__Team Africa vs Team World on 5 August!
Who can tell me how basketball got started in 1891 and why? What “problem” was out there that someone was trying to solve? You’ll see it’s a very relevant story that I’ve been teaching you here! Here’s a hint: Innovation!
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the powerful organization behind one of the most glamorous sports in the world: American basketball. Its brand is associated with sports stars such as Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Steph Curry (my wife’s favorite!) There’s also the Women’s NBA (WNBA) which has stars like Maya Moore, Jonquel Jones and Nneka Ogwumike.
When we were developing our strategy to enter the television business, we did research to learn about all the best programming in the world. We then developed a plan to get the BEST sport, entertainment, news and documentary, religion, education available!
One thing that caught my attention was that whilst many Africans love soccer, they were also hungry to get access to other sports, but couldn’t… Imagine how shocked I was to discover that while basketball is the second most popular sport, less than 1m people in Africa had access, especially with so many NBA players from Africa!
“Let’s change that!” I declared.
We approached the NBA with a plan to make it more accessible throughout Africa. In particular, we proposed to broadcast some NBA live games for FREE in virtually every African country. The rest of the games would be available on our Pay TV channels via a decoder, and our Mobile App for smartphones (Kwesé App). In addition, we would broadcast the NBA channel in Africa, and also build a dedicated Kwesé|NBA website.
All this has been done because of the passionate support of the NBA and its team in Africa. More people have watched and followed basketball in Africa last year than in the last 25 years… Wow!
Now one of the most audacious proposals was for the NBA to try and send two teams every year to play on African soil! To be honest with you, I was amazed that they agreed, and it shows their commitment to Africa, which today accounts for nearly 30 NBA players and has already produced some of the all-time giants of the game, like Hakeem Olajuwon of Nigeria and Dikembe Mutombo of Democratic Republic of Congo.
Some of you will remember the signing ceremony of this historic agreement…
Fast forward to 2017! Kwesé TV is the ONLY broadcaster in Africa which has the 24-hr NBA channel, broadcasting every single NBA and WNBA game when the season starts in October. (Although we show two free games every week, you need a decoder to see everything).
Now the first NBA Africa game took place in Johannesburg on 1 August 2015. It was spectacular. We had to skip last year because of the Olympic Games, but this week they are back…
__Team Africa vs Team World!
The NBA Africa 2017 game this year will benefit the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, SOS Children’s Villages South Africa and UNICEF.
Already, fans are jetting in from all over the world. I just saw a tweet from Thierry Henry saying he’s headed to Africa. He’s not the only one! We have celebrities from sport, music, entertainment, media, business leaders, ministers of governments, and even a king… all flying in to Johannesburg from throughout the continent as well as Europe and America.
The week will “tipoff” on 1-2 August in Rustenburg with a junior basketball tournament to showcase Africa’s talent. A business summit entitled: “Investing in Innovation for Africa’s Future Leaders” will also be held the day before the big game.
The NBA Commissioner himself, Adam Silver, will share his own thoughts as the Guest Speaker. Remember: This guy runs one of the most successful and innovative businesses in the world…
__The total franchise value (of all the different teams) is in excess of $50bn, with revenue close to $9bn… And you thought it was just a game!
# If you want to watch NBA Africa 2017 on TV, it will be broadcast LIVE in more than 40+ countries, across Africa!
# We’ve given access to national free-to-air broadcasters all over the continent including: Soweto TV (South Africa), NTA (Nigeria), EBC (Ethiopia), RTS (Senegal) and Canal+ Afrique (Francophone Africa) amongst many, many others. It’s amazing!
# Those with a Kwesé decoder can follow events throughout the week.
# Kwesé Free Sports channel is available in 11 countries, and you don’t need a Pay-TV (DTH) decoder: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana, Namibia and Cameroon.
# You can also watch the game on the Kwesé App!
# To find out more, including the full roster of NBA players slated for Saturday night, go to:
(This one is for you!) See you there!
Image credit: NBA Africa Game 2015. Who can tell me who the players are?
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa