As revealed in CNBC's new show "The Score," the NBA's Commissioner Adam Silver said "We realize the U.S. is a little less than four or five percent of the global population and we have a whole world out there that loves basketball and loves the NBA."
According to figures produced by the NBA, over 300 million people play basketball in China, with more than double that number watching some part of its programming on television during the 2017/18 season. With 178 million followers across its Chinese social media channels, the NBA also boasts the highest following of any sports league in that particular market.
"Social media is a way we've been able to infiltrate those markets very quickly with young people in particular living on social media," said Silver. "They're following player's individual feeds. Obviously Facebook is enormous in India and Instagram and these other services that feature the NBA to combine social media."
The NBA distributes its games and programming in 215 countries and territories and in fifty languages. More than 30 percent of all its "NBA league pass" subscriptions are in Asia — offering fans access to on-demand content and the live streaming of games.
Boosting this popularity is digital coverage by tech firms, such as China's Tencent and Japan's Rakuten that have played a key role in NBA becoming a mainstay in Asian sports culture.