Hoop Fans Game Plan: Global Full-Court Press

It’ll be 9 a.m. in Beijing when the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers tip off the NBA Finals tonight in Los Angeles. But the early hour has not deterred students at Beijing University from organizing a special viewing party to watch the game live.

The young Chinese basketball fans will be joining an estimated 2.5 billion viewers worldwide who will be tuning in to the games, making up the biggest global audience for any basketball event in the history of the game. In other countries and other time zones, students in other universities will be hanging out together during the wee hours to watch tonight’s game and subsequent games in the NBA Finals.

The fantastic global reach of this year’s Finals is the strongest testimony yet to the massive following basketball is gaining throughout the world. More than 90 broadcasters from international networks have set up operations at Staples Center for tonight’s opening joust.