Basketball And Soccer Share Learnings In UK
What do basketball and soccer have in common? A lot, evidently -- especially when it comes to the necessary tension between an international expansion strategy and the importance of local teams and local involvement.
National Basketball League Commissioner David Stern and Barclays Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore met to hash it out at the NBA House in Covent Garden. The two discussed the global development of their respective organizations as well as player development, community initiatives, ownership structure, revenue sharing and legacy.
One thing the two agreed on was that global success is impossible without local roots, including reinvesting in communities and developing fitness and healthy-lifestyle programs. Stern said at the conference that such programs make a team more than just an entertainment property and are, in fact, the cornerstones for bigger plans.
Said Stern: “The game begins with each of our 30 teams in their local markets. If you lose that connectivity to your local fans and what the team means to the community…you don't really have a firm foundation to expose your brand and grow yourself internationally.”
He said the NBA's international plans include bringing games to Southern Hemisphere markets. “In the future, you’ll see a shift as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics are in Brazil, you will see more of a focus by us on Latin America. And it’s impossible to ignore Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and South East Asia.”
Scudamore acknowledged the importance of the growth of the league internationally, but through other means than the NBA’s model. He said: "It is essential that if you’re going to go abroad, you go and try and recreate as best you can the exact same experience as here. And that isn’t just a match experience -- that’s also the experience around community, around what sport can do because again, globally as you travel the world, people don’t actually see immediately the power of sport in terms of development, in terms of integration and social cohesion."
According to the NBA, attendees included Louis Susman, U.S. Ambassador for the UK; Stan Kroenke, owner of the Denver Nuggets and majority shareholder of Arsenal FC; Clayton Bennett, owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder; Ian Ritchie, CEO, Rugby Football Union; Jerry Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball; Patrick Vieira, former French international and football development executive, Manchester City Football Club; and Jordi Bertomeu, CEO of Euroleague Basketball.