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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

FROM STREET TO OLYMPICS

By Callum Williams, InsiderSport — 3×3 basketball was merely in its infancy stages in the mid-2000s, but since being regulated by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) the sport has experienced massive growth, exemplified by its debut as an official Olympic sport during the 2020 games. 

Now looking to broaden its horizons further, FIBA Managing Director Alex Sanchez spoke to Insider Sport on 3x3s successes at the recent Tour Finals in Jeddah, as well as bringing the sport to new eyes ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Insider SportFirstly Alex, how successful has the most recent Tour Finals in Jeddah been for 3×3’s growth in terms of attendance, TV viewership and fan engagement? 

Alex Sanchez: As the dust settles on an action packed 3×3 World Tour Final in Jeddah, I am very pleased to report that it was the most attended edition of the event in Jeddah so far. With incredible energy and excitement, thousands of spectators attended the sold-out event. 

The fusion of non-stop music by our resident DJs in the venues and fan zones, along with street food courts, created an electrifying urban atmosphere. 

Thanks to the growing interest and passion for 3×3 in the Kingdom, broadcasters covered the event in close to 40 territories, showcasing the thrilling action to a global audience.

Fan engagement across our digital platforms also hit record levels, with 25 million unique impressions, 15 million views, and one million engagements, underlining the event’s impact on the global 3×3 community. I have no doubt that this event will inspire a new generation of 3×3 future stars to emerge from the streets of Jeddah and beyond. 

Overall, the growth and passion for 3×3 in Jeddah are truly remarkable. Jeddah’s hosting has been instrumental in delivering unforgettable experiences for both athletes and fans.

IS: Did FIBA experience a surge of popularity growth after 3×3’s debut at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and what is it looking to alter anything differently for the 2024 Paris Games? 

AS: In just over a decade, 3×3 basketball has gone from the streets to the Olympic and world stage. And Tokyo was clearly a major milestone in this journey, but it is also just the beginning for 3×3.

Our professional circuit has expanded significantly, hosting over 50 events, and overall, 2023 saw 168 events organised by FIBA 3×3. Moreover, television and media coverage have also soared, with a 90% increase in TV watch time and audience thanks to new broadcast deals that were secured.

Reaching new fans is our driving force. In fact, we are confident that anyone who watches this sport will fall in love with it, so it is our responsibility to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to experience it firsthand.

Before and after Paris, we must continue to emulate our inspiring players and strive for new heights. New heights we know 3×3 basketball is more than capable of reaching. 

ISAs traditional basketball has become increasingly digital on social media, has FIBA 3×3 looked to emulate this as well as a vehicle for fan engagement and growth and how has this been received? 

AS: For 3×3, our engagement with young people across our digital channels continues to rise. Our social media viewership surpassed one billion views this year, and this is not a coincidence. All our channels are tailored to reach different audiences, from the hardcore to the casual fan.

As we enter an Olympic year, we are looking forward to bringing our fans closer to the action than ever before. From behind-the-scenes content, online giveaways, and exclusive player interviews, we are expecting record-breaking numbers.

IS: How fruitful has the broadcast deal been with Eurovision Sport in being able to branch out to new audiences? 

AS: The deal with Eurovision Sport has been a great success, and it is helping FIBA 3×3 bring our sport to new audiences across the continent. Covering all FIBA 3×3 flagship events in 2023 and 2024, the partnership ensures news clips can be distributed via Eurovision Sports News and EBU Members have access to content for their linear and digital platforms.

The agreement is very positive for the players. It helps tell their stories and bring our fans closer to their idols. The partnership will continue to cover all our flagship events in 2024, including the FIBA 3×3 Europe Cup 2024 and when our top teams from around the world will battle it out in the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments in Utsunomiya, Japan, and Debrecen, Hungary.

IS: Lastly Alex, and thank you for your time, what year do you anticipate 2024 to be for 3×3? 

AS: Building upon the great success in Tokyo, we are incredibly excited to welcome fans to their first-ever 3×3 Olympic tournament in Paris in 2024 – this is going to be a very special moment and celebration for our sport.

We are expecting 4,000 daily spectators at the iconic Place de la Concorde in the heart of Paris, and I have no doubt they will create an unforgettable festival atmosphere that our sport is renowned for.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to our sponsors for joining us on this remarkable journey, to our passionate fans for their unwavering support, and to our volunteers, officials, DJs, and hosts, for their contributions and dedication in 2023.

As the number-one urban team sport, we are just getting started!

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