Europe has always been at the center of the NBA’s considerations, but for now it will have to settle for just one regular season game and a few special occasions, such as Luka Doncic’s return to Madrid. Mark Tatum, NBA deputy commissioner, shared his thoughts during a meeting with reporters in Madrid.
When asked about the idea of increasing the number of regular season games in Europe, Tatum replied: “Due to our busy schedule, finding space to travel to Europe requires a lot of adjustments.” A match creates an atmosphere similar to that of space Star Game. We could do more, but we have to balance the needs of European fans with those of the teams.”
Regarding the selection of cities for the games, Tatum said: “We need an arena that meets our needs. For this reason, London and Paris were chosen. But we are also exploring other markets such as Spain, Germany, Italy and Greece.”
Regarding the NBA expansion, Tatum said: “First of all, we have to renew the TV rights deal in the United States. Once this is done, we will evaluate the expansion. At the moment we are happy with the 30 teams we have, but expansion is a future possibility.”
On the idea of having teams outside the U.S., Tatum said, “North America is the starting point. Mexico City is the first choice. Expanding into Europe is a challenge due to the long travel times.”
Finally, Tatum said of the mid-season tournament: “We had to convince a lot of parts of the NBA, especially the players.” However, the group stage of the tournament is part of the regular season, which gives it a special meaning. The Final Four in Las Vegas will be a unique and new event. The players have understood the importance and we will do everything we can to make it a success.”