Pacers to play 2017 regular-season game in London

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Two Indianapolis professional sports teams are set to play regular-season games in London during their upcoming seasons.

On Thursday, Indiana Pacers officials announced the team will play the Denver Nuggets in London on Jan. 12. 

Last November, the NFL announced the Indianapolis Colts were chosen to play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London’s Wembley Stadium on Oct. 2.

The Pacers will play in The O2 Arena, a 20,000-seat venue in London. The game will be designated as a home game for the Nuggets.

It will be the first time the Pacers have traveled overseas for a regular-season game. The team has previously played preseason games in China, Philippines, Taiwan, Germany and Spain.
“The Indiana Pacers are excited and really look forward to playing in London,” Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said in a written statement. “It’s not only exciting for our players, but our franchise. It’s a great opportunity for more NBA exposure overseas, and we’re very pleased for the Pacers to be part of that exposure.”

The NBA sent several teams to Europe in the 1980s to play club teams, but it wasn’t until 1993 that two league teams—Orlando and Atlanta—played each other in a preseason game in Europe. The first regular-season NBA game wasn’t played in Europe until New Jersey played Toronto in London in 2011. NBA teams also have played a handful of games in Asia.

In recent years, the league has made a big push to market its game—which they feel is a global one—overseas. The Asian and European markets are seen as fertile markets for merchandise sales and broadcast deals, league sources said.

Pacers President Rick Fuson said the team’s game in London will be good for Indiana and Indianapolis.

“It’s a great honor to be selected by the NBA to play in NBA Global Games London this upcoming season,” Fuson said in written comments. "With both the Pacers and Colts playing in London within a matter of months, it’s great exposure not only for each team on their own, but a chance to share Indianapolis’ and Indiana’s passion for our pro sports teams on an international stage."

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