Rockets to play Raptors in NBA Japan Games in October 2019
The NBA, in partnership with Rakuten Incorporated, will be holding two preseason games in Japan this coming October, and the teams that will be participating are the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors.
This will be the 13th and 14th time that the NBA will play games in Japan. The Rockets and Raptors will square off on October 8 and 10 at the Saitama Super Arena.
The news was first announced in Tokyo by Rakuten Chairman and CEO Mickey Mikitani and NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy. League Commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t physically present during the announcement, as he’s currently in New York. Instead, made his statements live via a video conference.
“Bringing NBA preseason games to Japan will help accelerate the growth of basketball in a country that features a thriving sports culture and one of the world’s largest economies,” said Silver. “Building on our long history in Japan, we are pleased to partner with Mickey and his team at Rakuten to share the authentic, live game experience with the NBA’s growing Japanese fan base.”
NBA and Rakuten agreed to a multi-year partnership back in 2017, with the latter serving as the official and exclusive distributor for live NBA games in Japan. Mikitani is excited for what in store for basketball fans in the country.
“Rakuten is committed to its mission of empowering people and society through innovation, and our partnership with the NBA is motivated by the power sports have to move individuals and society as a whole. By bringing NBA games to Japan this fall, Rakuten has a great opportunity to contribute to the further growth and development of the global basketball community.”
This will be the first time that the NBA will play a preseason game in Japan since 2003. The league first played in the Land of the Rising Sun in 1980.
This will be the second time that the Rockets will participate in NBA Japan Games. The franchise already played two regular season games there back in 1992. Meanwhile, this is going to be the first time for the Raptors.
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