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Appendix II
ECOSYSTEMS OF NORTH AMERICAN SPORTS
The National Basketball Association Ecosystem
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the world’s premier profes-
sional men’s basketball league, based in North America, with 29 teams in
the United States and one in Canada. The league has an increasingly global
presence through sourcing and branding of talent, licensed goods and ser-
vices, and games played overseas. It is one of three professional basketball
leagues operating under the umbrella of the National Basketball Association,
Inc.; the others are the NBA Development League (D League) – the official
“minor league” of players trying to play their way into NBA–and the WNBA,
a women’s professional league. NBA Inc. operates subsidiaries that licence
properties, produce entertainment, distribute content via cable TV and the
internet, and operate themed restaurants and stores in New York and Florida;
it reported approximately $4 billion in revenue in 2009.
The NBA is conspicuously expanding its global footprint. Most teams have at
least one international player, and such players as Andrea Bargnani (Italy),
Tony Parker (France), and Yao Ming (China) are highly-paid stars in the league
and celebrities in their home countries. Bargnani, Australian Andrew Bogut
and Yao, were the number one draft picks – the most coveted new players – in
the years they entered the league. The league routinely schedules exhibition
games abroad and in 2011 held it first regular season game outside of North
America, in London. NBA Inc. has conducted events and built facilities in
Argentina, Brazil, Lithuania, and France. It opened an office in Hong Kong in
1992; in 2004, capitalising on Yao’s popularity, it opened a Shanghai office,
the first of three on the Chinese mainland. By 2010, the overseeing entity,
NBA China, accounted for an estimated $150-$170 million in revenue, about
half of NBA Inc.’s total international revenues, and was growing between 30-
40 per cent per year.
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The ecosystem around the NBA is featured in Figure A1, which illustrates
the interested constituencies and their connections and interrelationships.
The event at the centre of the ecosystem is the game–48 minutes of playing
© MONITOR QUEST LTD. 2011
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