IST Final Four In European City? Adam Silver Says ‘Everything Is On The Table’


The NBA has long been a global phenomenon, with its popularity transcending borders and drawing fans from all corners of the world. To further capitalize on this international appeal, the NBA has implemented various strategies, including staging regular-season games outside of North America. These global games have played a crucial role in expanding the league’s reach and fostering a deeper connection with fans worldwide.

The NBA’s foray into international games dates back to the early 1960s, when exhibition matches were held in Europe. These games were primarily organized to introduce basketball to new audiences and generate revenue. However, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the NBA began to seriously consider playing regular-season games outside of North America.

In 1989, the NBA played its first regular-season game overseas, when the Houston Rockets faced the Dallas Mavericks in Tokyo, Japan. This game was a major success, drawing a sell-out crowd and generating significant media attention. Encouraged by this positive reception, the NBA continued to expand its global game schedule in the following years, playing in cities such as London, Paris, and Barcelona.

The NBA’s global games have had a profound impact on the league’s international expansion. These games have introduced basketball to new audiences, increased the NBA’s visibility and brand recognition, and fostered a deeper connection with fans around the world.

By playing regular-season games in international markets, the NBA has given fans in these countries the opportunity to experience the excitement and passion of NBA basketball firsthand. This exposure has helped to generate interest in the league and its players, leading to increased viewership and merchandise sales.

As the NBA continues to grow its international presence, the number of global games is likely to increase. The league is constantly exploring new opportunities to expand its reach and engage with fans around the world.

Before this year’s European global game in Paris between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hosted his annual European press conference, also to talk about the significance of the international market for the NBA, with a specific focus on Europe.

I got the chance to get a question in, and decided to ask Silver about the In-Season Tournament’s inaugural success, as well as the possibility of the final four of the tournament taking place in a European city in the future.

While the Commissioner shared a lengthy und detailed response with the journalists present, he revealed that “everything is on the table,” while also mentioning the possibility of “a next generation of supersonic jets” that conceivably could cut future travel time in half.


“Hosting games over here or an All-Star-type game or a final four is something we’ve continued to look at. Even for the In-Season Tournament final four in the U.S. in Las Vegas, it’s still a bit of a scheduling conundrum in terms of the days required to take out of our schedule for the In-Season Tournament, how we then reschedule games for teams that don’t make it through the knockout stage to that final four. Travel to Europe somewhere else or outside the United States would only further complicate it.

Again, one of the great things about traveling that you can’t do through technology, there’s no substitute to physically be in a market and just to feel the energy and the enormous interest. Certainly that’s my sense from the last few days here in Paris.

I think, when I go home and I’m talking to my colleagues, Mark Tatum, deputy commissioner is here, to think more long term how can we, as I talk about this being a global game, physically bring the game over to more markets.

Everything is on the table, I think, and to Joe’s [The Athletic’s Joe Vardon] question about our television deals, increasingly our existing partners, Disney through ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery through their streaming service Max, these are global services. So they’re very focused on building audiences country by country, just as we are.

Now I’m looking at Chrysa Chin from the Players Association. Maybe it means at some point sitting down with the players and talking about structuring the schedule a different way so it’s not about back-to-back games. We can build in travel.

Also, a comment I made yesterday, I’ve been reading lately about a next generation of supersonic jets. Frankly, if it were three hours or 2 1/2 hours instead of seven hours or eight hours, that would change our ability to move from continent to continent as well.

It’s an amazing opportunity. I think to continue to be more global, as this game is being just adapted to continent by continent, country by country, it’s a really exciting opportunity. It means at the league office we constantly have to be rethinking the way we do things.“


You may also like...