NBA India Games tips off today, adds JBL as sponsor

Sacramento Kings v Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on October 31, 2017. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

The 2019 NBA India Games, the American basketball league’s biggest-ever marketing push in India, starts today at the Dome @ NSCI, SVP Stadium in Mumbai.

The event features two preseason games between the Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers, taking place today and tomorrow. It is the first time that North American major league teams are playing games in India.

The NBA is pouring resources into the event as it seeks to build its brand in one of the world’s biggest potential growth markets for sport. Diane Gotua, NBA India’s vice-president of global business operations, told SportBusiness last week: “We hope to make basketball the second-most popular sport in India in the near future [behind cricket] and draw more fans along the way.”

The NBA yesterday added audio equipment brand JBL as a sponsor of the games, joining a list of brands partnering with the event including Apple, L’Oreal, Gatorade, Indian online fashion retailer Myntra.com, ACG, California Dream Big, Dream11, Saavan, Nike, SAP and Tissot.

JBL’s deal builds on an existing partnership with the NBA in the US, running since 2014 and renewed last year, under which it has links to various teams and players.

As part of the India Games deal, JBL ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the Indian actress, singer and model, will attend the event. Dinesh Paliwal, the chief executive of JBL parent company Harman is also a panel speaker at the NBA Indian Innovation Summit, a business conference the league is running alongside the event. The summit takes place today at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai.

The NBA India Games are being broadcast domestically, live and exclusively by pay-television operator Sony Pictures Networks.