Christmas with the NBA, global impact on audiences

In addition to having turkey for dinner, Christmas It has become a tradition to live a day of five consecutive NBA games. Under this scheme, the league of the best basketball in the world has converted the Christmas Day as one of its most important assets in its global strategy, highlighting the impact it has had in markets such as Europe, the Middle East and Mexico.

Since 2008, the NBA has held five games every December 25, knowing that it can take advantage of the fact that there are few entertainment and sports possibilities for spectators. This is how that date has become the one with the highest impact of audiences of the season in Italy, France, Brazil and Canada in the last two years.

“The NBA has used the day of Christmas as a great pillar of its international outreach efforts for decades. In fact, for a long time I can’t recall a time when the league wasn’t using the holidays as a real mechanism to expand its reach, ”says Matt Brabants, NBA senior vice president and head of international content associations, at interview with Sportico.

Another of the markets with an impact is Mexico. According to NBA Mexico figures provided to this newspaper, the audience of the Christmas Day increased 23% in national territory from 2019 to 2020, which is the latest antecedent, and in which stellar games such as the Bucks against Warriors or the Lakers against Mavericks were presented.

In addition, also within the current 2021-22 season, the average audience of the NBA in Mexico (through the ESPN network) registers a 7.6% year-on-year increase in the face of Christmas Day. For this year, two basketball players with Mexican roots could see each other and add another attraction to this market: Juan Toscano and Devin Booker, who will meet in the Golden State Warriors against the Phoenix Suns at 4:00 p.m. Central time.

“Watching the NBA on Christmas Day with friends and family is an annual tradition for basketball fans around the world, including here in Mexico. We look forward to transmitting another exciting list of matches this year, as our goal is to continue bringing fans across the country closer to their favorite teams and players, ”said Raúl Zárraga, vice president and general manager of NBA Mexico, to The Economist.

Along with the Warriors-Suns duel, Knicks vs. Hawks, Bucks vs. Celtics, Lakers vs. Nets, and Jazz vs. Mavericks will also be seen. According to NBA Mexico reports, half of these teams are in the top 10 of the most popular for generation Z in the country (Lakers, Warriors, Celtics, Nets and Mavericks, in order of popularity).

One of the biggest strategies for Christmas Day is that by scheduling the five games at different times, the NBA can reach more markets during primetime, which is typically a hindrance for audiences in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region. that on other days of the regular season they must watch the games at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning of their local time.

The NBA is also confident that the presence of renowned international players at Christmas Day games will attract audiences from their respective nations, such as Giannis Antetokounmpo in Greece (Milwaukee Bucks), Rudy Gobert in France (Utah Jazz) or Juan Toscano-Anderson in Mexico (Golden State Warriors).

According to figures from the league itself, changes in the schedule have allowed an increase in audiences of 20% in Europe during the last seven years, while in the 2019-20 season the increase was 23% year-on-year throughout the Europe region. -Middle East-Africa.

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