Bucks, Hawks To Play Preseason Games In Abu Dhabi

The NBA will head to the Middle East later this year, announcing today in a press release that the Bucks and Hawks will play a pair of preseason games in Abu Dhabi on October 6 and October 8, 2022.

The games will be the league’s first in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in the Arabian Gulf.

The NBA’s foray into international markets for preseason games has been on hold during the last couple years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it appears it will resume this fall.

In 2019, the league played preseason games in India, Japan, and China. Since ’19, regular season games have also been played in England, France, and Mexico. The Spurs reportedly hope to play more regular season home games in Mexico during the next couple seasons.

As Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details, commissioner Adam Silver was asked last month about playing in the UAE despite the country’s human rights record, and acknowledged it was a “fair question.”

“We look at many different factors in terms of how we travel, bring our games,” Silver said. “But our ultimate goal is to bring our games to everywhere around the world. There are lines we draw, but we’re an American company and usually we allow those lines to be drawn by our government. Whoever happens to be our administration gives us direction on where they think it’s appropriate for us to operate and not operate.”

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