Professional sports are one of the main drivers of profit and innovation within the gambling sector. Although some sports in America are more America-centric, NBA doesn't fit into this category. Basketball has immense popularity in multiple countries worldwide, which is evident given the scope of nationalities currently playing in the NBA. Many of the league's top players are from Europe, and the NBA can broadcast highlights of games to a broader global audience thanks to pioneering websites like YouTube.
YouTube has also facilitated the rise of organic fan pages that will provide their own detailed opinions, journalism, and analysis of games - so the landscape of NBA journalism and the media coverage that underpins it has changed immeasurably over the last 20 years because of the internet. Gambling, of course, has come into a life of its own thanks to the post-Millennia digital technological boom, and in 2023, these industries continue to interlock, and the internet continues to drive change, profit, and innovation.
NBA - More Global Stars Than Ever Before?
In the 1990s, a handful of international players could perform to the elite standard of American basketballers; it wouldn't take long to name them. However, the modern-day NBA has world-class players from Greece, Serbia, France, and Australia - and the league is becoming more global season after season. Ben Simmons is the biggest name in the NBA from down under, and the Melbourne-born talent is a 3-time NBA All-Star. The exposure to gambling markets in other countries where basketball isn't as popular is helping generate even more interest.
Simmons himself is partial to gambling, and it's something that he enjoys in his spare time. In 2019, he ran into difficulty in an Australian casino when he accused the establishment of nefarious practices as he tried to enter. The issue was later resolved, and Simmons continues to frequent casinos in America and Australia. However, this landscape is also beginning to change, with more people beginning to gamble online. A bill is being discussed to legalize online casino gaming in New York, where Ben plies his trade as a point guard for the Brooklyn Nets. Back in his homeland, a live casino in Australia is much easier to find. Due to the lucid regulations down under, online casinos are starting to develop a much larger customer base.
Gambling is becoming a big business in America, though, and since 2018, over a dozen states have legalized online gambling, whether online casino gaming or sports betting. This number will likely continue growing as we progress throughout this decade, with several economists and analysts highlighting the sector as one of the strongest for growth, given how much room it has to expand.
The emergence of the once-in-a-generation talent of Victor Wembanyama has a lot of people discussing just how much quality there is in leagues outside of America. Because of this global reach, media coverage, and journalism, the NBA is joining the ranks with other international, truly global sports like boxing and soccer.
How Is Gambling Impacting The NBA?
Profit is the aim of the game in any business. Although the NBA is a professional sports body, its primary goal is to create a successful and profitable organization. Of course, the NBA is a highly profitable sports league with millions of fans worldwide. It is a well-oiled machine and continues to thrive by striking up the right sponsorships and endorsements with global brands, gambling is set to become the next industry that will benefit from this global visibility and lucrative connection with the world's most elite basketball league.
As sports betting becomes legal in more American states, and the doors will open for players and teams to have gambling sponsors, this will bring vast sums of money into the industry. It is comparable to soccer, particularly the English Premier League, which has dozens of different gambling sponsors, and the industry generates billions of pounds in revenue annually.
While there has been a shift away from this recently, with the 20 teams in the league voting to curtail some of these sponsorships, as they are starting to monopolize the league, this gives some indication as to how much it could impact the NBA within the next five to ten years. NBA bosses will be keen to strike a balance, and the regulation that has recently come into force regarding gambling has been fair and firm. Bosses within the organization will aim to find a middle ground where gambling companies can sponsor these companies, but it doesn't stifle competition for other sectors.
While gambling might be making huge strides over the last half-decade, both socially and economically, it feels like we are at the precipice of something huge. Over the next few years, gambling sponsors will become second nature in the NBA, which will have a seismic impact on media coverage and will permeate sponsorships, endorsements with players and teams, and how the media cover the sector. So while the impact might be relatively small, expect this to gather momentum throughout the rest of this decade.