3 million NBA fans in UAE encouraged us to hold games in Abu Dhabi: NBA executive

3 million NBA fans in UAE encouraged us to hold games in Abu Dhabi: NBA executive

3 million NBA fans in UAE encouraged us to hold games in Abu Dhabi: NBA executive

By Muhammad Aamir

ABU DHABI, 16th November, 2021 – The huge fan base in the UAE and Abu Dhabi’s world-class sporting infrastructure encouraged the American professional basketball league NBA to decide to hold games in the Middle East, NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer said on Tuesday.

“There are three million NBA fans in the UAE and Abu Dhabi is known for hosting world-class sporting events like professional Tennis, Golf tournaments, Formula 1 [Abu Dhabi Grand Prix] and Special Olympics World Games,” Mark Tatum said at a media briefing at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi while answering a question asked by the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi, and Mark Tatum signed a multi-year partnership agreement in which the first two games will be held in Abu Dhabi during the NBA pre-season in October 2022.

The partnership also includes fan events featuring current and former NBA players, Jr.

NBA Leagues for school-age players, a series of NBA Fit Clinics and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.

“We can go where there is a strong fan base and world-class facilities,” the NBA executive said.

“This became an easy decision for us.

We are going to do much, much more.

This is just the beginning.

“I think this is just the beginning of future basketball activities that we are going to hold here together.


Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, the Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT, said the partnership will further cement Abu Dhabi’s position in hosting international sporting events.

“It will help us look at further development and additional programmes including the NBA 2K, and there will be a number of workshops,” he explained.

“We look at promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy living through the games and work on competitions and agreements for the youth.

“The agreement with NBA will go beyond the hosting of the games here.

We are both sharing a similar vision and belief of diversity, inclusion and tolerance.

That is what we are trying to promote.

“There will be further discussions with the NBA to look at the future opportunities.

“This is the start for more regional games and competitions that will be hosted here.


WAM/ Ibrahim Shukralla

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