The National Basketball Association opened an office in Moscow to get closer to the growing number of fans in Russia and Eastern Europe, NBA chief operational director Adam Silver said Thursday.
“This is a great time for the NBA to expand its presence in Russia, especially given Mikhail Prokhorov's commitment to further grow the sport in the country,” Silver said in a statement.
Prokhorov, a basketball enthusiast, finalized a deal to purchase the NBA's New Jersey Nets earlier this year and he also sponsors several college teams.
“I look forward to working together with the NBA and am ready to create more opportunities for boys and girls and students throughout Russia to become active basketball participants,” Prokhorov said in the same statement.
The billionaire earlier said he purchased the Nets to borrow NBA technology for making money in professional basketball, to turn the game into a sustainable business that doesn't have to rely exclusively on the support of the authorities or wealthy businessmen.
The NBA appointed Yegor Borisov as vice president for Russia and Eastern Europe. He most recently worked as Russia and the former Soviet Union chief for NBC Universal, one of the world's largest media companies.
“I … look forward to representing such an iconic brand as we grow the game both on and off the court,” Borisov said in the statement.
The Moscow office is the NBA's 16th worldwide. The league includes 30 U.S. and Canadian teams with players from 35 countries.