Planning for the Global Basketball Court

Your media partners would love this initiative. A global slate worth of pickup games all connected to each other could produce a great deal of information, which could be broken down and viewed by consumers in many different ways. Kids (and adults) would send video emails to others playing around the globe. The event itself would be worthy of at least a three-part documentary mini-series recounting the event from locales around the world, which could be then be distributed globally.

Your technology partners would also love this initiative. The hardware and software required to link all of these games together, while technologically not sophisticated, is a superior branding opportunity for a global player in the computer industry. As ever more markets around the world join the global network, your partners could benefit greatly by being affiliated with this event.

It is a win-win situation for the NBA to promote this strongly and get as many communities involved: on the one hand, the NBA increases the talent level of basketball around the world, generates revenues for local basketball interests, and unites a million basketball enthusiasts for one big decentralized exhibition game; on the other hand, as the NBA becomes increasingly successful at the above, the greater its financial returns for the event become as well.

Basically, the NBA would sell franchises to sites around the world to become part of this event. The minimal franchise fee would include national marketing support, the software necessary to run the event, and a detailed event management manual. The individual sites (likely operated by local basketball organizations) would be allowed to keep what they can make locally from registrations and local corporate sponsors, which would keep capital within the communities in order to continue building the basketball infrastructure worldwide. The NBA would generate their profit from franchise fees, the national/global advertising revenue, and the syndication and rights fees for all information generated by the event.

This is an opportunity to stage an event that within 10 years could be bigger than the Olympics, World Cup and Commonwealth Games combined — in terms of the number of participants. Despite its current greater popularity, FIFA could never pull this off. Football is a brilliant game, but the event would lack a little when the global scoreboard read 17-14 on Sunday evening. Precisely because of the high-scoring nature of basketball, participants would get a better sense of the global scope of the event — the strange blend of immensity and intimacy as the baskets accumulated over the course of the weekend. With so many players involved, the odds of winning would basically be left to chance, so participants would simply be able to enjoy the communal experience of pickup ball.

Imagine: a global holiday weekend of basketball — one that helped build the sport's infrastructure around the world as well.

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