, 2022-09-30 02:19:30,
TOKYO (AP) — Before Stephen Curry makes a single 3-pointer, before Rui Hachimura gets his first ovation from Japanese fans who came to cheer one of their own, the NBA Japan Games are already a huge win in one regard.
Big money is riding on — and getting spent on — the NBA’s most recent foray into Japan, which has the reigning champion Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards set to play a pair of preseason games there on Friday and Sunday. Every seat inside Saitama Super Arena has been sold, and the league has more marketing partners for games in Japan than ever before.
The financial rewards are as clear as the patch of Japanese online retailer Rakuten on the jerseys that Curry and the Warriors will wear.
“These are the Japanese people who grew up on Michael Jordan,” said Junya Ogura, senior manager at Japanese automaker Nissan’s brand and media strategy department. “We are banking on a return that will come in the future.”
Now, every seat has been grabbed. Plus, the NBA has drawn 15 marketing partners to support the preseason games in Japan, including American Express, Hennessy, NEC and Nike, and now has 19 marketing and promotional partners in Japan.
“Obviously it’s about the money,” said Bob Dorfman, a San Francisco-based sports analyst at Pinnacle Advertising.
“Building the fan base in Asia, and everywhere else…
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