The National Basketball Association (NBA) through its commissioner, Adam Silver, announced on Monday the formation of NBA Africa, a new business entity that will conduct and oversee all league’s business in Africa which also includes the Basketball Africa League (BAL).
The league has partnered with several high-profile investors to form the entity. The investors include two Nigerian businessmen as well as former NBA stars. The strategic investors include a consortium led by investment holding company, Yinka Folawiyo Group; and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP) as well as former NBA stars which include Dikembe Mutombo, Junior Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill and Joakim Noah.
According to reports, altogether the investors have acquired an 8% stake. The value of the new entity has not been made public but NBA commissioner, Adam Silver told the media on Monday that the value of the new entity is already “nearly $1billion“.
The funding from the new entity, NBA Africa will go towards contributing to the growth of the Basketball Africa League (BAL). It will also be spent on building infrastructures and initiatives such as ‘NBA Academies’ in order to deepen the league’s engagement with players and fans.
The new entity will also continue the NBA’s efforts in Africa by increasing access to basketball and the NBA through grassroots and elite development, media distribution, corporate partnerships.
What they are saying
“Today’s announcement is the result of many years of investment and on-the-ground work to grow the game of basketball in Africa and a recognition of the enormous opportunities ahead for the NBA on the continent. We believe that basketball can become a top sport across Africa over the next decade, and I look forward to working closely with our investors to make that goal a reality.
“With the expertise, resources and shared vision, the immensely successful investors and NBA legends, we believe that basketball in Africa can become a top sport over the next decade,” Silver said during a virtual news conference.
What you should know
- NBA Africa’s board of directors will be led by NBA Africa CEO, Victor Williams and includes NBA commissioner, Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
- Babatunde Folawiyo and Tope Lawani, the co-chief executive of Helios Fairfax Partners, will also have seats on the board.
- The NBA has a decades-long history in Africa and it opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010.
- The Basketball Africa League (BAL) was also launched, as a partnership with the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and also NBA’s first collaboration to operate a league outside of North America.
- Fifty-five current NBA players are from Africa or have family ties there, Silver mentioned during the conference.