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New Kings Go Worldwide

courtesy kings.com

December 2014, Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive tours a nutrition center in India.

courtesy kings.com

While the Sacramento Kings have  been working to improve on the basketball court, the team's new owner has been working to expand the team's  influence around the world.

The globalization of the Kings started last October with the very first regular-season home game under new ownership.
For the first time, Public Address Announcer Scott Moak told the crowd, "This game is being broadcast worldwide...in Indiaaaaaa!"

Before Vivek Ranadive bought a majority share of the team, Kings games were broadcast locally and rarely nationally. So far this year, eleven Kings games have been simulcast in India as have about 60 other NBA games.

Ranadive was born in India. He and National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver just returned from visiting the country. Ranadive says he believes these trips will pay dividends later.

"If we can get millions, tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of people in India -boys and girls, grown-ups- appreciating the great sport," says Ranadive, "then we know that will translate into financial reward at some point. But that's more long-term."

During his trip to India, Ranadive proposed the creation of eight professional teams -financed by the country's largest private company.

"We discussed how we could perhaps help the people of India, help Reliance Industries, create a basketball league in India. I coined the term "Monsoon Madness" to describe it."

Ranadive says he expects new basketball leagues to start springing up worldwide. They could one day provide talent for the NBA.

The Kings' global appeal also includes the addition of two players, Omri Caspi of Israel and Sim Bhullar of India.

Bhullar appeared with Ranadive in August in the India Day Parade in New York. At 7'5" Bhullar is about two feet taller than the owner. Bhullar plays for the Kings' developmental league team in Reno.

Ranadive, the commissioner, and current or retired Kings players have also visited Dubai and China this year.

He says he and the NBA will work in the future to spread the game to Latin American and Africa.


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