NBA viewership jumps in Brazil, Australia and the Philippines

NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs
Mar 11, 2017; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills (8) shoots the ball over Golden State Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston (34) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 4 (Reuters) - The NBA has seen a spike in viewership in Brazil, Australia and the Philippines, demonstrating that the league's efforts to grow the game outside of North America is bearing fruit.

In Brazil, National Basketball Association games this season are drawing a 16% larger average audience compared to last season, rising to fourth among countries outside the United States in largest total audience, the league said.

The South American nation has also seen a jump in NBA League Pass subscriptions, jersey sales and social media engagement.

Australia has seen a 35% larger average audience compared to last season, including a 27% jump in viewership for the NBA's Christmas day suite of games.

The league's opening night roster featured eight Australian players including veteran guard Patty Mills and rising star Josh Giddey, who are driving interest in their home country.

The NBA has also enjoyed growth in viewership and on social media in the Philippines. The NBA's Facebook page has more than 8.5 million followers from the Philippines, the No. 1 country outside the United States.

"We're very pleased with the growth in viewership and consumption we're experiencing this season in a number of international markets, including Australia, Brazil and the Philippines, all of which have extremely passionate NBA fan bases," Matt Brabants, head of international content partnerships at the NBA, told Reuters.

"The NBA's popularity continues to grow around the world, and as we head into NBA All-Star 2022 and the playoff race heats up, we anticipate this trend will continue in markets around the world."

The NBA All-Star game in Feb. 20 in Cleveland and the playoffs tip off on April 16.

Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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