Last season was the most viewed NBA season in India: Mark Tatum - Hindustan Times

Last season was the most viewed NBA season in India: Mark Tatum

Feb 15, 2024 11:41 PM IST

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the 2022-23 garnered over 100 million unique viewers in India across linear, social media and digital media platforms.

NBA, the world’s premier professional basketball league, has always considered India as an important market, trying to push the brand deeper into the country. And with some success.

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the 2022-23 garnered over 100 million unique viewers in India
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said the 2022-23 garnered over 100 million unique viewers in India

"Our games are widely distributed and available with our partners in India. Last season was the most viewed season in India surpassing 100 million unique viewers across linear, social media and digital media platforms for the first time ever. Our games are available in Hindi as well with our partners," NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said over a video call from Indianapolis.

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“We are doing a ton in India. It is the most populous country in the world right now as we all know. We are trying to do more grassroots programmes, some more junior NBA programmes for example. We work with the Reliance Foundation on our NBA junior programme to get more boys and girls playing the game of basketball there. We have NBA basketball schools in India as well.”

Tatum, who also doubles up as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of NBA, said they are constantly in the process of increasing fan engagement in India, which also hosted two international pre-season games between Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings in Mumbai in 2019.

Ever since becoming deputy commissioner and COO in 2014, Tatum helped in bringing the NBA to India and also helped set up the NBA Academy India in 2016 in Greater Noida.

“We are really consistent with our strategy around the game overall which is to get more people to play the game of basketball through these junior NBA programmes, making sure our content is available in local languages and widely available to as many fans as possible. Those are the things we are doing in India to grow the game," said Tatum.

Tatum is currently in Indianapolis for the NBA All-Star Game that will be played on Sunday. The contest is an exhibition hosted every February, showcasing 24 of the league's top players. This year's All-Star Game will feature the return of the Eastern Conference versus Western Conference format that was last used in 2017.

“After last year's All-Star Game, some of the feedback we heard from fans and players is that it was not very competitive. We don't want anyone getting hurt but we want it to be a competitive game because that's what fans tune in to see – the best players in the world playing and competing,” said Tatum, who joined the NBA in 1999.

Earlier, All-Star Games had teams named after their respective captains. For example, 2023 saw Team Giannis defeat Team LeBron 184-175 at Salt Lake City.

“We immediately started having conversations with the players. Those who participated understood that it got a little bit out of hand and that we needed to get back to a more competitive game. Their feedback was that they want to treat it like a game but half-time showed that they were not in game mode because we took too long for intros, for half-time, for picks," said Tatum.

“Teams didn't know who they were playing with until five minutes before the picks. Going back to East vs West you know who your teammates are, you practice with your teammates on Saturday, get to build that bond. We are going to change the timings of the game to make it reflect more like a regular season game. That will help the mindset of the players going into Sunday’s game.”

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    From badminton to cricket, Sandip Sikdar writes on many sporting disciplines. He has the experience of working in digital, news agency as well as print organisations. Motorsport remains his first love.

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