The NBA will invest millions of dollars in Basketball Africa League, its first professional league outside of North America, and will be hands-on in its operation, a top executive said Tuesday.
The NBA, in partnership with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), is launching the Basketball Africa League in January 2020, featuring 12 teams from across the continent.
“This league will be fully operated by the NBA,” Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s vice president for Africa, told Reuters by phone from Johannesburg. “Our expertise and best practices will be on display.”
The NBA generated $8 billion in revenue last season, according to Forbes, and industry players say audience interest in Africa has grown alongside the profile of Africans playing in the world’s top basketball league.
Cameroon’s Joel Embiid, a 25-year-old center for the Philadelphia 76ers, has emerged as a top player in the NBA, signing a five-year contract with the team worth nearly $150 million in 2017.