The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets played two regular season NBA games in London in March 2011
PHOTO: Getty Images
The Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets played two regular season NBA games in London in March 2011

Story highlights

NBA confirms a third regular season game to be held at The O2 in London next year

Match in January 2013 will be between Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks

The NBA has played a total of 115 matches internationally since 1988

NFL and NHL have also held matches in London to help boost profile

(CNN) —  

It seems London is now a permanent fixture on the illustrious, globetrotting NBA calendar.

The host city of this year’s Olympics will stage its third regular season match in 2013 as the Detroit Pistons take on the New York Knicks.

The two teams boast five NBA titles between them and the high-profile fixture is an indication the league plans to continue spreading its tentacles far and wide in a bid to boost the sport’s popularity.

And for Knicks duo Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler it represents a chance to return to the venue where they helped Team USA take gold during the 2012 Olympic Games.

“I am excited to show our great fans in London what New York basketball is about,” New York Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson said in a statement.

“For Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to return to the city where they helped Team USA win the Gold makes it even more special for our team.”

“London was the epicenter of global sports this summer, and the Olympics were a tremendous showcase for basketball,” NBA Commissioner David Stern added.

“Playing our third regular-season game in the city in three years and having historic franchises like the Knicks and Pistons serve as our ambassadors provide extraordinary opportunities to further the game’s growth and development in the UK and throughout Europe.”

The NBA has played a total of 115 matches internationally since 1988, with 16 regular season games held in Mexico and Japan as well as the UK.

It was the first professional sports league in the United States to hold a regular-season match on foreign soil when the first clash of the 1990/91 season was contested between the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz in Tokyo.

Once the Pistons and the Knicks face each other in London, a total of 61 NBA games featuring 26 teams will have been played in 18 European cities since 1988.

Other popular U.S. sports have also traveled to foreign climes in recent years to help boost their profile.

The NFL has hosted regular season games in England’s capital since 2007. The New England Patriots are due to play the St Louis Rams at Wembley on October 28 this year.

With the NHL also staging ice hockey games in London it leaves only baseball yet to explore a potentially lucrative stream of revenue, though the MLB has previously said it is keen on the idea.

For the Knicks, this will be their first trip to London for a regular-season match though they have played preseason games in Italy and France.

The Pistons have not played any sort of competitive match in Europe but their president, Dennis Mannion, says the players are excited by the opportunity.

“Playing a regular-season game in London against the New York Knicks will provide a great experience for our players and we look forward to showcasing our brand of Hard, Smart and Together Detroit Basketball to fans on a global scale.”