Explore the potential for the NBA UK Games' much-anticipated return in 2025. We break down the possible schedule, dates, and teams.

Since 1993, the NBA has been hosting games in England, starting with the Orlando Magic and the Atlanta Hawks facing off in back-to-back pre-season matchups at Wembley Arena. According to Sky Sports, two more pre-season games took place in 1995, featuring the Houston Rockets playing against international teams.

Following a 12-year hiatus, the NBA returned to London in 2007 when the Boston Celtics took on the Minnesota Timberwolves in another pre-season clash, marking the first game held at The O2.

Over the next few years, various friendlies were staged at The O2, involving teams such as the New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Los Angeles Lakers.

With a growing UK fan base, the NBA officially introduced regular-season games in London in 2011, when the Nets faced the Toronto Raptors in back-to-back match-ups in March.

After a brief hiatus in 2012, the NBA returned to The O2 in January 2013, and the London game has been a New Year fixture ever since - that was until the last game in January 2019 marked a temporary halt to the tradition.

In this blog post, we discuss whether the NBA could return to England next year, when and where the games could be hosted, and how you can be the first to secure your seat!

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What dates could the NBA UK Games schedule fall on in 2025?

Disappointed by the slow growth of basketball in the UK, the NBA turned its attention to other European markets with a stronger affinity for the sport. After the 2019 season, the NBA shifted its international games to Paris, due to the huge popularity of basketball in France.

The NBA has since hosted two regular season games in the French capital, with the upcoming NBA Paris Games scheduled for 23rd and 25th January 2025. These games will see the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs compete.

Buy India Pacers vs San Antonio Spurs VIP tickets - 23rd Jan

Buy India Pacers vs San Antonio Spurs VIP tickets - 25th Jan

However, in 2022 Managing Director of NBA Europe and Middle East, Ralph Rivera, told The Mirror: “We’ll eventually come back here (to the UK),” he says. “I think we had a streak of about eight straight years when we were in the UK, so it was time to kind of share the love a little bit and move it to some other spots in Europe, because we only have one European game.

“But we’ll eventually come back, because the O2 is obviously a world-class arena and London is just a massive sporting destination in itself.”

Despite the perceived lack of enthusiasm for basketball in the UK, a 2023 article published by Basketball England, the National Governing Body (NGB) for England, highlighted a promising trend. Sport England's Active Lives survey revealed that '1.1 million children and young people are now playing basketball on a weekly basis – marking a five-year high.'

The survey also indicated a '6.4% increase in boys' participation and a 2.4% increase in girls' participation, with nearly 800,000 boys and 400,000 girls playing the game on a weekly basis.'

Given this surge in popularity among young people, could we see a resurgence of basketball in the UK by 2025? If so, it's possible that the sport could make its return in March next year, avoiding any scheduling conflicts with the NBA Paris Games in January.

Where could the 2025 NBA UK Games be held?

Traditionally, NBA UK Games have been hosted in London. Should the Games make a comeback in the UK, there is a possibility that other locations such as Birmingham, Manchester, or Cardiff could be considered.

What teams have competed in the NBA London Games?

  • Toronto Raptors vs New Jersey Nets, 4th & 5th March 2011
  • New York Knicks vs Detriot Pistons, 17th January 2013
  • Brooklyn Nets vs Atlanta Hawks, 16th January 2014
  • New York Knicks vs Milwaukee Bucks, 15th January 2015
  • Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic, 14th January 2016
  • Indiana Pacers vs Denver Nuggets, 12th January 2017
  • New York Knicks vs Washington Wizards, 17th January 2019

What happened at the NBA London Game 2019?

The 2019 NBA London Games brought thrilling basketball action to The O2 arena on 17th January, as the Washington Wizards faced off against the New York Knicks in a regular-season showdown.

This highly anticipated event marked the NBA's ninth regular-season game in London. The Knicks emerged victorious with a narrow 101-100 win in front of a sold-out crowd, delivering an electrifying performance that left fans on the edge of their seats.

How to secure your seat at the NBA UK Games

While the NBA's return to the UK is pending confirmation, we invite you to register your interest with Seat Unique, the leading provider of premium tickets and experiences.

By joining the Seat Unique mailing list, you will receive updates and be among the first to know about the availability of VIP tickets and hospitality packages for potential NBA events in the UK.

Register your interest in NBA UK Games hospitality