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Is tinkering with the game the best way to take basketball to emerging nations?

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Basketball is already a huge sport in the USA and in many European countries, but what can it do to grow its audiences and popularity around the world?

In 2022’s Commonwealth Games, they tried a 3×3 version of basketball, and it’s fair to say it went down okay.

The Commonwealth Games is contested by a lot of emerging sporting nations, so could 3×3 basketball be a way forward to create a new audience and grow the sport worldwide? And if so, what would it take to get this variation of the game up and running?

Creating Sponsorship Opportunities

Some of the countries where basketball is looking to grow already allow betting advertisements, so there is no problem in that department.

Signing a partnership deal with a sportsbook or live casino can open doors to creating a new 3×3 basketball competition for entertainment purposes. This in turn could lead to a live casino basketball game being developed. It works for other sports, like with Football Studio, a live casino game based around Dragon Tiger but with a sports theme. This game is available among other table game choices – like blackjack, roulette, or baccarat – at online casinos, showing there is a market for this type of thing. There are already basketball slots available to play online, too – there is no reason why there couldn’t be a branded one of these, either.

Getting 3×3 Basketball on Mainstream TV

Getting branded sponsorships can go hand in hand with TV deals. Take The Hundred, a new cricket competition in England. The Hundred is a shortened version of T20, instead of 120 balls in T20, The Hundred is just 100 balls. Yes, the clues in the name. But what shortening the game down to 100 balls achieved was getting matches shown live on terrestrial TV in the UK.

The shortened faster version of the game, like what 3×3 basketball is, was deemed to be more entertaining to the British audience and TV ratings than traditional cricket, and even T20! It also fitted into TV time schedules better.

In getting The Hundred on mainstream TV, cricket chiefs managed to get their sport out there to a new audience, and also made it far more attractive to sponsors considering getting involved in the game. Any brand wanting to get involved in basketball wants its logos and advertisements to be seen by as many eyes as possible, so tweaking the game in countries where basketball is struggling, to make it more appealing and entertaining could be worthwhile.

Conclusion

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Basketball might need to get on TV to attract sponsors. Or it could be that getting big sponsors involved tells TV bosses it’s a sport worth investing in.

Either way, looking at the way 3×3 basketball worked in the Commonwealth Games, and looking at how cricket chiefs in England have tried tinkering with the game is well worth investigating. The Hundred is promoted as much as a form of entertainment, than it is a sport. This could be the route basketball needs to follow in order to get more exposure.

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