The Sixers are losing a home game, but their fans are gaining what could be a hell of a road trip. In conjunction with the NBA, the Sixers officially announced they will be play a game in London during the 2017-18 regular season, with the franchise set to play the Boston Celtics there on Thursday, January 11.
For those of you who watch all the games from home, this won’t change much aside from the time you’ll have to tune into the game, but there is an important catch tied to this game: the Sixers will technically lose a home game in the deal, since they are the nominal “home” team for the game at O2 Arena.
Still, that doesn’t appear to have dampened the excitement of Sixers higher-ups, who all weighed in about the opportunity to play a regular season game outside the country.
“Participating in NBA London Game 2018 is a great opportunity for our players to compete in front of an international audience at the historic O2 Arena,” said head coach Brett Brown. “I have fond memories of coaching the Australian national team in London during the 2012 Olympics. The basketball fans there are very passionate and I am looking forward to playing the Celtics there in January.”
Brown may be playing up the opportunity, but the Sixers’ involvement does raise some immediate questions about the rest of their schedule. Sixers representatives remained mum on that subject, citing the NBA’s desire to keep the schedule (mostly) under wraps, so that will be a big question heading into the full schedule release, which is allegedly coming any day now.
Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo mostly echoed Brown’s sentiment. “The NBA has done an exceptional job of attracting and cultivating fans from across the world,” he said, “and we’re thrilled to bring the Philadelphia 76ers to London, a special city with rich culture and tradition.”
With news breaking yesterday about the team playing on Christmas Day against the New York Knicks, this further confirms the excitement around the franchise heading into this season. The Sixers were an obvious partner for the league here, since the team’s owners also own a London-based soccer team, Crystal Palace F.C., and who the hell wouldn’t want to go see Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and the rest of the gang tear it up on another continent?
Tickets will become available starting in October, and if you want to stay up to date on ticket availability or even just register your interest for tickets, head to NBA.com/London for more details.