NBA-related Web Sites Are Most Popular Overseas

The latest data on sports web sites from comScore show that Internet sites associated with the National Basketball Association get far more traffic from outside of North America than do sites connected to Major League Baseball, the National Football League or the National Hockey League.

That's no surprise, says Scott R. Rosner, associate director of the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, who noted that basketball's international popularity has been growing overseas since the US.all-professional "Dream Team" went to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. "That was the tipping point, the 'Dream Team' captured the imagination of the international basketball playing community." Basketball's overseas fan base has grown even more as China has taken up the sport with a passion, especially since Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming joined the NBA's Houston Rockets in 2002. Even the late Chairman Mao Zedong praised basketball as the most democratic of team sports, according to Rosner.

Rosner was no less surprised that NHL sites were more popular among upper-income Americans compared to the sites of other major pro sports. According to comScore, 36% of U.S. visitors to hockey sites had incomes of $100,000 or more, compared to 32.7% for baseball, 28.3% for football, 27.7% for basketball and 24.7% for all Internet sites.

"Hockey is a very expensive sport to play," Rosner said. "The equipment is expensive, the ice-time is expensive."