Last week, the NBA announced that its first European NBA Store will be opened in Milan, Italy. This announcement didn’t come exactly as a surprise in Italy, considering that recently other international brands such as Apple and Starbucks decided to open new stores in Milan. This new NBA Store will be located at Galleria Passarella close to Piazza San Babila in the heart of the shopping area of the city. The plan is to open the store during this coming season, most likely by Christmas, a league source told Def Pen Hoops. At the beginning of 2018, the NBA had opened the first store outside of the USA in Doha, Qatar.
The NBA Store will provide fans in Italy, and visitors from across Europe, with access to an extensive range of official NBA merchandise and memorabilia. This includes exclusive NBA products, apparel, jerseys, footwear, sporting goods, toys, and collectibles. The NBA will partner with EPI s.r.l, a company that specializes in the management of official online stores that several famous Italian football teams such as Juventus, Milan, Lazio, and Inter all have.
Lorenzo Forte, the CEO of EPI s.r.l, was enthusiastic about this brand new partnership with the NBA: “This project increases and diversifies our sports brand portfolio of those who have chosen to partner with EPI s.r.l. in the retail sector. With the support of the NBA and the work of our well-established team, we are confident we will create an innovative and engaging store where fans can enjoy an authentic NBA atmosphere and a totally unique shopping experience.”
For the opening of the NBA Store, NBA Head of Merchandising and Development Vice President Vandana Balachandar stressed the importance of this commercial move: “As the appetite for official NBA products continues to grow in Italy, our partnership with EPI s.r.l., a leader in the management of sports merchandise stores, will allow us to offer fans a wide range of official and exclusive merchandise to help them celebrate their passion for the NBA”
The NBA, of course, is always looking for opportunities to expand their brand globally and also find new ways to connect with their partners. It’s not surprising, for this reason, that Nike, now the official supplier of athletic apparel of the NBA, just opened a new store in Milan. At the launch of the brand new Nike Store was present San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli and footballing legend Andrea Pirlo. The store is located in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the most important areas of the city, and it’s three stories tall. It’s already expected to become one of the main focus points of the shopping life in Milan.
With the launch of the NBA Store and the Nike Store, Milano confirms itself as one of the most crucial cities for the NBA in Europe. The NBA Fan Zone, an event arranged every summer by the league in Milan, has quickly become one of the regular appointments of the NBA offseason overseas, with thousands of fans always attending the event and several NBA legends becoming the star of the day.
Even if a European conference in NBA remains a longshot, cities like Milan remain very important for the future of the league because they help the NBA in expanding its global brand even more. European fans are hungry and passionate about the NBA, and Milan is one of the cities where the merchandise is more requested. A dream for many NBA fans around Europe has finally become reality: there’s no longer need to fly to New York to buy official NBA merchandise, now you just can visit the NBA Store in Milan. Not bad, huh?