14 Jan 2018 - 10:34
Qatar sets the ball rolling with first NBA Store in Middle East
By Armstrong Vas / The Peninsula
Doha: The opening of the first NBA (National Basketball Association) Store in the Middle East will be a catalyst for more franchises across the region, says NBA EMEA Vice President, Global Merchandising Vandana Balachandar.
The NBA and Al Mana Fashion Group yesterday officially announced the opening of the first NBA Store in the Middle East, located at Doha Festival City.
Doha now joins a handful and select list of cities globally which have NBA Stores.
“We have a handful of stores around the world, in Brazil, in Taiwan, Beijing and Philippines, South America, New York and Doha,” Balachandar said, while speaking during the opening ceremony.
“We have just nine or ten stores around the world. We have smaller formats of collectively some 300 different touch points for fans around the world. But as far as official stores are concerned, it is just nine or ten,” she added.
The Qatar market is a key player for basketball officials world wide, she said.
“Doha specifically is the market where people showed lot of interest, lot of people playing the sport and people buying our merchandise and our partnership with bein Sports is the big medium for us in the region—a perfect place to launch out store in the region,” added the official.
“We except to see, and hopefully, more stores opening, hopefully it will be a catalyst for more events and more activation for our brands in the region,” she said.
The official store opening was attended by three-time NBA All-Star and 2004 NBA Champion Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton, who was joined by Al Mana Sports Division General Manager Tom Foley.
Larry O’ Brien NBA Championship Trophy on display at the NBA Store at Doha Festival City.
“Excited to be in Qatar and happy to have the opportunity to open this store. Its heartening to see how the game has spread globally, the excitement from fans all over the world, shows that the game has evolved,” said Hamilton,
The 162 square-meter retail space, managed by Al Mana, features a wide selection of authentic NBA products, including current and former player jerseys, fan apparel, headwear, footwear, basketballs, toys and more, providing a one stop shopping experience for NBA fans in the region.
“The NBA Store is an exciting new concept to our portfolio,” said Foley.
“With the support of the NBA, we have managed to bring this concept to Qatar. The store has great merchandise and delivers the real NBA experience, which will inspire the Qatari basketball consumer.”
“Our first NBA Store in the region will meet the growing demand that Qatari fans have for authentic NBA products,” said Balachandar.
“We are excited to partner with Al Mana Fashion Group to bring the latest NBA merchandise to fans in the region to help them celebrate their passion for the NBA.”
Fans can purchase a Nike NBA Connected Jersey, the first NBA jersey that gives the wearer an all-access pass into the world of their favorite team and players.
Fans can also personalize jerseys exclusively at the NBA Store in Doha. The store also offers youth apparel, a range of autographed memorabilia, and an interactive zone where fans can hone their NBA 2K skills.