NBA and Basketball Globally
I was thinking of this in the context of numbers I heard about the NFL, MLB and the NBA last week.. The discussion turned to how the three were going to grow their businesses going forward. My thought is that the NBA actually has the clearest path forward.
The NFL has the whole concussion thing - causing parents to limit participation of their kids - and the game really isn't played anywhere else.
Baseball is already somewhat global, though only the Dutch play much of it in Europe. The big problem for them - the US market - is really gray for MLB. The average fan is something like 55. Baseball has never seemed to try and get international alliances right - look how foreign players are acquired or how MLB has no formal agreements with any of the offseason leagues.
The NBA, on the other hand, has been cooperating with internation BB organizations for more than 20 years and they have established a leadership role. They acquire foreign players in an orderly fashion and have cordial relationships with foreign leagues. They are also part of start up programs in places like India and Africa just like they were in China. As pro leagues form in these areas, expect an NBA logo somewhere in the vicinity.
Basically, I see the NBA and soccer being best positioned for growth moving forward - with the NBA expanding its influence in the rest of the world and European soccer leagues beginning to have more influence here. Both are simple games, easily organized, with few equipment requirements. Kids everywhere seem to flock to them (plus, they are games both men and women play, even if not against each other.)
I really like the idea that is floating that there might be mid season tournaments and they might involve European teams. It might not start out as the most interesting or even competitive idea, but it is the kind of thing that grows the game and evens the playing field. Remember how the US used to cream everyone in international ball. Introduce the pros and the fields has evened dramatically. I really think we are going to watch the NBA and global basketball take off in the next 10 years.