Photo: FIBA.basketball

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the USA, with an average of 1.34 million viewers tuning in to each NBA game. The sport has never taken off in the same way in the UK, though. There is the British Basketball League, but it’s nowhere near the scale of the American offering.

It seems that basketball playing figures are on the decline in the UK too, with only 186,900 people playing it in 2021. In 2016, that figure was around the 325,000 mark. It’s clear that something needs to be done to boost the sport, and this could be achieved through the entertainment industry.

Online Bingo Sites Could Hold the Key

One of the best ways to market anything in the modern age is to develop representation in bustling industries. The more people see something, the more they are likely to want to explore it further. NBA betting is a prime example of an industry that’s blowing up, and the sites now have a multitude of slot games available to appeal to the masses. These include sports-themed options, such as Football Rules and Top Trumps Football Stars: Sporting Legends.

With many people in the UK playing at online bingo sites, basketball-themed games could get their attention and encourage them to learn more about the sport. They may at first search for other related games or activities about basketball, before going on to watch matches or play the game in real life. Of course, it would also require television networks to make basketball more accessible to people in the country.

More Investment into Basketball Leagues

Those who are interested in watching basketball in the UK usually have to watch matches from across the pond. The NBA is shown on Sky Sports, NOW TV, and NBA League Pass, but these games are often aired in the middle of the night in the UK. Sky Sports has committed to showing some British games now, and it has renewed its deal to transmit BBL matches for the last three years. This is a progressive step forward and one that could help a greater number of people discover the sport.

There’s no doubt that the BBL needs much higher levels of investment if it is to compete with the most popular sports in the country. Sport England has invested £20 million into the game since 2012, but it’s hardly a drop in the ocean when compared to the money that changes hands in football.

Part of the reason why football has grown so massive in the UK has been down to investment from private companies and sponsorships. If this could be encouraged more in basketball, the sport could potentially go the same way. The NBA is a massive earner in the USA, and surely UK firms would want to replicate that success.

It’s clear that a lot needs to happen before basketball can get big in the UK and challenge other sports. Entertainment could help, but widescale investment is what’s required. Basketball could do with more media attention as well, making it easier for fans to follow what’s going on.