WORLD basketball governing body FIBA welcomed a new key global partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. for the next four years ahead of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Basketball World Cup 2023, where the Philippines is one of the host nations.

The partnership was unveiled at a virtual press conference on Thursday, attended by officials of FIBA, Smart and the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP).

Under the terms of the agreement, the Philippines’ leading mobile services provider is granted exclusivity in the category of telecommunications worldwide.

The partnership provides key commercial rights across all FIBA competitions, including the men’s and women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, FIBA Continental Cups for both men and women, FIBA Youth World Cups, the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2022 and FIBA’s pinnacle event, the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2023.

Smart will play a pivotal role in the lead-up to, and during, the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023, using its latest Smart 5G technology.

The Basketball World Cup 2023 is to take place for the first time across three nations — the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia — from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10, 2023.

The group phase will be held across all three host countries, with the final phase to follow in the Philippine capital city of Manila. 

FIBA and Smart will work together to create a wide array of exciting experiences for both athletes and fans around the world.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Smart Communications as a FIBA Global Partner. Joining forces with a leading telecommunications company such as Smart will bring unrivalled opportunities in the lead-up to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023,” said FIBA Secretary-General Andreas Zagklis, of the new partnership, in a statement.

“Giving our fans the best-ever experience, whether at home or in arenas, is a crucial aspect of any FIBA event, and even more so for this flagship competition. We are looking forward to working with Smart to harness their state-of-the-art technologies and 5G capabilities to deliver the most connected and engaging FIBA Basketball World Cup to date,” he added.

Smart and SBP officials also welcomed the opportunity to collaborate with FIBA through the “milestone” deal.

“Our partnership with FIBA is a milestone for the whole nation, just as it is for our company. Through Smart’s mobile innovations, we look forward to introducing immersive digital experiences that will bring hardcourt action to the fingertips of basketball fans around the world and connect us all in our love for the sport,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, PLDT Chairman, SBP Chairman Emeritus and FIBA Central Board Member.

“This is a huge step in bringing our athletes closer to the world stage. Smart has always been at the forefront when it comes to supporting Filipino athletes and their journey to greatness,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart President and CEO and SBP President, said for his part.

Meanwhile, Smart is also supporting FIBA’s “Don’t Miss A Beat Challenge” with athletes from Gilas Pilipinas, TNT Tropang Giga, NLEX Road Warriors, Ateneo Blue Eagles, San Beda Red Lions, and other celebrities, as well as and other exciting activities leading up to the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.

The Don’t Miss a Beat campaign aims to encourage all fans to have fun with music beats linked to basketball on social media channels such as a dribbling contest, among other highlights.

The #DontMissABeat will be seen across all of FIBA’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Weibo, and WeChat. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo