On Oct. 5 and Oct. 7, the Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves will be playing against each other in two preseason games in the United Arab Emirates. The two teams will be playing both of their games in the Eithad Arena. This is the second time that the NBA will be playing preseason games in UAE — last year, the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks played two games there.
The NBA's goal of these global preseason showcase games is to spread the game around the world. The idea is that fans will enjoy going to a game and become a fan of the NBA. For people who cannot go to the game, there are still plenty of opportunities to have fun with the NBA in town. The NBA is bringing back the "NBA district" which will allow fans to part take in fun NBA-related events. It will also feature appearances from Gary Payton and Tim Hardaway Sr.
Why is the NBA playing all these games over the globe?
The NBA is trying to grow the game by playing overseas. Most of these games are preseason in order to make sure that the players are committing a lot of hours on a plane once they head back to the States. The best way for any sport to grow is to have in-person experiences that people can watch live. Another way for the sports to grow their game overseas is to run events in those areas.
During their time in UAE, the NBA is doing both this season. Some people who are financially able and are already semi-interested in the sport may buy a ticket to the game. Still, that leaves out a lot of people who cannot go to the game. Having a public event that anyone can attend for free is something for those people.
As mentioned, the NBA is putting heavy investment into these events by having former NBA all-star meet-ups and in addition to UAE, they have games scheduled in Canada and against Spanish teams this preseason.