Vivek Ranadive is already realizing his dream as the owner of the NBA‘s Sacramento Kings. Next up on his wishlist: a return to his native country with his new team in tow. It’s a promising sign for the Kings as they look to rebuild from the ashes of the Maloof era. The league has moved forward with plans to play a game in India in the near future. The Kings would most likely figure into any plans to play in the densely populated-nation. Owner Ranadive believes there is definitely interest for the NBA and his Kings.
"In India, there’s a billion people," Ranadive said. "When they have a cricket match, there’s 600 million people watching. If we got a small fraction of that, that would still be a very big number." He told reporters in Sacramento.
Those eyeballs and wallets are really what the NBA covets. Its no secret that David Stern and Ranadive are both looking to strengthen the brand of the NBA in a country that has seen very little of the league. That will change this year as the Kings’ home opener against the Denver Nuggets will be telecast in India. It’s a chance for the Kings to be embraced by a nation with a billion inhabitants.
The main obstacle that’s slowing down the momentum of the NBA in India is the lack of NBA-ready arenas in the country. The league looks like they’re locked in on their stance that no games will be played without a suitable arena. With Ranadive and his team already busy on current plans for a new arena in downtown Sacramento, it’s hard to fathom him ponying up for another — even in his homeland.
But, this move by the NBA proves they made a right move by keeping the Kings in Sacramento and voting Ranadive in as new owner. Ranadive will reward the NBA by opening up India as a new market for the NBA brand as it becomes ever-increasingly global in its reach.