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MIGRATION, TOURISM AND NEAR-UNIVERSAL ACCESS TO BROADCASTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAVE UNLOCKED BILLIONS OF POTENTIAL FANS — but they don’t live in your city, and don’t necessarily speak your language. The next 10 years will be a gold rush, as professional teams and leagues race to claim this emerging audience.

Interest in American football is growing at a colossal speed in London and throughout Europe and is part of the global culture. Look at places such as India or Pakistan, where maybe the market is saturated with cricket while other sports have gone ignored. Billions of people in rural areas and great cities are thirsty for more sport. Even just 10 years ago they had to wait to read in the newspaper about these fantastic games being played by these gladiators a world away, but new technology and social media has changed all that. In 10 years from now, we won’t be talking about [putting] an NFL team in London because it will exist. We’ll be exploring options for teams in Dubai or Lahore. The TV rights will be enormous. There is a global thirst for sports more than any other sort of entertainment, because it taps into the core of all of us, no matter our upbringing or country of birth.

Shahid Kahn

Owner of NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham FC in the English Football League, Pakistani-American self-made billionaire.

Any sport looking to expand or broaden horizons should copy the NBA’s blueprint from 20 years ago. David Stern had a vision and he made it happen with grassroots sermonizing in places like Africa and China. Grow your brand with the intention of challenging and redefining your industry, while at the same time inspiring the world. Learn to see things differently or through someone else’s lens. In basketball, kids are taught to see things in mostly twos: a pick-and-roll, a give-and- go, a 1–2 fast break. In soccer, it’s all about multiple combinations and looking several steps ahead. If you train your eye to see different combinations, your brain will follow. It’s the same when you’re running a league or a team. See the future beyond your own court.

Kobe Bryant

It’s important to tap into the rising middle classes globally. These are fans who are analytically sound, who love to debate about players and teams, and those debates translate across borders. Whether they’re in Northern California or Mumbai, they’ll paint their faces and create a communal experience during game time. We tap into that passion with a Sacramento Kings website in Hindi. We host Google Hangouts during games for our international audience. By maintaining a strong alliance with fans in other countries, we also have unique opportunities to discover the next diamond in the rough, the next Yao Ming. Will he come from India, Russia? Is he now just a 10-year-old boy in India wearing a Kings or a Warriors jersey?

Vivek Ranadivé

Owner of NBA’s Sacramento Kings, Indian-American engineer, author, philanthropist and founder of real-time business computing company TIBCO.

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