One would think so. The NBA officially announced the Nets and Raptors will face off in London on March 4 and 5, the first regular season games ever in Europe. One reason the Nets were chosen: Mikhail Prokhorov isn't just the first Russian owner of an American sports franchise. He's also the first European owner. No word yet from Moscow on whether they'll be revving up the Gulfstream.
The Nets owner did comment on the scheduling...without saying whether he'll be on hand: “Along with our preseason games in China in October, the games to be played in London next March demonstrate my commitment to bringing the NBA experience to international fans and making the Nets the first global team in the NBA."
The NBA is promoting the games as battles between "young and exciting teams" and "historic". It also sounds an optimistic note for fans in Toronto and Newark (and Brooklyn and Moscow, too). The league press release notes the back-to-back program comes late in the season, at "a crucial time as the NBA heads for the playoffs."
ESPN isn't so optimistic. A survey of the network's "93 best basketball minds" has the two teams finishing last in the East with identical 27-55 records. The O2 Arena in London will host the games. It's one of the few NBA-ready arenas on the continent and the basketball venue for the 2012 London Olympics. Tickets go on sale September 1. There's been no announcement yet on whether the games will be televised...or at what time.
- Nets, Raptors to play regular-season games in London - Jeff Zillgitt - USA Today
- Nets will play in London - Fred Kerber - New York Post Nets Blog
Nets, Raptors to play pair of games in London - Fred Kerber - New York Post
As Nets Head To London, David Stern Has An Epiphany - Dave D'Alessandro - Nets Blast
- London to host Raptors-Nets in March - AP
NETS: Nets to Play First-Ever NBA Regular-Season Games in Europe - New Jersey Nets
- NBA to Stage First-Ever Regular-Season Games In Europe - NBA.com
Raptors, Nets to take historic road trip - Doug Smith - Toronto Star
- Raptors to play regular season games in England - Eric Koreen - National Post
Nets, Raptors to Play Europe's First Regular-Season NBA Games - Mason Levinson - Bloomberg
- London's O2 Arena to host NBA regular season matches - BBC
- NBA-London to stage two regular season games in 2011 - Reuters
- NBA confirms London regular season dates - Colm Heaney - London Mirror
- Not much expected of London-bound NBA teams - Colm Heaney - London Mirror
NBA Channels Inner NFL, Schedules Games In London - Glenn Davis - The Sports Grid
NBA Summer Forecast: East standings - Royce Webb and Matt Wong - ESPN