NBA Asia exec: More than half of Filipinos are NBA fans

Luisa Morales –

November 17, 2022 | 10:12 a.m.

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines continues to be one of the NBA’s biggest markets outside of the United States, as data showed more than half of the country is following the league.

According to new NBA Asia general manager Ramez Sheikh, their data shows that there are more Filipino NBA fans than non-NBA fans, due to the country’s reputation as a basketball nut. -ball.

But Sheikh is not keen to rely solely on Filipinos’ innate love for the sport and the NBA, rather he wants to continue improving the league’s relationship with its fans in the country.

“Basketball is the number one sport in the Philippines. But I don’t take the fandom for granted. So that’s one of my priorities is to keep looking to nurture the basketball fandom. You know, think about ways to bring the NBA even closer to our fans,” Sheikh said during a media roundtable on Wednesday.

“There’s, according to our data, our research, 55% of the country are NBA fans. That means 45% aren’t. So our challenge, a good one, is that we can grow. That’s so my first priority in the Philippines, really nurturing that fanbase.” he added.

The NBA has been connecting Filipinos to the game with events, activations and partnerships that bring the league closer to the Philippines.

Earlier this year, the NBA Store physically returned to the country by re-opening its doors at SM Megamall in Ortigas. The recently launched NBA app, meanwhile, offers a personalized and local view of games and other content for Filipino fans.

Bringing these kinds of experiences to the Filipinos, including the possibility of hosting the NBA World Games again here in Manila in the near future, will be the secret to keeping the fan base happy according to Sheikh.

“Overall, I think it’s also about the same philosophy that we should always honor, respect fandom, and how can we continue to do that in our many different countries.” says Sheikh.

He also said he plans to deepen more partnerships with local companies such as Smart, Cignal and Titan.

“Partnerships [are also] really important, both here in the Philippines and in Asia-Pacific. Having the right partner, having innovative partners looking to be bold and ambitious is really important,” he said.

Sheikh is currently making his first trip to the country as the general manager of NBA Asia. He took over the reins from longtime alumnus Scott Levy.

One of his goals in the Philippines is to meet with members of the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas to hopefully lay out plans to help the country stage the FIBA ​​Basketball World Cup 2023 next year, at which more than a handful of NBA players are expected to participate.

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