THE SPORTS ENTREPRENEURS
Scott Levy, a globetrotting senior US sports executive with a stellar resume and decades of achievements in the NBA. Get an inside scoop into the growth of the NBA internationally, and Scott’s role and journey over more than two decades with the organization.
- Passion for traveling inspired early after University, starting in the advertising world with Y&R and McCann-Erickson in New York City with a goal to combine his passion with work
- Joining the NBA in 1996 working in marketing and moving in Media and international television distribution
- His first decade at the NBA unpacked (1996-2006)
- Massive growth of global distribution, especially country by country deals – media a big focus of then Commissioner David Stern
- Over 20 deals in China alone, Shanghai Media story
- Clear strategy to keep everything in house, not using agencies – Scott explains the reason behind it
- David Stern, always pushing his team to get better, be the most educated guy in the room
- The impact of players on growth, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki and the US superstars from MJ to Kobe Bryant
- The different impacts of Yao and Dirk in their respective territories, Kobe and LeBron, social media exploits and travelling the globe
- Teams travelling globally to promote the League (pre-season games), comparing to European/UK Football Clubs. Decisions are centralized and coordinated by the League
- Initially teams often didn’t want to travel (Coaches preferred to train at home for pre-season) and now it’s a part of their global brand and team building
- Teams been travelling since the 90s, first in Japan, up to 6-8 teams now regularly travelling each year, mostly teams playing each other
- Teams now using Tours to expand fan base, bring in new sponsors, etc, also driven by more diverse group of NBA Team owners
- MJ Global Sports & Media – short 2-3 year break as consultant
- Back into the NBA for the second round (2009-2022)
- Coming back as SVP & Managing Director for NBA Asia based in Hong Kong
- His role, everything in region excluding Greater China (separate NBA China office), firstly “learn about Asia”
- Philippines, highest basketball affinity in the world – mad about the game – Eric Spoelstra visiting the Philippines
- India, important market and development started a decade ago
- Basketball Africa League (BAL) success and model, potential for other regions?
- NBA Digital platforms (NBA League Pass) – variety of feeds (Player, Refs & Mascot cams) different languages, local influencers calling a game in local language, different packages, fourth quarter pass, etc. Very customized to each region and country. As low as US$ 20 dollars (correction to US$ 10 dollars comment) per season
- Rakuten, important partnership in Japan (media partner) and globally
- Short form content, very important for engagement, vertical video format, finding the right mix, longer content demand growing (20-60 min)
- Local partnerships, depends on country, ie. Philippines, Australia and China has strong local partnerships
- Junior NBA program – healthy livestyle focus, more opportunities to grow with local partners
- Scott leaving the NBA, becoming a digital nomad, spending time between Asia and US – next moves
- Consulting companies in Web 3 space
- NBA Top Shot, NBA an early adopter in NFT space – US$ 1 billion dollar worth of transaction
- Scott sees exponential growth in the Web3 space from metaverse to Dao’s – still early days
- NB2K – a form of a metaverse already, NBA Fortnite – NBA All-Star Game content (16 million visiting NBA Hub in Fortnite)
- His focus is on being heavily immersed in this space in the foreseeable future on his own
- Final words on the current NBA Play-offs and teams in the Conference Finals
SCOTT LEVY, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, NBA Asia
As Executive Vice President & Managing Director of NBA Asia, Scott Levy oversees development and expansion of the NBA’s branding and basketball initiatives in Asia-Pacific, including Australia, India, Japan, Philippines, South Korea and other countries across Southeast Asia and Oceania. Levy directs all of NBA Asia and NBA India’s business groups, including media distribution, marketing and marketing partnerships, merchandising, events, digital media, and gaming. Levy reports to NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum.
Since Levy’s arrival in 2009, the league has dramatically expanded its local partnerships in Asia-Pacific, resulting in more than 460 retail locations and e-commerce sites, multiple new media and marketing partnerships, the launch of the Jr. NBA across Southeast Asia, and amassing more than 35 million followers from Asia across the league’s social media accounts.
From 2006 to 2009, Levy ran his own consulting company, MJ Global Sports and Media Inc. Levy previously worked for the NBA for 10 years and left as Senior Vice President, International Television and Marketing Partnerships. During his tenure, Levy helped grow broadcast distribution for NBA programming to more than 200 countries and 40 languages. Under his leadership, the NBA launched many new content offerings internationally, including NBA TV, the league’s 24-hour network.
Prior to beginning his first NBA stint in 1996, Levy traveled independently and extensively throughout China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Levy is on the board of the Global Health Society, a nonprofit organization that conducts camps and develops programs for children with bleeding disorders. He has competed in multi-sport and adventure races, including the New York Marathon, Oxfam Japan Trailwalker and many triathlons raising funds for Fred’s Team and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Levy is based in Hong Kong with his wife Ilene and sons Matthew and Joshua.