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NBA and Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi Announce Multiyear Partnership to Host First NBA Games in the United Arab Emirates

By APO Group
16 November 2021   |   6:00 pm
Groundbreaking Partnership Marks First NBA ( Games in the Arabian Gulf; partnership Also Includes Fan Events, Jr. NBA Leagues for Boys and Girls, NBA Fit Clinics and NBA 2K League Events Beginning in 2022. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) today announced a groundbreaking…
National Basketball Association (NBA)

Groundbreaking Partnership Marks First NBA ( Games in the Arabian Gulf; partnership Also Includes Fan Events, Jr. NBA Leagues for Boys and Girls, NBA Fit Clinics and NBA 2K League Events Beginning in 2022.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) today announced a groundbreaking multiyear partnership to host the first NBA games in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).  

The two NBA preseason games in Abu Dhabi in October 2022 will mark the league’s first games in the Arabian Gulf.  The participating teams and host venue will be announced at a later date.  Fans can register their interest in receiving more information by visiting

The partnership will see DCT Abu Dhabi, under “Visit Abu Dhabi,” the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital city, serve as the Official Tourism Destination Partner of the NBA in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China.

The partnership will also include a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues for boys and girls at schools across the UAE fostering teamwork and inclusion, a series of NBA FIT Clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event.

“Today’s announcement further demonstrates the emirate’s position as a top-tier home for global sports and for attracting the very best talent,” said DCT Abu Dhabi Chairman HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak.  “As Abu Dhabi is committed to further developing as a dynamic global destination, adding the NBA to our impressive year-round portfolio of sports and entertainment events only reinforces the UAE capital’s standing as a centre of sporting excellence.  We look forward to the NBA playing an integral role in developing young talent and healthy lifestyles at the grassroots level – the heart of the UAE’s strategy – which places great emphasis on empowering youth and building a sustainable future for the nation and future generations.”

“As we celebrate the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Season, partnering with DCT Abu Dhabi to bring the first NBA and NBA 2K League games and events to the UAE marks an important milestone in basketball’s continued global growth,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.  “Abu Dhabi is a vibrant multicultural hub with a demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events, and this partnership will not only bring the live NBA and NBA 2K League experience to fans in the Middle East, but it will also create opportunities for boys and girls to learn the fundamentals and core values of the game through a variety of grassroots programming and fan events.”

NBA games and programming reach fans in the Middle East on beIN SPORTS, The Sports Channel and NBA League Pass, the league’s premium live game subscription service.  More than 220 male and female prospects from the region – including five players from the UAE – have participated in Basketball Without Borders (BWB) or NBA Academy, the league’s elite basketball development programs for top prospects from outside the U.S.  Since 2019, more than 500 boys and girls have participated in the NBA Basketball School Dubai (UAE), a year-round, tuition-based basketball development program for boys and girls ages 6-18. 

Abu Dhabi has consistently demonstrated its capabilities in hosting world-class sporting events.  Pioneering initiatives such as DCT Abu Dhabi’s “Go Safe Certification” highlight the city’s unwavering commitment to the community and visitors’ health and safety, while enabling it to continue to hold the best of live sporting events.  For more information about Abu Dhabi, please visit:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of National Basketball Association (NBA).

Media Contacts:
Tom Marchesi, NBA EME Communications,, +44 751-518-6830
Reem Diab, BCW, +971557026267

About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi:
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organisations that define the Emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the Emirate’s potential, to coordinate effort and investment, to deliver innovative solutions, and to use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture and tourism industries.

DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the Emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought. 

About the NBA:
The NBA is a global sports and media business built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA 2K League.  The NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also jointly operate the Basketball Africa League (BAL).  The NBA has established a major international presence with games and programming available in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and merchandise for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents.  NBA rosters at the start of the 2021-22 season featured a record 121 international players from 40 countries.  NBA Digital’s assets include NBA TV,, the NBA App and NBA League Pass.  The NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 2.1 billion likes and followers globally across all league, team, and player platforms.  Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth-serving organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.

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