ESSAY

7

Basketbecomes more and more popular in the world

Manyof us will agree that in the recent past and even today, more andmore people are gathering around major sports and viewing games thanbefore. Consider the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) gamesin the US or the Spanish Basketball League in Spain and one makes theconclusion that indeed the sport is becoming more and more popular inthe world. But perhaps the other side will be about other sports inthe world rather than basketball, for instance the English PremierLeague is the most lucrative football league in the world with thebiggest viewership after FIFA’s World Cup. The purpose of thisessay is to take a look at the rising popularity of basketball as asport in the world today.

Whyshould people care about this topic?

Writingon sports is perhaps one of the most popular topics that any studentwill pick on, especially when you are doing it on one of the mostpopular and lucrative games in the world. Sport has built big namesand basketball is not an exception. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryantare some of the biggest names in basketball not only in the US butthe whole world. In football, big names like Christiano Ronaldo andLionel Messi have inspired many young people to take careers insports and create one of the biggest industries in the world economy.Basketball has a lot to do in order to be at par with football but itis factual that a lot has been done and continues to be done to makethis game more and more popular around the world. The Federation ofInternational Basketball Associations (FIBA) is doing all it can tomake basketball attract more attention just like what FIFA has donein football(Yep, 2012).There is need for people to care about the popularity of this gamebecause it is a multi-billion game that constitutes of 6 percent ofthe global sports market in terms of revenue generated. As of 2009,it generated more than 2.7 billion Euros in the sports market.Furthermore, much has changed ever since and the estimates are highertoday than five years ago and as of 2014-15 season, it is estimatedthat more $ 4.7 billion was generated from the US basketball leaguealone. Because of all these, it must be a concern of everyone thatmore should be known about basketball. Basketball is becoming morepopular especially among the young adults (15-24 years) in Europe,China, Asia and Australia. A study done in 2006 by TGI in fourcountries in Europe UK, Spain, Germany and England found that 33million basketball fans are mainly young adults, male and derive fromhigh social grade groups. Another global study carried out by RoperStarch Worldwide in 1997 based on 35,000 interviews showed that 11%of the world plays basketball. The game is more popular in Australiathan football and is the fastest growing game in India.

Backgroundinformation

Itis clear that indeed basketball is not par with football but the factremains that much has been done ever since the game was created byDr. James Naismath to make it popular not only in North America butin different parts of the world, for instance, China that has thebiggest viewership outside the United States. Many nationalassociations have since been formed to spearhead the popularity ofthis game. In China, there is the China Basketball Association whilein Europe there is the Euroleague. The NBA league has more foreignplayers from all over the world as a true indication continuingpopularity of this sport. The game has seen exponential expansion allover the US and in every neighborhood, there is a basketball court.Basketball is not like football where one has to make a huge team ashere, all one needs is a ball and the willingness to play. Again, acourt can be shared by many players during the practice at the sametime (Martin, 2014). Thirdly, the game is favored by many teensaround the world in addition to the professional players who play indifferent leagues in many parts of the world. Basketball today is themost appealing game across all gender at all levels. The number of14-17 year olds who play basketball in the US alone stands at 9.1million compared to 7.1 million that play football. The gamecontinues to appeal not only in the US but in India, China and evenEngland where soccer is the main attraction with the English PremierLeague being the biggest league in the world. The fact thatbillionaires from outside the US are buying NBA teams is a truetestimony of the popularity of this game. For instance, MikhailProkhorov is a Russian billionaire who recently bought Brooklyn Netsand owns almost half of the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. In this way,the game has moved from being owned by Americans to have owners fromother parts of the world.

Recentcauses

Togrow and popularize the game all over the globe, stars like KobeBryant, Kevin Durant and LeBron James are out there to marketbasketball through world tours and tournaments in many cities aroundthe world. Many of these stars like Bryant and James make frequentvisits to China, all in efforts to popularize this sport. These starshave done sustainable marketing of the sport so as to have itembraced by many upcoming players and gain appeal beyond thetraditional North America and Europe.

