Donal Trump certainly would not have been serious about visiting India for two exhibition matches between Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers on October 4 and 5. However, the US President referring at length the two NBA exhibition matches in Mumbai next month as one of America’s best exports to India has come as a shot in the arm for the NBA India, who are leaving no stone unturned to market the biggest event ever on basketball calendar in the country.
“President Trump talking about the NBA India games definitely help us amplify awareness about the event. Lot of the people who knew about the big games and might have been sitting on the periphery, they interest is certainly amplified with this development,” NBA India Managing Director Rajesh Sethi told insidesport.co.
For NBA India, neither a stage nor a spokesperson could get bigger than the ‘Howdy Modi’ event and President Trump.
“…very soon, India will have access to another world class American product- NBA basketball. Wow, sounds good. Next week, thousands of people will gather in Mumbai to watch the first ever, NBA basketball game in India,” Trump has said at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, Texas, on Monday.
The two games to be broadcast on Sony Sports network are almost sold out.
The opportunity for NBA India it is much bigger opportunity than a mere high ticket basketball event. The NBA India has been working through numerous channels to establish the 30-team US league as a pre-eminently in India. “Mr Trumps comments have also helped us localise the event,” said Sethi, a former Head of Ten Sports. Localise in the sense, a lot of people who know about the event but were may be sitting on the periphery will no deep dive. This will amplify their interest.”
NBA has already launched a massive #NBAInMyBackyard campaign to connect with the huge basketball fan base in the country and reach out to a new base of sports lovers.
Besides, the marketing and awareness initiatives also include massive basketball paintings across Mumbai by noted graffiti artistes.