The NBA will be returning to the UK later this year as Oklahoma City Thunder will be taking on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Manchester Arena on October 8.
It marks the first time the city of Manchester will host an NBA preseason game, part of the NBA’s wider global games schedule that will see eight teams take part in a total of eight games in six different countries throughout the month of October.
The announcement follows the multi-year partnership between the NBA, USA Basketball and Manchester City Council that was signed in 2011, which has already seen Team USA men’s and women’s teams face Great Britain in Manchester last year as preparation for the Olympics, and WNBA side Atlanta Dream take on GB Women in 2011.
The series of international games will also include the first-ever NBA preseason games to be held in Brazil and the Philippines, and Bilbao, Spain.
In addition to oncourt action, the NBA global games will feature a variety of events off the court, including NBA Cares community outreach activities and interactive fan events in each city. They will also be supported by a variety of marketing and promotional partners, and will be available to fans on television and through digital media.
“Providing fans with an authentic NBA experience is an important part of our efforts to grow the game globally,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “This fall, nearly a third of our teams will embark on a global tour that will celebrate the game of basketball, give our international fans a chance to connect with NBA teams and players, and leave a lasting impact in each of the communities we visit.”
The Philadelphia 76ers, whose current roster features 2013 NBA All-Star Jrue Holiday, previously played one game in Barcelona, Spain, and two games in Cologne, Germany in 2006. For the 2012 Western Conference Champion Thunder, whose roster includes four-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant and fellow 2012 Olympic Gold medalist Russell Westbrook, it is the franchise’s first game in Europe.
The NBA global games schedule tips off with three games in Europe in collaboration with long-time partner Euroleague Basketball that will feature the Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers. Oklahoma City will open the schedule in Istanbul, Turkey on Oct. 5 with a game against five-time Turkish champion Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul at the Ulker Sports Arena. Philadelphia will be the first NBA team to play in Bilbao when they take on EuroCup team Uxue Bilbao Basket on Oct. 6 at the Bizkaia Arena at the Bilbao Exhibition Center (BEC). The Thunder and 76ers complete their European schedule with the game on October 8 at the Manchester Arena.
The Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets will begin their preseason slate with a game in Manila, Philippines on Oct. 10 at the Mall of Asia Arena. The game will mark the first time an NBA team has travelled to the Philippines since the then-Washington Bullets played against a Philippine Basketball Association All-Star team in 1979. The Pacers and Rockets will then travel to Taipei for a game on Oct. 13 at the Taipei Arena, marking the second NBA game played in Taiwan.
The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards face each other on Oct. 12 in the first-ever NBA game in Brazil at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The game will be a homecoming for the Wizard’s Brazilian native Nenê.
The NBA global games will conclude with two games in China between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors. The teams will play on Oct. 15 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing, then travel to Shanghai for a game at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on Oct. 18.
Thoughts? Will you be getting tickets?!
Image Credit: NBAE/Getty Images
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