European players in the National Basketball Association, including the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic, have increased viewership of the league in the continent, according to officials.
The NBA has seen a 15 per cent increase in League Pass subscriptions internationally, which gives fans access to games in countries all over the world.
Two-time league MVP (most valuable player) winner Antetokounmpo, alongside the talented Doncic and Jokic's rise in popularity in the league, has led to viewership increases in the United Kingdom (72 per cent), Italy (32 per cent) and Spain (17 per cent), according to Matt Brabants, the NBA's senior vice president of global content and media distribution.
Speaking to Reuter's, Brabants said: "We’re really excited about what we’re seeing in Europe. To see an across the board increase in viewership and League Pass consumption in all markets and in major markets such as Spain, Italy and the U.K. really speaks to the health of the game."
The increases can also be attributed to the adjustment of game start times to accommodate for fans in Europe, Brabants added.
"Last year in particular we really started to see the initiative bear fruit when we saw a 23% increase year-over-year in viewership associated with those primetime games on Saturday and Sunday.
In the near future, Brabants hopes that by having some of the league's best players competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games, more interest will be generated for the NBA.
“The Olympics always create interest, there’s no doubt about it,” Brabants said.
“We’ve seen that from previous experience with the Olympics that there’s keen interest in seeing those players competing for their home countries.”
Author: Jake Wilkin