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NBA signs deal to play preseason games in Abu Dhabi

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — The NBA is bringing two preseason games to Abu Dhabi next season, marking the first time the league will play in the Arabian Gulf.

The games will be in October 2022. The exact dates and the teams involved have not been announced.

No preseason games have been played outside of North America since 2019 because of the pandemic, though NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and others with the league have said for months it was targeting a return to overseas games in 2022.

“My hope it will be the following year,” Silver said at the last NBA Finals when asked about the return of the international Global Games. “Again, of course this is a global issue, COVID, and so it’s not just conditions here in the United States but the places at least where we have traditionally played and in Europe and Asia and in Latin America, we would need COVID rates to come way down there as well”

“Abu Dhabi is a vibrant multicultural hub with a demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events,” said NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, who was in Abu Dhabi to sign the league’s multiyear agreement with tourism officials there.