By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – NBA Brasil officials recently announced that American basketball will return to Rio with the Orlando Magic playing the three-time champions of the Novo Basquete Brasil (NBB) league, Clube de Regatas do Flamengo. Scheduled for October 17th at the HSBC Arena, located in the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca, the preseason game will be part of the Global Games NBA (National Basketball Association) series.
“We are proud to bring that experience to the Brazilian fans for the 3rd consecutive year and to have the honor of facing one of the best teams in Brazil in one of the most magnificent cities in the world,” said NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver.
The two teams last met in Orlando, Florida, United States, in October 2014. Following Flamengo’s Copa Intercontinental win in September, the Magic hosted Flamengo, defeating them 106 to 88.
Officials for both teams see multiple benefits to hosting a rematch. In Brazil, the popularity of the sport continues to grow and in Florida, the Orlando Sentinel recently reported that Brazilians marked the highest number of international tourists to their region, with over 700,000 Brazilian visitors recorded in the stat’s Central region during 2013, according to Visit Orlando.
“We look forward to representing the Central Florida community and the NBA. Brazil has been a huge market for the Orlando Magic and our region,” CEO Alex Martins of the Orlando Magic stated in a release about the upcoming game, which mark the franchise’s debut in Brazil.
“This trip will greatly contribute to the partnership we have grown, especially in relation to the tourism sector and our local work. We were very happy to receive Flamengo last year and saw the passion of Brazilian fans who attended the game. We’re excited, it will be a great opportunity.”
The first edition of the Global Games NBA in Rio took place during October 2013 at the HSBC Arena, the future home to the gymnastics events during the 2016 Olympics Games. Before a sold-out crowd of 13,635 fans, the Chicago Bulls defeated the Washington D.C. Wizards 83-81. The event was historic, as it marked the first NBA game held in South America.
Ticket sales for the October game are scheduled to begin next month, with the exact date not yet announced.