The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) today announced a groundbreaking multiyear partnership to host the first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The preseason NBA games in Abu Dhabi beginning in 2022 will mark the first games between two NBA teams in the Arabian Gulf.
The partnership will see DCT Abu Dhabi, under “Visit Abu Dhabi,” the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital city, serve as the Official Tourism Destination Partner of the NBA in China, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
Abu Dhabi will host preseason NBA games beginning with two games in October 2022. The participating teams and host venue will be announced at a later date.
The partnership will also include a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues for boys and girls at schools across the UAE fostering teamwork and inclusion, a series of NBA Fit Clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.
HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman at DCT Abu Dhabi, said, “Today’s announcement further demonstrates the emirate’s position as a top-tier home for global sports and for attracting the very best talent. As Abu Dhabi is committed to further developing as a dynamic global destination, adding the NBA to our impressive year-round portfolio of sports and entertainment events, only reinforces the UAE capital’s standing as a centre of sporting excellence. We look forward to the NBA playing an integral role in developing young talent and healthy lifestyles at grassroots level – the heart of the UAE’s strategy, which places great emphasis on empowering youth and building a sustainable future for the nation and future generations.”
“As we celebrate the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Season, partnering with DCT Abu Dhabi to bring the first NBA and NBA 2K League games and events to the UAE marks an important milestone in basketball’s continued global growth,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. “Abu Dhabi is a vibrant multicultural hub with a demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events, and this partnership will not only bring the live NBA and NBA 2K League experience to fans in the Middle East, but it will also create opportunities for boys and girls to learn the fundamentals and core values of the game through a variety of grassroots programming and fan events.”
During the 2021-22 NBA season, NBA games and programming will reach fans in 11 countries across the Middle East. Fans in the Middle East can access extensive video highlights, news, stats, scores and original digital content in Arabic on the NBA’s official online destination. Fans in the region can also watch every NBA game live and on demand on NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service.
Abu Dhabi has consistently demonstrated its capabilities in hosting world-class sporting events. Pioneering initiatives such as DCT Abu Dhabi’s “Go Safe Certification” highlight the city’s unwavering commitment to the community and visitors’ health and safety, while enabling it to continue to hold the best of live sporting events.