"This is the NBA's most ambitious European basketball competition," said NBA Commissioner David Stern. "NBA Europe Live will exemplify how sports leagues around the world can work together for the long-term growth of their sport. As the relevance of basketball continues to grow globally, the NBA and EA SPORTS share a vision that delivers basketball, entertainment, music and technology to our fans around the world."
An NBA licensee since 1991, EA has expanded its relationship with the league to become an official global marketing partner of the NBA, the first developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software to be designated with this status. As a global marketing partner, EA will work with the NBA to develop interactive basketball programs around the world, including NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS.
The award-winning NBA LIVE franchise, recognized worldwide for delivering the most authentic interactive basketball experience for more than a decade, will be featured in promotion of the events throughout Europe and the U.S. The newest iteration in the series, NBA LIVE 06, will be available this October in more than 100 countries on six continents.
"Like sports, video games have a global appeal that transcends language and borders," said Electronic Arts Chairman and CEO Larry Probst. "At EA, we're proud to be an ambassador for one of the world's most exciting sports, NBA Basketball."
Building on the league's success in Europe and its relationship with Euroleague Basketball, the four NBA teams will compete in games against top Euroleague Basketball teams and conduct training camps. NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS will culminate with a final event in a fifth European country featuring games with two NBA teams, the Euroleague Basketball Champion and Euroleague Basketball runner-up.
"Years of steady, positive relations between the NBA and Euroleague Basketball have covered diverse aspects of sports organization and this partnership will continue to cultivate the success of basketball in Europe," said Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu. "This partnership will help to continue the tradition of basketball excellence and achievement, contribute to the growth of the sport and will benefit European fans by offering them another chance to enjoy great basketball."
The announcement will be carried live on both NBA TV and NBA.com at 7:45 p.m. Eastern. Additional information about NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS will be announced later this year.
The NBA's last visit to Europe was in 2003 for the NBA Europe Games, which featured a preseason game between that year's NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs and the Memphis Grizzlies, at Bercy Arena in Paris, France. San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker returned home to his native France for the first time with his NBA team before a sellout crowd. The Memphis Grizzlies went on to play an exhibition game against 2003 Euroleague Champions FC Barcelona at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain. The game featured Memphis Grizzlies star forward Pau Gasol, a native of Barcelona, Spain, playing against his former team.