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Caitlin Clark, Tyrese Haliburton see popularity increase overseas

Indy teams see popularity increase overseas

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Generations of Hoosiers have grown up rooting for the Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever, and Indianapolis Colts, but now, there is a new fan base overseas.

President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment Mel Raines said 75% of the Pacers social media followers are not from the U.S., and 60% of the Fever’s followers are not from the U.S.

“Basketball is the number two most popular team sport in the world,” Raines said. “It’s been growing for years.”

Haliburton is also the fifth-most followed NBA player in China.

“People like him, he’s not tall, he has an awkward shot he looks like he could be you in some ways so that’s really translated in China.”

Raines, along with Colts Sales and Marketing Chief Roger VanDerSnick and Vice President of Andretti Global Technologies Marissa Andretti, touted their respective sports’ worldwide popularity at the Indiana 2024 Global Economic Summit.

“We knew when we bid on the All-Star Game that it would bring an international audience and international journalists, and one of our goals when hosting was to really showcase our city to that international audience,” said Raines.

It’s not just basketball. Andretti said 97% of all hotel rooms in the city are full ahead of the Indianapolis 500.

“The amount of people that come in from all over the world, it is truly the greatest spectacle in racing,” Andretti said. “It brings people together like never before.”

The Colts were recently granted international marketing rights in Austria and Germany. The Colts defeated the Patriots in a game played in Frankfurt, Germany, last year, and team officials say they haven’t ruled out future contests in that part of Europe.