NBA Announces Bucks, Hawks Set to Play 2 Preseason Games in Abu Dhabi Next Season

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 10, 2022

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - MAY 10: L-R: H.E. Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi and Ralph Rivera, Managing Director, NBA Europe and Middle East pose for a picture during The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022 Announcement at Dubai World Trade Centre on May 10, 2022 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced that the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks will play two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi in The NBA Abu Dhabi Games 2022, marking the league’s first games in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.  (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
Francois Nel/Getty Images

The NBA announced Tuesday it's staging a pair of preseason games between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks in Abu Dhabi in October.

NBA Africa @NBA_Africa

Abu Dhabi get ready the NBA is about to take over with two preseason games at Etihad Arena on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, Oct. 6 and Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAfrica?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAfrica</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBA75?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBA75</a> <a href="https://t.co/zEsxqKTp3r">pic.twitter.com/zEsxqKTp3r</a>

The league already confirmed plans to have the Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors play in Saitama, Japan, during the upcoming preseason.

The Abu Dhabi games are months in the making. The NBA announced in November it had signed a deal with the local Department of Culture and Tourism. Part of the agreement guaranteed two preseason games to mark the league's first trip to the Arabian Gulf.

"Abu Dhabi is a vibrant multicultural hub with a demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events," NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said at the time.

Commissioner Adam Silver's predecessor, David Stern, had a vision to turn the NBA into a global game, and that helped the league's popularity explode overseas.

The NBA Global Games was one way to give international fans a taste of what happens in the Association on a nightly basis. The COVID-19 pandemic meant the series had to temporarily go on hold.

The 2019-20 season was the last time the NBA held events in foreign markets. It had preseason games in India, Japan and China, in addition to regular-season contests in Mexico City and Paris.