The NBA basketball league will return to Europe for the first time in three years after announcing plans for a regular-season game between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons at the Accor Arena in Paris on January 19, 2023.
Accor Arena hosted the NBA’s first regular-season game in Paris back in January 2020 as the Charlotte Hornets met the Milwaukee Bucks. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that the league has not returned to Europe since.
Next year’s game will mark the Bulls’ third fixture in Paris, with the team having played two pre-season games in the French capital in 1997. The Pistons have never played in France but played regular-season games in London in 2013 and Mexico City in 2019.
The Accor Arena game will be the 12th NBA game in France since 1991. The league and its partners will conduct a range of interactive fan activities, as well as NBA Cares community outreach initiatives and Jr. NBA youth basketball development programming.
Accor Arena chief executive Nicolas Dupeux said: “The Accor Arena proudly hosted the first-ever regular-season NBA game in France in 2020, which captivated fans and showcased our world-class facility to a global audience. It is therefore an honour to once again host a regular-season game in 2023, which will provide fans with a great show of sportsmanship and entertainment as boldness and excellence continue to guide our programming.”
Ralph Rivera, NBA Europe and Middle East managing director, added: “The Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons are two of the most historic franchises in the NBA and feature an exciting mix of rising young players and established All-Stars.
“Welcoming the Bulls and Pistons to Paris for our second regular-season game will be a highlight for fans in France and across Europe, and with Paris hosting the summer Olympics in 2024, basketball and the NBA are well-positioned for continued growth in France for years to come.”
The announcement comes after the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) last week detailed plans for its first event in France at Accor Arena. The venue will stage the historic event, which has been made possible after France recently opened up to mixed martial arts following years of banning the practice, on September 3.
Earlier this month, the NBA confirmed plans to stage two pre-season games at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena in October. The games between the Atlanta Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks will take place on October 6 and October 8 and will mark the league’s first-ever fixtures in the Arabian Gulf.
In March, the NBA announced plans for two pre-season games in Japan in September and October, which will mark the league’s first fixtures outside of North America since the Accor Arena game in January 2020. The Golden State Warriors and Washington Wizards will play two games at the Saitama Super Arena on September 30 and October 2.