In an effort to grow their international presence, the Washington Wizards have become the first team in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to launch Arabic-language social media channels.
The channel @WizardsArabic can be found on both Twitter and Instagram, and their hashtag is #yallaWizards.
The Wizards’ Arabic social media accounts will provide comprehensive coverage of the franchise throughout the season, which will include game analysis, media availabilities, news, behind-the-scenes access and exclusive fan content.
The team hopes the channels will assist in growing the franchise’s brand across the Middle East. It also aims to launch an Arabic-language website in the near future.
“We are excited to add Arabic-language social platforms to our global portfolio,” said Monumental Sports and Entertainment (MSE) president and chief commercial officer Jim Van Stone. “We know that Arabic-speaking basketball fans are going to enjoy our content and will feel more connected to the Wizards.”
According to the team’s official announcement, the new platforms will provide an outlet for Arab-Americans and Arabic-speaking NBA fans living in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia (DMV).
The Wizards have also helped grow the sport by hosting youth basketball clinics, e-sports programs and community outreach initiatives across the Middle East.
The Wizards have a partnership with Etihad Airways, which has served as the exclusive international airline partner of the Washington Capitals (NHL), Washington Mystics (WNBA) as well as Capital One Arena, since 2015.
In recent years, the Wizards have launched digital media channels dedicated to the team’s Chinese, Japanese and Israeli fans. It also offers a Spanish-language channel @vamoswizards, which launched last month.
NBA eyes the Gulf
Last November, a multi-year deal between the NBA and Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism was announced.
Last week, two pre-season NBA games between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks took place at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, marking the league’s first-ever games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
“After we play games there, we will have played games in virtually every region around the world,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said before the games took place. “A big part of our strategy is making sure people can touch and feel the game, because we know it has an impact on growing the fan base.”
The NBA has long had a presence in the region, airing games for 35 years and has seen a number of superstars from Kobe Bryant to Hakeem Olajuwon visit the UAE to hold clinics and fan events.