We all saw this coming, the NBA for many years has been expanding its market overseas and the game has benefited from the exposure. The next logical step was to have a regular season game played on European soil, well, David Stern can check that off his to-do list. Read more.
There’s just one problem I see with the NBA holding its first regular season game on European soil, it’s the two teams that will be playing, the Nets and the Raptors. The Nets and the Raptors have to be the two least exciting and among the two least talented teams with the fewest marquee names in the Eastern Conference. I know it’s all about exposure, but seriously, who is getting excited to watch the New Jersey Nets play the Toronto Raptors? Let’s be honest, sure, myself and other degenerate bettors will wager on the game, but I’ll be damned if I watch it.
It’s not like the folks in London don’t know what the hell is going on in the NBA. Instead of sending teams like Miami, Boston, Orlando or even the Lakers, teams that the good basketball loving fans of London can appreciate, they get the chopped liver of the NBA. The Nets had one of the worst seasons in NBA history last year and the Raptors didn’t even make the playoffs. Neither team has made any significant improvements in the offseason, if anything, the Raptors managed to get worse.
So my question is why? Why send two of the worst teams the league has to offer to promote the game in London? Stern could have generated more excitement by just having Lebron James and Kobe Bryant show up for a game of horse!
The Raptors experimented with having a lineup full of European players last season and Toronto is the type of market that may be the most suitable for a player from Europe, so it does make sense for the Raptors to play in London. It also makes sense for New Jersey to be there now with a Russian billionaire owner at the helm. But what doesn’t make sense is the timing. For the first official regular season game ever to be played overseas, shouldn’t there at least be one NBA allstar playing in the game?
The people of London might just realize what NBA fans have known for years, the only true value when watching two of the shittiest teams in the league play against each other is the value in betting on those teams. Surely European sportsbooks can find a way to hype this event and generate buzz around NBA betting. There are plenty of NBA fans in Europe and with a regular season game about to be played on European soil, it seems very plausible that European sportsbooks can truly benefit if they can channel some of the soccer bettors into betting on the NBA. Again, all of this would have been much easier if say the Miami Heat were playing the Celtics instead of the Craptors and the 12-70 Nets!