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NBA’s Africa Sales are a Rounding Error for the US Franchise

The National Basketball Association Inc.’s African league, which counts former US President Barack Obama as a strategic adviser, is facing mounting losses as it seeks to build a following in the region, sometimes resorting to bussing in fans to help fill empty seats. The Basketball Africa League, now entering its fourth season, is the NBA’s sole professional league outside the US, and its most ambitious international expansion since it attempted to break through in China two decades ago on the coat-tails of Hall of Fame center Yao Ming. Amid the league’s struggles, a number of executives have recently left NBA Africa, including its first chief executive officer, Victor Williams, who stepped down in December after three years in the job. After three seasons, losses at the league were forecast to rise to $19 million in the 2024 financial year from $17 million a year earlier, according to an NBA presentation from November seen by Bloomberg. Revenue was projected to grow to $15 million from $8 million, the presentation said.

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