Basketball beyond borders: NBA's 2024 blueprint for India: Rajah Chaudhry

Basketball beyond borders: NBA's 2024 blueprint for India: Rajah Chaudhry

Our aim is to grow basketball in the country and enhance fan engagement through 2024 and beyond.

Rajah Chaudhry

Mumbai: The 2022-23 NBA season was the league’s most-watched ever in India.  A record 111M plus fans consumed some form of NBA, WNBA or G League content on our broadcast partners Viacom18 and Prasar Bharati. Our localized social media channels also continued to grow, generating +100 per cent impressions and +210 per cent engagement last season as compared to 2021-22.

We concluded the 10th edition of the Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program a few months ago, which saw participation from close to 7000 kids and 600+ schools.  Overall, our grassroots programs have now reached over 11 million kids in India and our youth development programs have produced 20 U.S. high school and college scholarships for male and female players/prospects from India, including 3 Division 1 school scholarships.  

We produced a variety of original, localized content to engage fans including This is Basketball starring NBA Brand Ambassador for India Ranveer Singh, which showcases the diversity of the basketball community in India.  On the gaming front, through our association with Loco to stream NBA 2K League games in India, we’ve witnessed an encouraging year-over-year increase in viewership.  The total views for the last season reached 3.8M plus, registering a 3.7x growth in unique live viewers compared to the previous year.  Additionally, with India being one of the fastest growing markets in the world for fantasy gaming, bolstering our presence in this space has been a key focus for us over the last few years.  Our extended association with Dream11 for them to continue as an official fantasy gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA in the country is a step in this direction.

We’re also witnessing a growing demand for NBA-branded products in India.  To expand our reach, presence, and distribution across the country this year, we recently announced a multiyear collaboration with Bhaane, for them to launch and operate  The online store offers the most comprehensive selection of official NBA merchandise ever available in the country.  We also expanded our existing merchandising partnership with Suditi that will see them create and distribute more officially licensed NBA fanwear in India, available through and at select offline and online retail channels across the country.

Overall, we know there’s a lot more to do, but we’re proud of the progress we’ve made so far and excited about the future of basketball and the NBA in India.

What can be expected from the League in the upcoming year

The 2023-24 NBA season promises to be an exciting one for everyone.  We recently concluded our inaugural In-Season Tournament, a new annual competition that’s been introduced to provide all 30 teams with another opportunity to win, engage fans in a new way and drive additional interest in the early portion of the regular-season schedule.  And the response we’ve received has been truly encouraging.  

From an Indian standpoint, all our endeavors, be it grassroots initiatives, expanding the availability of NBA games and programming, bolstering our presence in the lifestyle space or delivering authentic experiences, are centered on fostering basketball's growth in the country, and adapting to what our fans need and want.  We will continue to prioritize this in 2024.

We strongly believe it is important to get kids playing and learning from sport at a young age, and we are seeing more and more youth interested in playing basketball.  Hence, our youth basketball development programs have been and will continue to be critical to our long-term growth in India.  We will continue to bolster the structured pathway we’ve built for young boys and girls in India over the last decade to learn the game and maximize their potential.  Additionally, as with all our international basketball development programming, we are constantly evaluating how we can best support aspiring players and their needs in the regions where they play.  Therefore, we will be expanding our elite basketball development efforts in India from a single residential academy to a scalable model that focuses on providing NBA-trained coaching and development opportunities that will reach a wider group of players across the country.  We will share more information as those plans are finalized.

We are also transforming the way fans experience the NBA, offering them multiple touchpoints to connect with the brand. Therefore, going beyond live games, we will continue producing a variety of original, localized content, expanding our presence in the esports and fantasy gaming space, and bolstering our merchandising efforts, to offer a multifaceted and immersive NBA experience.

Lastly, we’re also looking to continue building a community of fans who connect and share their passion for the sport both on and off the court, and grow NBA Style, our lifestyle-focused Instagram platform which showcases the many ways that the league and its players influence and are influenced by music, fashion, art and entertainment.  

It’s been a great start to the season, and we have an exciting calendar of initiatives that we’ll announce in the coming months. Our aim is to continue growing basketball in the country and pushing the boundaries of fans engagement through 2024 and beyond.