As basketball and the NBA continue to grow in popularity in countries and continents around the world, it’s no wonder that the globalization of the sport has generated a widespread and diverse fan base. And it’s not just global at the fan level. In this year’s NBA finals, for example, players on the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs squads represented seven different countries, ranging from Argentina to New Zealand.
This slow and steady multicultural expansion of the NBA, which began when the U.S. formed the original “Dream Team” for the 1992 Olympics in Spain, has also helped broaden the appeal of the sport among viewers in the U.S., particularly when the competition heats up during the finals.
–In 2003, the TV viewing audience of the finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the New Jersey Nets was 63% white, 13% Hispanic and 27% African-American.
–In 2012, the five-game series between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma Thunder, 51% of viewers were white, 13% were Hispanic and 36% of viewers were African-American.
–The trend in diversity continued this year, as Hispanics made up 16% of the TV audience during the 2013 finals, a 31% increase in viewership from a year ago.
–Asian viewers accounted for nearly 8% of this year’s audience, compared with 11% in 2012.
–White viewers’ share of the audience increased slightly from a year ago to 52%, while African-Americans’ share fell to 34%. Asian viewers accounted for nearly 8% of this year’s audience, compared with 11% in 2012.