Africa’s Uprising Catches the Attention of the NBA
By Christopher Pitts
6 of the 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa
Amadou Gallo Fall will now serve as president of Basketball Africa League (BAL)
With the uprising of Africa as an emerging market, it seems only fitting that the NBA would capitalize on years of grassroots basketball initiatives. Recently hired Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s current Vice President and Managing Director for NBA Africa, will now serve as president of Basketball Africa League (BAL), which speaks to the league’s commitment to promoting diversity initiatives. With Fall in place just how profitable could the BAL become for the NBA?
Why This Matters: At the launch of BAL, Commissioner Adam Silver stated “combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.” Not to mention that Six of the 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Silver noted there are more than 400 companies in Africa that generate more than $1 billion annually, but sports there has not seen the same growth, at least not yet.
Even though the 12-league team is the NBA’s first direct role in league development outside the U.S. they’ve already been holding court on the continent. They have an office in South Africa that’s helped create just under 90 learn and play facilities in seven African nations. Also, in Senegal the league built an academy that opened nearly two years ago.
In the U.S. the NBA is a force to be reckoned with, last season, the league’s 30 teams generated $7.4 billion in revenue up 25% from 2017, according to Forbes. The average NBA franchise is now worth a record $1.65 billion and earned an average of $52 million.
Digital and social media will be major drivers for this business venture, since Africa is a continent with over 700 million cell phones, and could play a major role in the viewership opportunities for games. Additionally, Pepsi (PEP +1.17%) and the Jordan Brand have already signed on as partners, along with President Obama who says he wants to have a direct role in the league.
Situational Awareness: This seems like a win-win for both Africa and the NBA. In 2034, Africa is expected to have the world’s largest working-age population of 1.1 billion, according to We Forum, which also projects that Africa’s consumers will spend $2 trillion by 2025. With that said there seems to be an opportunity for job and revenue creation for the African countries that participate in growing the game.
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