October 1, 2009: The NBA next week will return to Europe for the fourth consecutive year when the Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz play games in London and Madrid as part of NBA Europe Live 2009 presented by EA Sports. Following NBA Europe Live 2009, NBA teams will have played 50 games in 18 different cities in Europe over the past two decades, according to the league.
A big part of the league's continued presence in Europe is sales of NBA goods. According to the league, the NBA's merchandising business in Europe consists of more than 60 partners distributing NBA products to more than 16,000 retail locations. International sales account for 30% of the league’s overall global merchandise business.
Although financial details were not released, jerseys account for a majority of sales in Europe, and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers tops the list of most popular NBA jerseys in Europe for the 2008-09 season, as it did in 2007-08, based on sales from retail locations across Europe. In fact, the top four most popular jerseys remain unchanged from the previous year, with Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics at No. 2, Pau Gasol of the Lakers at No.3 and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers at No. 4.
International players make up approximately 20% of NBA rosters. Including Gasol, who comes from Spain, eight of the top 15 players on this best-selling jersey list are from Europe: Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs/ France), Andrea Bargnani Toronto Raptors/(Italy), Jose Calderon (Toronto Raptors/Spain), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks/Germany), Rudy Fernandez (Portland Trailblazers/Spain), Marco Belinelli (Golden State Warriors/Italy) and Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls/ France).
Most Popular NBA Jerseys in Europe
1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
2. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
3. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
4. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
6. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
7. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
8. Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors
9. Jose Calderon, Toronto Raptors
10. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics
11. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
12. Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trailblazers
13. Marco Belinelli, Golden State Warriors
14. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
15. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards
The NBA also released the list of best-selling WNBA jerseys based on sales at the NBA Store, New York, and on WNBAStore.com during the 2009 WNBA regular season. Of note, Candice Parker and Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks had the best-selling jerseys, which have the Farmers Insurance logo on the front and Diana Taurasi's Phoenix Mercury jersey has the LifeLock logo on the front following marketing deals signed this past season.
Most Popular WNBA Player Jerseys
1. Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
2. Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks
3. Becky Hammon, San Antonio Silver Stars
4. Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
5. Shameka Christon, New York Liberty
6. Essence Carson, New York Liberty
7. Sue Bird, Seattle Storm
8. Janel McCarville, New York Liberty
9. Angel McCoughtry, Altanta Dream
10. Deanna Nolan, Detroit Shock
Most Popular WNBA Team Merchandise
1. Los Angeles Sparks
2. New York Liberty
3. Seattle Storm
4. San Antonio Silver Stars
5. Washington Mystics