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NBA confirms first regular season game in France

North American basketball league the NBA has today (Thursday) confirmed it will stage its first-ever regular season game in France, with the Charlotte Hornets set to face the Milwaukee Bucks at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris on January 24, 2020.

Today’s news has long been mooted, with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in January hinting that the league could host a regular season game in Paris next year at the expense of the NBA London game.

Berlin has also been touted as a potential destination, but it is the French capital that has got the nod, with Bercy’s AccorHotels Arena last hosting a pre-season game in 2010 and having recently undergone renovations.

The NBA’s presence in France spans more than 35 years, with NBA games and programming on-the-air since the 1984-85 season and 10 pre-season games having been held in the nation. Opening-night rosters for the 2018-19 NBA season featured nine French players, more than any European country for the 12th consecutive season.

The NBA Paris Game 2020 will mark the Hornets’ second game in the city, having played a preseason game in the French capital in 1994 against the Golden State Warriors.  The Hornets’ roster currently features France’s four-time NBA champion Tony Parker and fellow countryman Nicolas Batum.

The NBA Paris Game 2020 will be broadcast live in France and across the Middle East and North Africa region on beIN Sports. The game will be supported by a full roster of marketing partners, including presenting partner beIN, Beats, Nike, and Tissot, with additional partners to be announced in the coming months.

In addition to the oncourt action, NBA Paris Game 2020 will feature a variety of interactive fan activities, NBA Cares community outreach initiatives and Jr. NBA basketball programming.

Silver said today: “Our NBA Paris Game will showcase the continued global growth of basketball in one of the world’s greatest cities. With France leading a record number of players from Europe in the league, we look forward to bringing together basketball fans from across the continent for the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris.”

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, added: “The return of an NBA game in Paris, after a 10-year absence, is a real victory for our city.  It is the result of a commitment by my staff, through all our efforts with the Paris basketball team and all the sports clubs in Paris.

“From the successful organisation of the 2016 football Euros to the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we have successfully put Paris at the forefront of the world’s sporting capitals.”