NBAhas also been doing much at all levels through its initiative ofBasketball Without Borders where it has brought together coaches,players, teams and leagues in cities all over the world so as toteach the game and touch the lives of those who want to play andenjoy the game (Martin, 2014). The NBA league has over time beensending teams to many parts of the world since 1978 and of morerecent development was the launching of NBA Global Games exhibitionin a number of cities like Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul andBeijing(Carlson, 2011).These exhibition contests include preseason and regular season gamesin London and Mexico City. These efforts have been boosted by thesports apparel industry players like Nike and Adidas that have beenkeen on expanding the game as more expansion will see these companiesexpand their businesses too. These companies rely heavily on the NBAstars so as to drive their basketball business.

Again,more and more foreign players are playing in some of the NBA teamslike the Brooklyn Nets where there are several international playerslike Tornike Shengelia from Georgia and Andrei Kirilenko of Russia.This goes on to demonstrate that indeed the game has gotten globalappeal and is fast becoming more and more popular than before. Therehave been coaching clinics by teams like the Nets in Singapore, Chinaand Russia. The NBA is becoming more international than ever beforeand has made efforts to play a number of NBA games in countriesoutside the US including games in Manila in Philippines where HoustonRockets play Indiana Pacers and in Manchester, Rio de Janeiro andBilbao. NBA broadcasts most of its games for the global audience andorganizes youth camps in eleven countries.

Effects

Theeffects of these efforts can be evaluated by looking at the benefitsof basketball to communities and the world. The game is a powerfultool for socialization as it is a great way to meet new people andbonding at family and society levels. Like most sports, basketballhelps one to run, jump, hop, shoot and thereby burn calories.Essentially, one is able to keep fit and have fun(Carlson, 2011).One also gets to be trained on endurance and being active throughrunning back and forth and body balance and coordination throughdribbling the ball. Again, the game develops self-discipline throughplaying as a team. One is also able to get life skills and lessonslike being generous, planning skills, bravery and being ready for theworst and the best through defeats and victories respectively.

Itis clear that the game has a future that is well thought if the NBAand FIBA will continue their efforts to market the game in many partsof the world(Wegener, 2014).Today, many authors try to compare the popularity of football tobasketball and it is clear that the former might be more popular thanthe later but good and remarkable progress continues to be made inattempts to make the game known and appreciated by many people. Theseattempts will be good if they focus on the grassroots and will takegenerations so as to blossom (Martin, 2014).

Theother result of the spread of the game is the impact to business asmore broadcast deals signed indicate good business in the sportsmarket. For instance, in 2012 NBA signed one of the biggest deals insports in India with Sony Six Media Company so that the company willexclusively broadcast NBA games in the country and play host forbasketball events across India (Sam, 2013). Investments in the gamehave been noticed especially from billionaires who have made buyoutsof big teams, for instance the Russian billionaire who bought theBrooklyn Nets and has paid hundreds of million dollars to NBA forregulations.

Conclusion

Resourceswill go a long way in making this game more popular than whatfootball is today. These resources will go to the grassroots tonurture foreign talent, for instance China, Australia and other partsof the world. More is also needed in tapping into latent enthusiasmthat may exist for basketball outside the US, more particularly inChina, India and Australia. These are potential areas to popularizethe game and make it a global sport liked by billions.

References

Carlson,C. (2011). The Motherland, the Godfather, and the Birth of aBasketball Dynasty:

AmericanEfforts to Promote Basketball in Lithuania. TheInternational Journal of the History of Sport,Vol.28,No.11,pp.1479-1495.

Martin,J. (2014). Could basketball Ever Become the Most Popular Sport in theWorld? Web.

Retrievedon 23rdJune, 2015 fromhttp://bleacherreport.com/articles/2178053-could-basketball-ever-become-the-most-popular-sport-in-the-world

Wegener,F. (2014). TheHistory of Basketball and Volleyball.GRIN Verlag.

Yep,K. S. (2012). Peddling sport: liberal multiculturalism and the racialtriangulation of

blackness,Chineseness and Native American-ness in professional basketball.Ethnicand racial studies,Vol.35,No.6,pp.971-987.