Investments From Middle East Wealth Funds

  • The NBA is in Abu Dhabi for a pair of preseason games between Dallas and Minnesota.
  • NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum says investment interest is coming from around the world.
Dallas Mavericks/Twitter

In Abu Dhabi for a pair of preseason games between the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves, the NBA could be on the path toward receiving further investment from Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds.

In June, the Qatar Investment Authority purchased a roughly 5% stake in the Washington Wizards’ parent company, Monumental Sports & Entertainment. The move came about seven months after the NBA decided to allow minority team investments from sovereign wealth funds. 

In the ensuing weeks, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that those wealth funds would not be permitted to acquire full ownership of franchises. That means a company like City Football Group — which is majority-controlled by an Abu Dhabi Royal Family member and owns MLS’ NYCFC and the Premier League’s Manchester City — wouldn’t be able to buy an NBA team outright.

But this week, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum admitted that funds from Abu Dhabi or even Saudi Arabia could ultimately purchase minority stakes of NBA teams.

“We anticipate our teams will receive continued interest from institutional investors around the world,” Tatum said. The league hasn’t had any discussions about hosting games in Saudi Arabia, he added.

Minority stake sales can happen at any point but require the same league-wide approval as complete franchise purchases. Right now, a 10% stake in the Golden State Warriors — potentially worth $700 million — is reportedly up for sale.

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