The NBA will return to London in January 2016 for a regular-season game between the Orlando Magic and the Toronto Raptors, the league confirmed Wednesday. It will be the sixth regular-season game the NBA has played in the United Kingdom as part of the league’s ongoing effort to expand its basketball operations internationally.
The Magic and the Raptors are scheduled to face off Jan. 16 at the O2 Arena, which has played host to each of the NBA’s regular-season games in London. Toronto played a pair of regular-season games against the New Jersey Nets in 2011, while Orlando played two exhibition games in London in 1993, the Guardian reported.
“This underscores our commitment to growing basketball in the region,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, according to the BBC. Last year, the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks played a regular-season game in London.
“NBA Global Games 2016 in London is a great platform for our players and staff to represent the NBA and bond with Raptors fans overseas,” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey added. “We look forward to an exciting atmosphere for our game against the Magic.”
Several teams have played games overseas in recent years as part of the NBA’s Global Games series. The league announced in March that the Charlotte Hornets and the Los Angeles Clippers would travel to China in October for exhibition games in Shenzhen and Shanghai. The NBA will also play its first-ever exhibition game in Africa on Aug. 1, with a team composed entirely of African-born players facing off against a team composed of the rest of the world’s best players.
A growing number of the NBA’s players were internationally born. A record 101 foreign-born players were listed on NBA rosters at the start of the 2014-15 NBA season, nearly a twofold increase from 2001. The San Antonio Spurs led the league with nine international players on their opening-day roster.