The tournament is billed as a “global youth basketball tournament for elite 13- and 14-year-old boys and girls teams from around the world.” The first event is slated to be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla. between August 7 and August 12.
The deal may raise eyebrows, as the NBA has deals in place with both Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s Turner to broadcast its main games. But the league has ties to Fox as well. ” We have a longstanding relationship with Fox that includes partnerships with 17 of our teams through its family of regional sports networks,” said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs, in an emailed statement. “Fox shares our commitment to the Jr. NBA World Championship and our goals of showcasing a values-driven youth sports event that is global in nature and inclusive of both boys and girls. Fox offered up terrific national platforms across broadcast and cable to highlight the tournament and we’re looking forward to building on this unique event.”
Under terms of the pact, Fox Sports is expected to air 16 games totaling 20 hours of programming. On Saturday, Aug. 11 and Sunday, Aug. 12, Fox will feature more than 10 hours of programming, including the boys and girls U.S. and international championship games, as well as the World Championship games between those winners. Select domestic and international pool play and elimination games will air on FS1. All games will be simulcast on the Fox Sports app, which provides live streaming video of Fox Sports content through iOS and Android devices.
“We jumped at the opportunity to partner with the NBA on this unique event,” said Mark Silverman, president of national networks at FOX Sports, in a statement. “The NBA’s stars of tomorrow – the next Dwyane Wade or Candace Parker – might get their first big turns in the spotlight with us, right here at Fox Sports.”
Fox Sports will also highlight off-court culture of the tournament in its ancillary coverage. Boys and girls from dozens of countries around the world will participate in activities – often alongside current and former NBA and WNBA players – including life skills education, physical and mental wellness programming and community service projects.
The Jr. NBA World Championship features both boys and girls divisions, each composed of eight U.S. and eight international teams, separated into U.S. and international brackets that include round-robin and single-elimination competition. The winning boys and girls teams from eight newly-created U.S. regional tournaments as well as teams representing eight international regions (Africa & Middle East, Asia Pacific, Canada, China, Europe, India, Mexico and South America), will compete in the Jr. NBA World Championship in August.