This weekend the NBA will touchdown in London England for two games as the NBA continues to grow it’s game and product internationally. The Toronto Raptors and the New Jersey Nets will be the two teams representing the NBA at London’s Olympic basketball venue.
One would assume that if the NBA truly wanted to make a huge impact overseas they would send two of their marquee teams to Europe. For example, why not have the Miami Heat play the Los Angeles Lakers, or the New York Knicks, or Celtics on foreign soil? Without question that game would generate plenty of hype, certainly more than the Raptors and the Nets, two of the league’s worst teams. It’s not like these teams were good when these games were scheduled either.
Regardless, the NBA on European soil is already generating interest among bettors. Graeme Sharpe of William Hill said about the NBA showcasing games in London “It can only enhance a significantly growing interest in betting on the sport”. To capitalize on that growing interest in NBA betting, like other European bookmakers, William Hill has bolstered their offerings across 24 different markets, which according to Sharpe, is “already attracting considerable attention”.
As the NBA continues to mull over the prospect of possible expanding to Europe, bookmakers across the pond aren’t holding their breath.
“It’s unlikely, but we’d be supportive” said Sharpe.
With the direction that David Stern has hinted towards, contraction is more likely at this point than expansion, but should this weekend be a huge success, perhaps Europe could see more NBA games on their home soil in the future.
Thanks to newly acquired Deron Williams for the New Jersey Nets, at least the fans in London will get to see one NBA all star in action.