NBA Forms New African Entity, Partners With Strategic Investors
Helios Fairfax Partners, Chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo Group and CEO Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo Headline Group of African Business Leaders and NBA Captions Invest in NBA Africa (www.NBA.com); NBA Junior Legends Bridgeman, Luol Deng, Grant Hill, Dikembe Mutombo and Joakim Noah are also investing in NBA Africa.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced the formation of NBA Africa, a new entity that will lead the league’s activities in Africa, including the Basketball Africa League (BALL) – a partnership between the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the NBAthe first collaboration of to operate a league outside of North America. The inaugural BALL season, featuring 12 of the best club teams from 12 African countries, is underway in Kigali, Rwanda, and the first BALL The finals will take place on Sunday May 30 at 4:00 p.m. CAT / 10 a.m. ET.
Strategic investors include a consortium led by Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo, chairman and CEO from the Yinka Folawiyo group; and Helios Fairfax Partners Corporation (HFP), led by Tope Lawani, Co-CEO of HFP and co-founder and managing partner of Helios Investment Partners (“Helios”), HFPinvestment advisor to. The expertise of investors in a wide range of industries and the relationships established with African companies, governments and NGOs will help accelerate the NBAgrowth across the continent. Lawani and Folawiyo will also join the NBA Africa Board of Directors, chaired by NBA Africa CEO Victor Williams and includes NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum.
The announcement was made today by Silver, Tatum, Williams, Lawani and Folawiyo, who were joined by NBA Global Ambassador and NBA African investor Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) ahead of Africa Day, an annual global commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OUA) held on May 25.
In addition to Mutombo, other investors NBA Africa includes NBA Junior legends Bridgeman, Luol Deng (South Sudan), Grant Hill and Joakim Noah.
the NBA has a decades-long history in Africa and opened its African headquarters in Johannesburg in 2010. Since then, the league’s efforts in Africa have focused on improving access to basketball and football. NBA through grassroots and elite development, media distribution, partnerships with businesses, NBA Africa Games, the launch of BALL, and more.
The funding will contribute to the growth of the BALL, help extend the NBAthe league’s presence in priority African markets and the African basketball ecosystem, and deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans through initiatives such as the launch of new NBA Academies and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families, including gender equality and economic inclusion efforts that the NBA and BALL announced in March.
Folawiyo, who is Nigerian, is president and CEO Yinka Folawiyo Group, a diversified Nigerian industrial group focused on oil exploration and production, energy trading, shipping and real estate. He is also a former director and minority shareholder of MTN Nigeria, telecommunications company, and chairman of Coronation Merchant Bank. Global Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh, Folawiyo is active with organizations focused on the education and promotion of young African leaders and entrepreneurs.
HFP is a Canada-based investment holding company that focuses on public and private investments in companies that operate primarily in Africa. HFP was created in 2020 through a business combination between Fairfax Africa Holdings and Helios Investment Partners’ management company, Helios Holdings Limited. HFP‘s Co-CEO, Lawani, is a Nigerian businessman with over 25 years of senior investment experience. He sits on the boards of various listed and private companies, including several large pan-African companies. A member of the MIT Harvard Law School’s Board of Trustees and Dean’s Advisory Board, Lawani received a BS in Chemical Engineering from MIT, a JD from Harvard Law School and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Quotes from the executive:
Chairman of the Yinka Folawiyo Group and CEO Babatunde “Tunde” Folawiyo:
“Sport has always been a unifier in Africa, and our people have always excelled in most areas, often far from home and against all odds. This is a unique opportunity for Africa to take advantage of the new economy and develop the commercial and innovation infrastructure in sport. I am truly delighted to be part of a group that understands this imperative alongside the power that is the NBA. The combination of world-class know-how and local society has been a solid formula for successful global businesses. We plan this for our partnership. This time around, success will be defined not only by return on investment, but by a lasting, long-term impact on the lives of our people. This is our goal. “
Helios Fairfax Partners Co-CEO Tope Lawani:
“Throughout the history of Helios, we have brought together international capital and expertise with African talents and companies, and this is a unique opportunity for us to do so in the world of sport by partnering with the NBA, a truly best-in-class operator. As a committed and experienced partner for companies operating across Africa, we look forward to bringing our expertise, connectivity and market knowledge to support NBA Africa’s growth across the continent. “
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:
“Today’s announcement is the result of many years of investment and work on the ground to develop basketball in Africa and the recognition of the tremendous opportunities ahead for the game. NBA on the continent. We believe that basketball can become a leading sport across Africa over the next decade, and I look forward to working closely with our investors to make this goal a reality.
NBA Africa CEO Victor williams:
“The success of the training and funding of NBA Africa as an autonomous entity bears witness to the rich history of NBA in Africa, the power of NBAthe vision for the growth of the game on the continent and the strong commitment of our exceptional new partners to support this vision. I want to thank the whole NBA The Africa team, led for ten years by Amadou Gallo Fall and John Manyo-Plange, for the work they have done to lay the foundations of the game on the continent that made this step possible.
NBA Global Ambassador and NBA African investor Dikembe Mutombo:
“This is a historic day for basketball in Africa, and I am honored to join this special group of leaders who are committed to the continent and to using the game to improve people’s lives. I am fortunate to have been among the first players in Africa to have an impact in the NBA, and thanks to the commitment of these people, countless other players will have the opportunity to follow in my footsteps in the years to come.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
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the NBA is a global sports and media company built around four professional sports leagues: the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the NBA G League and the NBA League 2K. the NBA and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) also jointly operate the Basketball Africa League (BALL). the NBA has established a major international presence with games and programs available in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages, and products for sale in more than 100,000 stores in 100 countries on six continents. NBA The rosters at the start of the 2020-2021 season included 107 international players from 41 countries. NBA The advantages of digital include NBA TV, www.NBA.com, the NBA App and NBA League pass. the NBA has created one of the largest social media communities in the world, with 1.9 billion likes and followers worldwide across all league, team and player platforms. Through NBA Cares, the league addresses important social issues by working with internationally recognized youth organizations that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes.
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