NBA Considering a Regular-Season Game at Real Madrid's Bernabéu

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum has expressed the league’s openness to the idea of hosting a regular-season game at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the iconic home of soccer powerhouse Real Madrid. This potential venture into a new frontier marks a significant step, as the NBA has never held an overseas game in an outdoor soccer stadium.

Tatum’s remarks came in the aftermath of the Dallas Mavericks’ preseason game against Real Madrid Baloncesto, which took place at the WiZink Center in Madrid. While the WiZink Center accommodates a capacity of just over 17,000 spectators for basketball, the Bernabéu boasts a staggering 85,000 fan capacity for soccer matches.

“I’ve had the opportunity to see the new Bernabéu, and it’s incredible what they’ve done there,” Tatum commented to reporters in Madrid. “I’ve seen the system with which they raise and lower the grass. It will be a world-class stadium. If the circumstances are right, we would love to play there.”

Tatum further emphasized the significance of considering big markets with strong sporting traditions, like France, where the upcoming Olympic Games will be hosted. He noted that the NBA explores various markets, including Germany, Spain, and Italy, and remains open to hosting games in locations that meet specific facility standards. London, in particular, stands out as an exemplary model in Europe.

The recent preseason NBA game in Madrid marked the league’s return to the Spanish capital, with the last such event occurring in 2016 when Luka Doncic and Real Madrid hosted and triumphed over the Oklahoma City Thunder. This exhibition also builds upon a rich history of NBA games in Spain, which commenced 35 years ago when an NBA team first graced the country in 1988.


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