This Tuesday, the NBA announced that the league has reached a record of 125 players born outside of the United States on all of the franchises’ opening-night rosters. These international athletes come from 60 countries represented across six continents.
With the league finally returning to action this October 24 with two unmissable games between Warriors vs. Suns and Lakers vs. Nuggets, it marks the 10th straight year in which these opening-night contests have at least 100 or more players from abroad in the squads. Every single one of the 30 NBA franchises have at least one international athlete.
The 2023/24 campaign is breaking the record set back in 2017, when the amount of foreign players was 121 at the start of the season, which was then equalled in 2021’s opening night.
The NBA today announced that a record 125 international players from 40 countries and territories across six continents are on opening-night rosters for the 2023-24 season, including a record number of players from Canada (26) and France (14).
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 24, 2023
As we’ve grown accustomed to, Canada is yet again the most-represented country outside of the United States, with 26 players in the league.
France comes close in second place with 14, including rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama as their biggest representative. The No.1 overall pick in this year’s draft will make his debut on Wednesday when the San Antonio Spurs face against the Dallas Mavericks.
There are 64 European players in total, including Serbian star and reigning champion Nikola Jokic. The two-time league MVP delivered Denver their first-ever title this year and hopes to start on the right track tonight against the purple and gold franchise.
The teams with most international players are the Mavs and Thunder, who each have eight of them. The Raptors and Spurs then follow with seven each, while the Celtics and Suns share third place with six.
Probably the most interesting stat is not only how the league has grown with international representation, but also how they’ve become the biggest stars in the NBA, dominating the last five MVP awards. Current king Joel Embiid (France/Cameroon), Jokic during the two previous seasons (Serbia) and Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) who also conquered them consecutively from 2018 to 2020.
StubHub announces 60% jump in ticket sales for NBA season due to growing international interest
As the NBA is set to start this week, StubHub revealed that they’ve seen their ticket sales soar up to nearly 60% compared to last season, and placed the Los Angeles Lakers back at the top of the list as the most in-demand franchise.
According to spokesperson Adam Budelli, the company’s annual preview of the league’s projected ticket exchange is based on years of data. He later shared how encouraged they are to witness a rise in demand for this upcoming campaign which is about to start on Tuesday, October 24.
The StubHub representative explained how there’s been a surge of international interest in the league, coming from fans in 92 countries, which are 24 more than last season. Budelli predicted that these sales from abroad will represent a 120% rise, with the most popular coming from the United Kingdom, Brazil and Australia.
“It’s hard to pinpoint one specific factor, but I would say across live events as a whole, we certainly have seen cross-border travel for live events increased and rebound to a higher point than when it was pre-pandemic,” the spokesperson explained.