The big NBA show arrives for the first time in Paris with a regular season match between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets on Friday (9:00 p.m.) in Bercy, an event that aroused extraordinary enthusiasm among basketball fans.
More than 100,000 of them requested a ticket, with around 15,000 available, most of them at very high prices. If prices started at 65 euros, for a place under the roof, during the presale in the fall, there was nothing less than 315 euros during the January session.
It must be said that the French are lucky, since they welcome the best current team in the NBA, the Milwaukee "Deer", which gallop at the head in mid-season with 39 victories and 6 defeats, and one superstars of the game, the Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo, crowned MVP (best player) last year.
Charlotte's "Hornets" fly lower (15 wins, 30 losses) and would have inspired more enthusiasm if Tony Parker still wore the jersey as last year. But French supporters will be able to encourage one of their own, Nicolas Batum, who is having a difficult season.
- France, large market -
This meeting is the first real NBA match organized in France, that is to say in the regular season, as opposed to those of preseason, therefore friendly, which have already taken place there. Yet sportingly, there is nothing decisive. It is a match like any other among the 82 played by each of the 30 franchises, not counting the play-offs. It is on the marketing and business side that the challenges lie for a long-standing league in search of international development and for sponsors anxious to increase their shares.
One of the main stakeholders is none other than the greatest basketball player in history, Michael Jordan, owner of a brand of shoes and various sports equipment bearing his name (but associated with Nike, the official supplier of jerseys of the NBA), and also the owner of the Charlotte Hornets which he bought ten years ago. The living legend is expected in the stands of Bercy for this event which also promises to be very "people". "Michael wanted to return to Paris where he was immensely popular as a player," said Silver.
- After nine years in London -
After nine years in London, it is therefore Paris and the French market, the second in Europe in number of League Pass subscriptions which now allows you to follow matches on the internet, which has the privilege of being the new target of the great league. And the NBA is here to stay. The agreement is even already signed for a new match next January. "We will be in Paris for many years," said the "commissioner", who hopes, in a few years, to be able to include several matches abroad.
Parisians will therefore be entitled to an American-style sports spectacle, "with a strong component of + entertainment", dixit Silver, its light shows, its dancers, its mascots and all kinds of entertainment. A style that has long inspired organizers around the world. "On top of that, the game is also special, usually very fast, with big scores and some of the best athletes in the world, almost superheroes!", Continues Silver.
On the side of French leaders, we see only positive, even if the event highlights the chasm of popularity that separates the two sneakers. "The NBA can not hurt basketball. It is a successful model and as they are very kind to us, we would be silly not to argue with them," said Alain Béral, president the National Basketball League (LNB).
© 2020 AFP