Will the World Cup Raise Interest In Basketball In The Philippines?

Basketball holds a position as the Philippines’ favorite sport and possesses an ability to unite Filipinos from all walks of life. The nation ranks third globally as the biggest basketball market, and an impressive 81% of dwellers proudly consider themselves basketball enthusiasts, with almost half of them being avid fans.

However, it appears the 2023 World Cup might just have succeeded in bringing even more Filipino fans to the sport. 

During the 2023 Basketball World Cup held jointly in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, passionate Filipino fans were presented with a range of viewing options. A total of 238 watch parties were organized across 92 locations nationwide. For those who preferred watching from their homes, live streams and pay-per-view subscriptions were readily available to ensure that the tournament’s thrilling moments resonated with audiences near and far.

During the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup, the FIBA single-game attendance record was broken by Filipino supporters. This took place during the opening match, against the Dominican Republic, when 38,115 enthusiastic fans packed the arena, surpassing the attendance record set back in 1994. 

This significant milestone not only highlights the huge support for basketball in the Philippines, but will also go a long way in bolstering the nation’s sense of achievement as the eyes of the world were firmly fixed on proceedings. Basketball is just one activity in the sports industry growing with betting opportunities too, which has only added to its popularity. In fact, betting on all leagues is extremely popular in the Philippines, one of the only Asian countries with widespread, legal sports betting. Many sportsbooks even offer betting markets on college games, which has no doubt contributed to the betting industry’s market size of over $291 million in the Philippines in 2023.

So, what does the future hold for the Philippines after the success of the 2023 Basketball World Cup? It might be a bit too early to say for sure. Yet, if we consider tourism figures that demonstrate how popular and well-received the tournament was among visitors, it seems realistic to say that there will be positive economic and social effects in its aftermath.

The Department of Tourism reported increases in visitor numbers from other countries. For instance, there has been a: 

  • 700% rise in tourists from the Dominican Republic
  • 600% increase from Latvia
  • 595.85% from China
  • 444.58% from Lithuania
  • 429.07% from Serbia

Hosting such a prestigious event is expected to continue reaping benefits. The influx of tourists, sponsors and extensive media coverage has generated a buzz of excitement and optimism for the future. 

But will basketball itself prove to become even more popular, thanks to the amazing spectacle that was the World Cup earlier this year?

There are three potential avenues through which watching sports can stimulate increased participation in large sports events, a phenomenon commonly referred to as the “demonstration effect.” Firstly, it can inspire individuals already engaged in sports to elevate their level of involvement and commitment. Additionally, it can motivate people who have stopped participating in sports to start again. Lastly, individuals can be motivated by the spectacle to venture into sports they have never before explored.

As to whether or not the FIBA World Cup will raise interest in basketball in the Philippines, given the extreme popularity that the sport already boasts in the country, only time will tell.

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