NBA’s Washington Wizards launch Arabic social media channels

Basketball team says new accounts will boost the Wizards’ global outreach and connect it with Arab American fans.

Washington Wozards
NBA teams have been facing off in preseason games ahead of the start of the regular season this month [Issei Kato/Reuters]


That is how the newly created Arabic social media accounts of the NBA’s Washington Wizards sign off their posts as part of a new campaign to connect the basketball franchise with Arabic-speaking audiences.

Late last week, the Wizards became the first NBA team to launch Arabic-language accounts on Twitter and Instagram as part of a campaign to increase the team’s international presence.

“We are excited to add Arabic-language social platforms to our global portfolio,” Wizards official Jim Van Stone said. “We know that Arabic-speaking basketball fans are going to enjoy our content and will feel more connected to the Wizards.”

Translation: Anthony Gill welcomes you to the Washington Wizards’ new Arabic channels. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more.

The team said the new channels are also an outlet to connect it with Arab American fans in the Washington, DC, area.

Sports teams around the world have been pushing to link up with international audiences, including in the Middle East. Most top European football teams have Arabic social media channels. Qatar is set to host the FIFA World Cup next month, the first time the tournament will be held in the region.

The NBA itself started Arabic social media channels this year.

So far, the Wizards’ Arabic accounts have published posts that mirror that of their English-language accounts, including updates from a preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

In one of the first posts on Friday, the team’s power forward Anthony Gill greeted followers with “Assalamu alaikum,” which means “Peace be upon you.”

“We’re really excited to be connecting with our Arabic-speaking friends throughout the year,” he said.

A constant feature of the posts so far has been the hashtag “yallawizards”, which roughly translates as “Come on, Wizards.” “Yalla” is a word of encouragement in Arabic associated with cheering on sports teams.

The launch of the Wizards’ Arabic social media accounts coincided with the first NBA games in the Arab world as Abu Dhabi hosted two preseason matches between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks last week.

“As the NBA continues to expand globally, we look forward to visiting Abu Dhabi and furthering the league’s goals of inspiring people through basketball” Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin said in a statement previewing the games in May. “We will be proud to represent our city, our state and Bucks fans worldwide this October.”

The NBA has hosted games in Paris, London and China in recent years. Players from outside the United States and Canada have also been growing in numbers and importance in the league with Greek power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Serbian centre Nikola Jokic winning the Most Valuable Player Award in the past four years.

The new NBA season kicks off on October 19 with the San Francisco-based Golden State Warriors looking to defend their title.

Source: Al Jazeera