August 10, 2017
After reports surfaced last month, it's now official: for the first time ever, the Philadelphia 76ers will play a regular-season NBA game on a different continent.
On Thursday, the NBA and AEG announced that on January 11th, the Sixers will cross the Atlantic to face the Boston Celtics at The O2 Arena in London, England.
“As the game of basketball continues its incredible growth internationally, we look forward to the opportunity of playing in the NBA Global Games series in England this coming January," Sixers GM and President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. "The NBA has done an exceptional job of attracting and cultivating fans from across the world, and we’re thrilled to bring the Philadelphia 76ers to London, a special city with rich culture and tradition.”
The game will be the eighth time a regular-season game has been played in London and is one of four games between the Sixers and Celtics this season.
“Participating in NBA London Game 2018 is a great opportunity for our players to compete in front of an international audience at the historic O2 Arena. I have fond memories of coaching the Australian national team in London during the 2012 Olympics," said head coach Brett Brown, who also coached the Sixers in Manchester, England during his first preseason back in 2013. "The basketball fans there are very passionate and I am looking forward to playing the Celtics there in January."
“The NBA is the world’s most global sports property, and the Philadelphia 76ers have always had a dynamic, international fanbase thanks to our remarkable on-court legacy," added Sixers CEO Scott O'Neil. "Fans across the world have grown to love the game as basketball cheering for Wilt, ‘Doctor J’, ‘Sir Charles’ and, certainly, Allen Iverson. We look forward to introducing the world to the 76ers next generation of transformational stars."
It's also worth noting that aside from their 2013 preseason game in Manchester and Brown's experience in London, the Sixers have another, much more direct tie to the London sports scene.
Managing partner Josh Harris and fellow co-owner David Blitzer happen to be shareholders in another franchise (aside from the Sixers and New Jersey Devils) – and this one plays not too far from where the Sixers will take on the Celtics.
In December of 2015, Harris and Blitzer invested £50 million in Crystal Palace F.C. of the European Premier League, giving them each an 18 percent ownership stake in the London-based club.
"The sport of basketball continues to show remarkable growth internationally and we’re excited to travel to London to play in front of the great fans there on Jan. 11," Harris said. "This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our dynamic team filled with exciting international players to a fan base that has a clear passion for world-class sporting events. It’s especially exciting to have the Sixers face off against the Boston Celtics on Thursday, to be followed by Crystal Palace’s Saturday match-up against Burney nearby in South London."
Unfortunately for Sixers fans, this announcement comes with just a tiny bit of bad news: the Sixers are technically the home team in this game, meaning they'll play one less game at the Wells Fargo Center (and against a Eastern Conference rival like Boston, no less).
But fans who have already purchased season tickets and are wondering what this means for them, don't fret; the Sixers have a plan. If you're on a payment plan, you'll never even be charged for that game. And if you've already paid in full (like a boss), then you'll have two options: either get a refund for the cost of that game, or have the balance credited to your account for future tickets, like if you renew for 2018-19 ... or want to buy playoff tickets in the spring.
And if you're interested in traveling to London for this game – or if you're a Sixers fan who already lives there – they go on sale beginning in October, but you can find out more (including pre-sale information) by going to NBA.com/London.
For those staying at home and watching, the game will be available on CSN Philly and 97.5 The Fanatic.
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