The National Basketball Association’s annual regular-season fixture in Europe will return to Paris in 2021, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has revealed.
“We will play again in Paris next year, in January,” Silver told local reporters in the French capital. “We are in discussions with several teams, we have many requests because many teams are interested. Even if we have not yet planned this match, it is already arousing interest.”
Silver hinted that the NBA will most likely choose at least one team who have a French player on their roster.
On January 24, the Charlotte Hornets will face the Milwaukee Bucks at the recently-renovated AccorHotels Arena in the Bercy neighborhood, in an event officially known as the NBA Paris Game 2020. The Paris fixture is the first outside of London’s O2 Arena since the NBA began staging regular-season games in Europe in 2011.
In its attempt to further expand the league’s reach across Europe, the NBA is planning take the in-season showpiece event throughout the basketball heartlands of the continent at regular intervals following these two games in Paris.
“Every city in Europe would want to have this game. When you are talking about [potential host] cities, you are thinking about places in Italy, Spain and Germany – those are our core markets in addition to the UK and France and would be on our short list,” Ralph Rivera, managing director of NBA Europe and Middle East, tells SportBusiness. “We’re not looking at an eight-year run anywhere like we’ve done in London [from 2011 to 2019, with a break in 2012]. We are looking at rotating cities, but we’re not going to have an eight-year drought as well.
“Paris is a really strong candidate for subsequent games and London would be a strong candidate for a future game as well. Over the next four or five years I do expect to be back in London and I do expect to be back in Paris in that time frame and I do expect other cities to be in the mix as well,” Rivera says.