Lakers parade 2010 after NBA Finals Game 7 with the biggest global audience ever

The Lakers parade 2010 gives Los Angeles an opportunity to celebrate the team's championship win over the Boston Celtics. But it isn't the only thing the NBA is celebrating. More people globally watched these the 2010 Finals than ever before.

Jae C. Hong
The Lakers parade 2010 in Los Angeles will follow the team's 83-79 win in the NBA basketball championship over the Boston Celtics. The seven-game series was broadcast around the world in 215 countries and territories in 41 languages.

The Lakers parade 2010 on Monday will celebrate Los Angeles's NBA championship over the Boston Celtics, but the NBA itself has more to celebrate. The NBA finals garnered more viewers in America than any World Cup match thus far, while also reaching out to more global viewers than ever before with new TV audiences in the UK, Mexico, and Africa.

For the first time ever, the United Kingdom could watch the games live on ESPN, Mexican cinema chain Cinepolis broadcast the NBA Finals live in theaters, Germany's sports journalists reported live from the games, and Africa broadcast the Lakers-Celtics series on 15 free-to-air stations through a new partnership with CAfrica.

"NBA popularity continues to rise around the globe and NBA fans from Boston to Beijing to Belgium are experiencing The Finals in more ways than ever before," says Matt Brabants, the NBA’s vice president of International Media Distribution.

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) draws more than 50 percent of its TV audience from outside the US – more than any other US sports league. The recent Lakers-Celtics series was broadcast around the world in 215 countries and territories in 41 languages.

The world descended on Los Angeles and Boston, as well.

More than 280 international media members from 36 countries, including 44 media members from Lakers star Pau Gasol’s native Spain, reported live from the playoffs. A production company from India, Ten Sports, filmed a behind-the-scenes, three-part miniseries on the Lakers-Celtics series.

And other big markets offered coverage of the Finals. China presented live coverage through 51 television and digital media partners. Al Jazeera aired games live to the Middle East. Russia’s NTV Sport and Russia 2 provided coverage.

It was unclear as of Friday morning how many people in the US watched the Finals, but Game 5 on June 13 had 18.2 million viewers in the US alone, according to Nielsen ratings agency. That's a million more viewers than most anticipated World Cup match yet, England vs. USA, which had 17 million, according to Sports Media Watch. With such incredible ratings, ABC was selling 30-second commercial spots for about $400,000, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Game 6 matched the Game 5 audience, and was the biggest audience in six years for an NBA finals game.

As the NBA grows internationally, more foreign players are getting good enough to play in the NBA. Looking long-term, basketball scouts are hunting for the next Pau Gasol in Africa, India, or China.

But the NBA has a while yet before it can start marketing top international players abroad, such as Pau Gasol of Spain, says sportswriter Jack McCallum.

"The marketing component has not taken off," says Mr. McCallum, who has covered the NBA for Sports Illustrated since the mid-1980s. "They got ‘em because they were good... It’s a total value system, that’s why they’re playing."


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