All Around The World
AND1′s streetball tour is back—and this time it’s global.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
After a two-year hiatus, they’re back!
Formerly know as the AND1 Mixtape Tour, the AND1 Live Tour will be looking to pick up where the brand left off last decade.
The streetball tour, which was re-launched last fall, has now returned with a global mindset. What started off in the blacktop of many inner city parks around the country will now be exhibited throughout the planet.
It all began in September of 2010, when AND1 started exploring new markets outside America. A trip to Panama, followed by a visit to Maarten in October, Suriname and Guyana in November, and Trinidad and Tobago in December gave management and the players all the signs necessary to realize that the rest of the world was ready to see a new level of basketball.
“Basketball is loved everywhere. But some countries don’t have the opportunity to see basketball at this level,” says Linda Hill, a partner of AND1 Live. “When I say this level, I mean the excitement of it, the skill, and the talent. So it was just intriguing to go to different countries and exhibit this talent of basketball to wherever the sport is loved.”
And so things are now ready to kick-off for AND1 next weekend (April 1-2), when they revisit Maarten. From April 25th to May 9th, they will be in Iraq for the “Tour for the Troops” where they will be entertaining the US Army and allies for seven games. The crew will then fly directly to South Africa, where they will stay from May 10th to the 15th and play three games. The AND1 Live Tour will then be in Mozambique from May 16th to the 20th for a game, before revisiting Panama from May 24th to the 25th for a couple of games. On May 26th, the team will visit Chile, before embarking on their East Africa Tour from June 4th to the 18th, where they will hit Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Botswana. From June 25th to July 1st, the team will play two games in Saudi Arabia. In addition, the team is currently working on finalizing the details of a 15-city west-coast tour from July 10th to August 10th.
Although basketball is considered the second most popular sport in the world, Hill believes this upcoming tour may show some signs of a change in the future.
“After visiting a lot of these markets where soccer is the number one sport for the last couple of years, I’m starting to see that basketball is shortly climbing up that ladder to maybe out-seeding soccer in some shape or form,” she says. “It just goes to show you a lot about the sport.”
This year’s world tour will have a major focus on Africa. The AND1 Live Africa 2011, which will be presented by the African Diamond Council, JFPI Corporation, and DSTV, will be the first of its kind. The African Diamond Council and the JFPI expressed the importance of the exciting sport of basketball to over 15 countries. The African Diamond Council is the organization that overseas policies, procedures and regulations of 12 diamond producing countries in the African continent. For Hill, bringing the tour to Africa will not only bring awareness and excitement about the streetball sport, but more importantly it will begin a direct relationship with a US company, B-BALL and Co., and the African Diamond Council.
Basketball is far from all that AND1 is looking to bring to Africa. The team looks forward to being active with the youth and the community through motivational meet and greets at schools, organizations, press conferences, and basketball clinics. DSTV will be exclusively filming and airing all games.
“We played a game there is December of 2010. It was amazing,” says Hill. “The turnout was great. And from that point on, they wanted to do 12 countries and in 2012 we have 32 countries set up. It just opened doors for other things.”
The tour—the travel, the basketball, everything—will be similar to what we’re used to seeing the Harlem Globetrotters undertake. But according to Rob Purvy, the Executive Director of AND1, the Live Tour offers its own style of basketball.
“I think at AND1, we are doing something similar to that of the Globetrotters but with our own spin,” says Purvy. “Just like in a restaurant you want to have access to everything on the menu, we are just another option on the menu.”
And as for taking the game of basketball, specifically streetball, into a global setting, Purvy believes the sphere has changed.
“Honestly, I feel as if, with all due respect to everyone else in basketball, that the world is catching up. If you go anywhere around the world, and if it’s a basketball-centric area and you mention AND1, it’s already known. So I think that AND1 was truly a pioneer of showing that the game, our game and brand has global appeal.”
With the groundwork set for a historic tour, the AND1 brand has done a tremendous job assembling their return into the game, in what looks to be a promising venture—on a global scale.