Google is increasing its investment in basketball, becoming the first women's-only global partner with FIBA.
The internet company entered a multiyear partnership with the WNBA in 2021 and now is working with basketball's world governing body, which has nine global partners for both men's and women's basketball.
“It opens up a wide range of opportunities not only for the exposure of women’s basketball, but also it gives a sense of validation for all those members of our women’s basketball community, from volunteers in clubs around the world all the way to the top executives in leagues and federations,” FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
“If a company like Google believes in the potential of women’s basketball, it is clear that what we have been trying to do, bringing women’s basketball closer to the average basketball fan as well as opening up to new audiences, is gradually becoming a reality.”
The partnership will begin next month at the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup in Sydney, which starts on Sept. 22. Google will be the presenter of the All-Star Five that recognizes the best players of the tournament. While this year's World Cup is down from 16 teams to 12, Zagklis said future tournaments would go back to 16 teams starting in 2026 and potentially have even more involved.
Google and FIBA will collaborate with ESPN to broadcast six games live on the network — the most ever shown from the tournament. The partnership runs through the end of 2022 and will be re-evaluated afterward, with the hope of extending it.
“At Google, we’re committed to championing equal representation in sports,” said Kate Johnson, the company's director of global sports, media and entertainment marketing. “As FIBA’s first-ever global women’s partner, we’re proud to help bring even more women’s basketball content to U.S. airwaves and introduce fans to the global game.”
Google’s work with FIBA is an extension of the company’s efforts to increase visibility and coverage of women’s sports. The company worked with the WNBA and ESPN to deliver more nationally televised regular-season games and added a dedicated segment for women’s sports on “SportsCenter.”
“The FIBA partnership came off the work we did with the WNBA,” Johnson said. “All 25 playoff games are being broadcast. We want to think about women's sports and outside of the Olympics, the World Cup is a major event in women's basketball.”
Google is looking into having player partnerships as well in the near future.
More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports