An interview with the president, numerous sponsor activations, stars close to the floor of the AccorHotel Arena, including French basketball star Victor Wembanyama, or even the launch of a video game with the creators of Pokemon Go. This week the NBA’s oil agenda resembles as much a diplomatic visit as a self-promotion tour of conquered territory. In front of the council of ministers on Wednesday January 18, Emmanuel Macron welcomed Adam Silver, the big boss of the NBA at the Elysée. “We discussed the development of basketball in France and the location of basketball at the 2024 Olympics. We will probably return next year.”
Three years after the arrival of Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Hornets, the legendary former club of the NBA star shares the poster: the Chicago Bulls against the Detroit Pistons, at the AccorHotel Arena. “This game was created to engage our fans in Europe,” said Ralph Rivera, NBA director for Europe and the Middle East. France is the number one NBA merchandising country in Europe. We managed to activate seventeen sponsors for this match. It’s simple that the tickets were sold in less than five minutes.” The social movement against the pension reform could not stop the fans from attending the meeting where they paid between 65 and 815 euros. On the sponsor’s side, the NFT cards from Sorare to PlayStation via Nike, Tissot, Parions Sport or Deezer, there is something for everyone.
The meeting this Thursday, January 19 will be broadcast both on Canal + en clear, the channel that launched the NBA in the 2000s, and beIN Sport, the holder of the rights to the competition since 2012. “The NBA is our oldest . right, since the creation of the channel, supports Florent Houzot, editorial director of beIN Sports. It allows us to reach a younger audience than our other sports, while allowing us to offer two matches from October to June. at night.” Sign that basketball has managed to find its place on the air of the Qatari channel, “the NBA represents 7% of air time for 16% of global audience, adds Florent Houzot. This relocation of the match to Paris, I think it is thanks to the important work that beIN has been doing for ten years.”
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An NBA game inspired by Pokemon Go
The American league, which exceeded $10 billion in revenue for the year for the first time during the 2021-2022 season, even took advantage of its presence in Paris to launch a video game. The Niantic studio, known for the success of Pokemon Go, is developing a mobile basketball game. NBA All World features American league players on basketball courts. From one-on-one game modes in real life to find out who is the master of the field, or shooting contest, NBA All World adapts the augmented reality success of Pokemon Go that attracted 120 million players in 2020 .
“Basketball is the number 1 sport in the world for young people between the ages of 18 and 20, explained John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, who is venturing into the world of sports for the first time. We tried to make basketball accessible by adding a dose of augmented reality. The goal is to surpass the audience of basketball fans.” The game took three years to develop. “We’re trying to break down the prejudices of fans: we may like basketball, but other sports make up Glenn Chin, Niantic’s director of marketing. We want to create the first sports game that encourages players to go out to play.” The game is definitely aimed at an audience of casual players and not those fed up with realistic game simulations, like NBA 2K23. If NBA All World is free, many brands are present within the game, such as adidas sneakers in particular, allowing players to unlock some of them. Of course it is possible to buy resources in NBA All World with cold hard cash.
Even before the game, NBA officials acknowledged that the operation was a complete success. Lobbying with the main French leaders, sponsors were conquered and an audience that responded more than at present. The French capital is not the only city where the NBA sometimes moves its regular season meetings. Last December, the San Antonio Spurs took on the Miami Heat in Mexico City in an attempt to woo Central America. The pre-season matches were organized in October in Abu Dhabi. Even though nothing is official yet, the NBA should still benefit from its force of attraction in Paris next year. To take advantage of the host city effect of the 2024 Olympic Games, while trying to play at home at the beginning of the year the future club of the French prodigy who will go to the NBA, Victor Wembanyama.