SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Kings have started talks with the NBA and officials in India about playing an exhibition game in the native country of new owner Vivek Ranadive as soon as next season, Ranadive said.
The connection between the league’s desire to generate a larger presence in the second-most populous nation in the world and the emotional link for Ranadive comes as the Kings announce that the Oct. 30 season opener against the Nuggets will be televised live in India, with plans for a viewing party in Bombay.
“In India, there’s a billion people,” Ranadive said. “When they have a cricket match, there’s 600 million people watching. If we got a small fraction of that, that would still be a very big number.”
Having NBA teams play there, though, is far more problematic because of the lack of arenas at NBA standards. That would be the biggest obstacle for the Kings in India in October 2014.
“We have to find the right facility,” Ranadive said. “Right now they don’t have one. But we have a year and the NBA is very, very supportive about building the brand in India.”
Even though a year is extremely fast for this sort of project?
“I think it’s realistic,” Ranadive said. “We’re building a new arena (in Sacramento) and that will be done in three years. We’re very aggressive and ambitious.”