London: Basketball fans can expect an expanded series of events surrounding the NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 next month. The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) announcement comes as Dallas Mavericks and Minnesota Timberwolves play two preseason games on October 5 and October 7 at 8pm at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The first ‘NBA Fan Appreciation Day in Abu Dhabi’ will take place on October 6 from 4:30pm at Etihad Arena. The unique fan experience will feature appearances by Mavericks and Timberwolves players and NBA legends including 19-time NBA All-Star and six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and two-time NBA champion Kenny Smith. Activities will include a skills challenge and three-point contest featuring Mavericks and Timberwolves players, performances by the Mavericks Entertainment Team, the Timberwolves Dunk Team, and the team mascots, and a slam dunk contest featuring professional dunkers.
The ‘NBA District,’ an interactive fan event that last year welcomed nearly 10,000 fans, will return to Manarat Al Saadiyat from October 5 to 8. Fans will be able to meet five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway Sr., and nine-time NBA All-Star and NBA champion Gary Payton, participate in basketball activities on a full-size NBA court, watch NBA highlights and programming, take their photo with the Larry O’Brien Trophy, purchase limited-edition NBA merchandise, and more.
“We are excited to expand our fan programming around this year’s games by introducing NBA Fan Appreciation Day in Abu Dhabi and bringing back NBA District,” said NBA Europe and Middle East Head of Fan Engagement and Direct-to-Consumer, George Aivazoglou. “Through these events, fans of all ages, from Abu Dhabi and abroad, will have more opportunities to interact with the NBA, the Mavericks and the Timberwolves.”
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 Presented by ADQ will air live in the UAE and across the Middle East and North Africa on beIN Sports, The Sports Channel and NBA League Pass, reaching fans in more than 200 countries and territories on television, digital media and social media.
The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 follow last year’s preseason games between the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks, which marked the league’s first games in the Arabian Gulf. In January, the NBA and DCT Abu Dhabi launched an expanded second season of the Jr. NBA Abu Dhabi League, featuring boys’ and girls’ leagues each composed of 450 players ages 11-14 from schools across the UAE capital.
The collaboration also includes a variety of interactive fan events featuring appearances by current and former NBA players, a series of NBA FIT clinics promoting health and wellness, and an NBA 2K League exhibition event. The collaboration sees DCT Abu Dhabi, under Experience Abu Dhabi, the tourism promotion initiative of the UAE’s capital, serve as the Official Tourism Destination Partner of the NBA in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and China.
First access to NBA Fan Appreciation Day in Abu Dhabi tickets will be offered to NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2023 ticket holders via a unique link starting today and for a one-week period prior to tickets going on general sale on September 14. Tickets for NBA District, which cost Dh55 for a one-day pass and Dh180 for a four-day pass, are now on sale at ticketmaster.ae.
Tickets are on sale at etihadarena.ae and ticketmaster.ae. Special ticket packages offering premium access, VIP experiences, hospitality and local hotel accommodations are also available for purchase at https://nbaexperiences.com/nba-abu-dhabi-games-2023.