The NBA has signed a new deal to bring two preseason games to Abu Dhabi in 2022, marking the first time the league will play in the Persian Gulf, The Associated Press reported.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, who was in Abu Dhabi to sign the deal, said that the city is a "vibrant multicultural hub [with a] demonstrated track record of hosting world-class sporting events," according to the newswire.

The exact dates and the teams involved have not been announced, however, ESPN reports that it is a multi-year deal between the NBA and the Department of Culture and Tourism of Abu Dhabi.


The deal will also see the creation of junior basketball programs in the UAE and support basketball development in the Gulf along with clinics and appearances by NBA stars.

"Hosting NBA and NBA 2K League games and events in Abu Dhabi builds on our commitment to growing basketball around the world," NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer Mark Tatum said, according to ESPN.

"Through this partnership, we will bring the authentic NBA experience to fans in the UAE and support basketball development in the region by providing more opportunities for young boys and girls to learn and play the game," he added.

Abu Dhabi's government media office also tweeted the announcement, and said that this further strengthens the emirate's position on the global sports stage.

Over the last few years, Abu Dhabi has been focused on turning the city into a global sports hub. The capital of the United Arab Emirates already hosts the UFC, Formula One grand prix, and other international sports and entertainment events.