Former NBA All-Star Danny Ainge sees demand for international players

The Utah Jazz is casting its net wide for international players. 

“We have scouts all over the world — almost every basketball country throughout the world,” Danny Ainge, the team’s CEO and governor, told CNBC’s “Halftime Report” on Friday.

The two-time champion of the National Basketball Association and former NBA All-Star highlighted having scouts in countries throughout South America, Europe and Asia, as well as every region in the U.S.

“It’s a worldwide sport, and we got to find them all,” he said.

His remarks come after the NBA announced in October that a record 125 international players — five of which were on the Utah Jazz — were on opening-night rosters for the 2023-24 season. Those players hailed from 40 countries and territories across six continents, with a record from Canada at 26 and France at 14.

All 30 NBA teams feature at least one international player this season.

International ticket sales also saw a 120% increase from last season, according to StubHub. Fans are traveling from a total of 92 countries to North American games, which is up from 68 countries last season.

Ainge joined the Utah Jazz as CEO in December 2021 after leading basketball operations for the Boston Celtics for 18 years.

Utah Jazz’s valuation currently sits at $3.09 billion, according to data from research firm Statista. This marks a 52.59% increase from last year and a 76.57% increase since the year Ainge joined the franchise.

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