Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Something could be happening after the Olympics 2012 in London. There are many NBA-style arenas ready in Europe and lots of businessmen interested in running this plan. Insiders say that there are talks and something is sizzling out. London and Berlin have amazing arenas, Rome, Milan but even Madrid, Barcelona, Athens or Tel Aviv might soon follow suit.
The David Stern concerns are not about money or finding businessmen interested to join with a european franchise the NBA. The commissioner who leads the League that is a model for professional sports in public service, league operations, global marketing and technology knows exactly that the fascinating project must be prepared perfectly. He knows that the NBA may still be the best basketball league on the planet, but it is not anymore the only league willing to pay big salaries and players and their agents know it. And for the expansion of the League, its brand the commissioner has his own very solid strategy to be successful: to strike root in new countries, cities and enlarge the sphere of the business to new fans in what it will become the "Global Basketaball Association".
In this troubled economy where the euro sometimes dwarfs the dollar you have to necessarily think new stategy. The Euroleague has been a big success so far, and David Stern knows that very well. Even the dynamics of players market has changed a lot: big-time players has signed in Europe and even more have considered the option. An interchange is in act, but David Stern can't plan a merger with the Euroleague, and he needs to expand the NBA and maybe take over or add top european clubs eager to be in the next worldwide NBA. Maybe the only big issues are related the different financially wise rules: in Europe the salary cup doesn't apply for instance, and the tv rights are dramatically lower than in America so far.
But there is no doubt that they are working to plan how to harmonize the rules preparing the next big impact on the global basketball: some european franchises in the NBA. And who knows, maybe soon even in Asia (more Japan than China right now) for the years to come.