By Charlie Hackett
The National Basketball Association has constantly grown in revenue since its birth in 1946. It is now at an all-time popularity peak, and not just in the U.S. The NBA is increasingly growing in international coverage and attention partly due to the increase in number of international players entering the league. In the season of 91-92, the NBA featured only 23 international players from 18 countries. Now, recorded on opening day of this season, the international player numbers have skyrocketed to 108 players across 42 different countries.
So what? Well, due to this growth in international numbers, the television ratings for the NBA have stretched all across the world. The NBA finals have turned into a global event, which featured 265 journalists from 35 different countries during the 2017 year according to Kevin Wang, ESPN. As a matter of fact, I found my own self watching game 4 of the most recent finals in a hotel lobby in London, England, at 3:00 A.M. accompanied by a crowd of other tourists, most of which were European. That was the first time that I truly understood the global stretch of influence that the sport had.
I personally believe that this influence will flourish into the development of even more international revenue for the NBA, which will factor in to already growing profits.
Besides soccer (futbol), no other sport has such a wide global reach in both the USA and the rest of the world. And soccer, unlike basketball, is separated into many different popularity dominating leagues that split the global revenue. The NBA is the only major basketball league, taking in a total revenue of almost $5.3 billion in 16-17, with the next largest basketball league in the world taking in only $120 million in 14-15 (Basketball Bundesliga in Germany).
The NBA has the potential to pass the MLB as well as the economic giant that is the NFL in annual revenue. All three of these leagues have the same highest operating cost, which is the salaries of the players. Obviously, the NBA uses the least amount of personnel, which leads to a lower operating cost. This means that the NBA requires less money than the MLB and the NFL in order to make more profit.
While it may seem that the NBA is in a current distant third behind the NFL and the MLB among major American sports (Revenue: NFL-$13 billion, MLB-$9.5 billion, NBA-5.3 billion), none of these sports have the global potential that the NBA possesses, making it my choice for the future dominating sport across the globe.