The NBA to take over the continent of Africa

SPORT BUSINESS OBSERVATORY – Thanks to its providential star Mr Stephen Curry, the Golden States Warriors won the 2022 NBA title. What if, thanks to Joel Embiid, France became Olympic champion in 2024? So far, the Cameroonian NBA superstar has taken administrative steps to be selected for the Blues. The Sixers pivot case raises the question of the development of basketball in Africa, a continent full of talent and fans, 2 key elements and much more (finally) that the NBA is considering.

Félix Indaye is a retired professional basketball player who joined the ranks of the American university championship, graduated with a Master 2 in Sports offer Marketing and a Bachelor in International Commerce, he is a specialist in the commercial exploitation of jock products. Article written in collaboration with Damien Conrad, Aymeric Mercier and Antoine Frisch, ISEM students | Kedge BS.

In 2019, the Basketball Africa League (BAL) was created in collaboration with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The competition is divided between 12 teams from 12 different countries divided into 2 conferences (Sahara and Nile), which resemble the American system. At the end of these 2 competitions, the 4 best teams of each conference compete during the Final Four in Kigali, Rwanda.

An NBA interest in the African continent that goes beyond the field

With 73.2% of African-American players on franchise lists in 2021/22, the potential “ talent of Africa appears as sporting evidence. The question has long been whether this region can be an axis of economic development.

Part of African-American players in North American franchises by sport. Statistics

In fact, the continent has recently leveraged its resources and foreign investment to become an attractive market. In recent years, a diversified economy has allowed the emergence of the middle class, thus stimulating the demand for consumer products, services and luxury branded products. Rising consumer demand, along with nearly 8% annual growth, boosted Africa’s GDP by approximately US $ 1.1 billion in 2019. However, some risks remain, such as lack of infrastructure, poor governance, uncertainty. security and unreliable logistics. Fortunately, conflicts are more localized, democracy is well established in some regions and a positive and dominant trend is emerging.

Consumption capacity in Africa rests on five main pillars: rising middle class, population growth, youth dominance, rapid urbanization, and rapid adoption of digital technologies. According to the French Development Agency, by 2050, Africa will have nearly 2.4 billion inhabitants, half of whom will be under 25 years old. African youth, a large part of the emerging middle class, will seek more food choices, consumer products and leisure as well as more connectivity.

The evolution of the GDP of the richest country in Africa. Statistics

According to a World Bank study, the sports industry should experience growth of more than 5% in the medium term and young people are at the heart of this dynamic. Another consulting firm, IEG, points out that the NBA generally achieves revenues of more than $ 8 billion a year, where viewers enjoy a combination of sports, fashion and music. In the world’s largest free trade area, the African continent is embarking on a radical new path of development that will be able to take advantage of the potential of sport, which now represents 2% of world GDP, and only 0.5% of Africa.

For more than 10 years, Africa has been building halls capable of accommodating thousands of spectators, especially in Egypt with the Cairo Stadium (16,000 seats), in Senegal with the Dakar Arena (15,000 seats), in Angola with the Kilamba Arena (12,000 seats) or in Rwanda with the Kigali Arena (10,000 seats). “ These rooms will clearly be used to host the BAL competition in the coming years, and even some transportation infrastructure is being prepared to connect these different countries to facilitate access to the competition for to the viewers. “said Edwin Eslem, director of communications at NBA Africa.

The Dakar Arena has a capacity of 15,000 seats. BOLA

In addition to these new infrastructures, Aïcha Diop, Marketing Director of the Basketball Africa League explained that around the stadiums, “ there are spaces to set up a fan zone, with a stage where performers perform daily. And if you’re not an actress, you can go to school, or meeting with celebrities “.

In 2021 in an interview, BAL president Amadou Gallo Fall explained to us, how basketball is a vector of economic development for Africa. “This is important to maintain the Basketball Africa League project. If we believe in the entertainment product, we also believe in the impact this league will have on the sport ecosystem in Africa. We want to create a basketball industry that brings jobs, especially through infrastructures and venues like Dakar Arena, Kigali Arena or Kilamba Arena. Many activities will develop around these basketball games and sectors such as catering, hotels, transportation, security, media and logistics will benefit. It is also the opportunity to show another face of Africa.»

4 strategic pillars to build an African elite

BAL’s ambition has created the conditions for the emergence of a sustainable basketball economy. To ensure its success, it is important to develop talents made in africa »By supporting African federations in their professionalization, by collaborating with governments (infrastructure, reforms, etc.) and by attracting key partners (companies, media, agencies, foundations) , etc.). In order to affirm its ambitions and accomplish them, the objectives of BAL can be grouped into four axes, as follows;

Clearly, sports development is the most legitimate. In fact, FIBA ​​Africa has always invested in the core development of Basketball by establishing processes and foundations that now allow the NBA to build simpler. The role of federations is to create a stable ecosystem, allowing local players to thrive and thrive in their country. Creating competitive and professional competition, building local federations, improving the ecosystem and retaining talent in Africa, these are the main axes of their strategy.

It is also a socio-cultural development, including, for example, partnering with AFD that will use basketball to defend social development on the African continent, in favor of poor communities. As part of AFD’s support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this partnership aims to promote access to education, well -being and inclusion for girls and women at all levels of society.

But as well as the development of BAL’s reputation as a major international basketball league. BAL tends to establish NBA culture in Africa after covering Asia and Europe. This process notably involves multiple sponsors such as Jordan or the Nike brand and the involvement of opinion leaders such as former US President Barack Obama.

Finally, progress economy with the infrastructure already in place, the stadiums and halls are intended to be sports venues for their resident clubs as well as for major sporting events. They can also host a wide range of non-sporting events depending on their configuration (surface of the playing area), their modularity, their additional spaces and prior configurations. According to Julien Lepron, customer experience and site consultant, eight major revenue sources enable venues to maximize their activities: ticketing, hospitality, merchandising, snacking, sponsorship, service, non-match stadium activities, leisure activities . Around revenue sources, there is skills development and therefore the training of local executives.

In addition, it is important for BAL to build its partnerships around activations that highlight their partners to the public. “ For each partner, we always do an event, it is not a simple event where people meet to talk, the goal is to set up activities that are aligned with the goals of the partners explained Aïcha Diop.

Therefore, Africa is a strategic and reasonable choice for the NBA, which is betting on a continent with full economic expansion, new and evolving infrastructures, as well as a young, dynamic and growing middle class population that will be center of interest in basketball, vector of socio-economic development. BAL’s ambition is therefore to see more than just basketball with a strong extra-sports vision, and we can imagine that this will be a great success because their strategy and their goals are developed by the best players. in the market.

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