When Gerald wrote last week about cities that deserve an NBA team, he focused on just North American cities. But after reading that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dominique Wilkins, Vlade Divac, Robert Horry and Tim Hardaway were going to touch down in Manila next week, I realized they weren’t just there for vacation. Turns out Filipinos are crazy about the NBA.
“This country is probably No. 1 in the world on NBA brand awareness,” said Carlo Singson Sr., the manager for markets of NBA Asia during the NBA Madness event last year. “The fans are passionate, the percentage of people who play is awesome. NBA players who come here are amazed at how much Pinoys know about NBA teams and NBA players. NBA commissioner David Stern actually sees how important basketball is here and what it means to Filipinos. So the Philippines is definitely a priority market for the NBA.”
Not only is Stern sending five legends, but also six players from the D-League (Derrick Dial, Marcus Hubbard, Chris Ellis, Lanny Smith, Billy Thomas and Russell Robinson), six New Jersey Nets Dunking Divas and the Nets mascot, Sly the Silver Fox.
Check out these stats from the 2008 Sponsorship Intelligence research survey on the Philippines as an NBA market:
– 99 percent of the population is aware of the NBA
– 75 percent consider themselves to be NBA fans (eclipsing the Olympic Games at 58 percent and domestic basketball at 48 percent)
– Basketball is the nation’s favorite participation sport—nearly four in 10 play, twice as many as the next most played sports of badminton and volleyball
– During the NBA Season, 62 percent of the population watch the NBA games on TV at least once a month and about 40 percent of the population watch the NBA on TV at least once a week
– 33 percent intend to buy NBA branded items within the next year, rising to 44 percent among men (significantly more than the Asia and global averages)
While no one would want a back-to-back from Memphis to Manila, you have to think David Stern has a map of the world’s 12th most populous country on the wall of his office.
Other than the Philippines, what other international cities should have an NBA franchise?
Source: Business Mirror
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DIMEMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.