Australia Eyeing for NBA and NFL Regular Seasons

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By Dhrubajyoti Biswas | March 18, 2014 12:53 PM EST

NBA and NFL lovers of Australia may soon see regular-season fixtures. But that depends upon the success rate on the upcoming games at the Sydney Cricket Ground. 

The vice president of MLB's international business operations, Paul Archey, is confident of the fact that United States is definitely keen to put Australia under regular fixture as they are planning to expand the region to make it more successful.

Speaking about this matter, Archey said, "There's no question about it - we all look at each other and every time you do something out of the norm you take special interest..."

"I watch what they [NBA and NFL] do and I have no doubt they'll be watching what we do here in Australia. They'll look at it and see 80,000 people attending games here on Saturday and Sunday and see that it works."

"I had a conversation with a couple of people about it. This is an interesting market for all of us. There are a lot of sports fans here and a lot of American sports fans here. I think they'd probably wish us a lot of success. When American sports go internationally, sometimes we feed off each other. If it's not successful that will make a difference in their minds. But if it is successful, they'll probably consider coming here."

Australia has always been a keen observer of NBA and NFL and even internationally ranked No 1 for maximum number of sales via NBA Web site and NBA League Pass subscriptions.

In addition, there are four Australians who are currently playing for NBA. They are: Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland), Patty Mills and Aron Baynes (San Antonio), Andrew Bogut (Golden State).

NBA have also performed in exhibition matches in Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Brazil and England for the last 12 months with teams like Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards - all have been a part of the global promotion tour.

According to an NBA spokesperson, "There is tremendous interest from communities all over the world to host NBA games...."

"Australia is an important market for us, and Sydney is a world-class city. We have a great following from Australian fans, as evidenced by the fact that Australia ranks first internationally in both NBA league pass subscriptions and NBAstore.com sales."

"The NBA has been operating in Australia for decades and we're well aware of the country's ability to host world-class sporting events. We expect the MLB game to be highly produced and very successful and we wish New South Wales and the MLB all the best with their game. As mentioned, however, there has always been tremendous interest from communities all over the world to host NBA games and we will continue to consider games as part of our overall marketing and basketball development programs."

However, the long distance travel for players and the difference of time zone may pose at issue for the broadcasters in United States.

The Saturday night's Major Baseball series opener at SCG will be shown live at United States. Archey clearly confirmed that the viewer's ratings back at United States will not affect the idea of Australia as a key competitor for regular seasons.

Archey said, "We don't play these games for the reaction back home, otherwise we wouldn't do it...."

"The success of it will be judged by the impact here and the exposure for the game. Does it give baseball a boost? Does it energise some potential business partners? Does it energise a fan base by introducing them to the game? Some of the impact you won't know for several years. But it's more important to us that we have strong ratings here in Australia on Channel Nine than back home."

"We definitely hope to be coming back. We wouldn't be coming here and playing this if we thought we were never coming back. I don't know if that's on annual basis, but we want to come back. We play in Japan every four years, but we'll evaluate it after Sunday."

Clayton Kershaw, the LA Dodgers pitcher will be heading the act in Sydney at 10 am on Tuesday morning.

Clayton before flying to Australia said to LA Times, "It was a weird spring...."

"We practised a lot, but as far as actual game action, there wasn't a tonne. It kind of dragged on a little bit there". 

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