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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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NBA Wants to Cash in With Foreign Investors in More Ways Than One

  • The NBA is becoming more open to investment from sovereign wealth funds.
  • New media-rights deals could bring in large sums outside the U.S.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

As international stakeholders look to attract the NBA beyond North America, foreign money has been pouring into the league in new ways, too. Last year, the Qatar Investment Authority purchased a 5% stake in Wizards parent company Monumental Sports & Entertainment worth about $200 million.

Monumental CEO Ted Leonsis has predicted more teams will embrace sovereign wealth funds, among other alternative investment entities, and Tatum agrees. “There’s no doubt that those conversations are happening with our clubs and potential investors around the world,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum (above) tells Front Office Sports.

After the first edition of the league’s In-Season Tournament, the competition was rebranded as the Emirates NBA Cup, as part of a deal (financial terms unknown) with the state-owned airline controlled by the Investment Corporation of Dubai. Tatum says the NBA had its pick of potential sponsors, though: “There were several partners who were willing to invest significant amounts of money to associate with that property.”

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The NBA is also hoping its worldwide growth helps it cash in on new media-rights deals, with 75% of the league’s viewership coming from outside the U.S.

“We lined up all of our international deals to be able to go to market for a streaming platform, with a truly global proposition to be able to offer up NBA basketball,” says Tatum, who hinted at some big changes on the horizon. “I think you’re going to see, in our new partnerships coming out of our discussions that we’re having now, a new way of presenting the NBA property on a digital basis.”

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