Image: Golli.

Is the NBA very popular in Iceland?

 In Ask IR, Magazine, Sport

Q: Is the NBA very popular in Iceland?

A: 

It’s difficult to give a true yes-or-no on this question. It was huge in the 90s during the height of Jordan mania, with lots of people collecting NBA cards. Nowadays, basketball is one of the biggest sports in the country along with football and handball, with 7,142 practitioners. The Icelandic basketball team is improving, having qualified for the European championships EuroBasket for the first time in 2015, and again 2017.

That being said, it’s difficult to watch US games due to the time difference. Many NBA fans watch East Coast games, or games on Sunday which are often played earlier than regularly scheduled games. Some also watch condensed versions of the games the day after, or the daily Top 10 plays. News outlet Vísir covers the NBA very well, with news semi-daily, even in the off-season. NBA highlights are often shown in sports news, part of the daily evening news in the two TV news outlets in the country. So, avid sports fans in Iceland will recognise the top players in the NBA. It’s nowhere close to the popularity of English Premier League football, but it definitely piques the interest of Icelandic sports fans in ever growing numbers.

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