NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is still on board with plans laid out by his predecessor David Stern more than a decade ago that would see the league have a European Division. But establishing a Euro Zone for the NBA may have gotten more difficult with the fall of the Euro and the election of a new government in Greece.
I’m Evan Weiner with the Politics of Sports Business.
David Stern’s goal of establishing a Euro Zone by 2010 never came to pass. Europe didn’t have North American style arenas and there was a question about the cost of tickets. The league does send teams to play pre-season games on the continent and has held games in London. London and Berlin might be set for a franchise but to make the Euro Zone really viable two other franchises are needed. Paris could be a spot and Barcelona might make sense. But Barcelona brings a basket load of problems for the league. Spain has a general election scheduled for December and the country’s economy is in tough shape. The Barcelona area may also want to eventually break away from the rest of the county.
The Euro’s plunge to $1.12 versus the US Dollar is a major swing from the days when the Euro could fetch more than a $1.40 US. But the Euro could slide even more after Sunday’s general election in Greece which brought a left of center coalition together to run the country. Greece, a member of the Euro Zone, is a country in great debt and lots of the money is owed to Germany. The Germans want their money but the new government wants the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund dropped. Those factors are beyond Silver and the NBA’s control. While Europe is an enticing market for the NBA, geopolitical forces may delay the NBA’s plan to start a Euro Zone for years. Until the economy stabilizes, the NBA may just continue to do what it has done for years. Just send teams over for the pre-season and play some games in various cities in Europe and a few regular season games in London as well.
This article was republished with permission from Evan Weiner, the original author and publisher.