WILL Kai Sotto's first year in Australia's National Basketball League (NBL) be broadcasted in the Philippines?
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger told ESPN's Ball and the Real World the Australian professional league is in discussions over its television rights in the Philippine and Chinese markets for the upcoming 2021-22 season.
"We're still in the throes of negotiating a broadcast arrangement for live games into those markets," he said.
Excitement has been building up for the 22nd year of the NBL as it mark the debut of Sotto as the first Filipino player to play in the league, for the Adelaide 36ers.
Aside from him, China will also be well represented this year with Zhou Qi signing with the South East Melbourne Phoenix and Liu Chuanxing agreeing to a deal with the Brisbane Bullets.
The NBL recognizes the potential of the Philippine and Chinese markets.
"Those are the second and third biggest basketball economies in the world, they're really significant signings for us. In terms of measuring, largely you look to earned media and how much coverage you're getting in those markets," said Loeliger.
"Obviously, you've got the metrics around social media which give you instantaneous feedback. The popular social media platforms in China are still relatively new to us so we're still finding our feet there. We've got some learning to do if we're going to make the most of the opportunities."
The NBL, Loeliger said, has become appealing for the likes of Sotto since it has established itself as a 'genuine pathway' to the NBA, taking pride in the success of Torrey Craig (now with the Indiana Pacers), as well as former players like Scottie Wilbekin and James Ennis Jr.
Other players who made the leap from the NBL to the NBA were Terrance Ferguson (who played for the Philadelphia 76ers), Houston Rockets' Jae'Sean Tate and Los Angeles Lakers' Cam Oliver.
And it doesn't even count the likes of 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball of the Charlotte Hornets, RJ Hampton of the Orlando Magic, and Josh Giddey, who was picked sixth overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2022 NBA Draft.
"I think we've demonstrated now it's a genuine pathway both for next stars as well as those guys who perhaps went undrafted and then shot off to stardom in the NBA," he said
"I have no qualms about our best players going to the NBA. That's a fantastic story for us and it demonstrates that we're the next best thing," said Loeliger.
We are now on Quento! Download the app to enjoy more articles and videos from SPIN.ph and other Summit Media websites.