The NBA has opened an office in Russia, shortly after approving Mikhail Prokhorov as owner of the New Jersey Nets.
Deputy commissioner Adam Silver made the announcement Thursday, saying the league wanted to move closer to its fan base in Russia and Eastern Europe. Former NBC Universal executive Egor Borisov also was hired as vice president of development for the region.
The announcement came the day the U.S. beat Russia in the quarterfinals of basketball's world championship.
Prokhorov, a billionaire who became the NBA's first owner from outside North America, said he looks ''forward to working together with the NBA to create more opportunities for boys and girls and students throughout Russia to become active basketball participants.''
The NBA's Atlanta Hawks toured the Soviet Union in 1988, and Russian power CSKA Moscow will play three preseason games in the United States against NBA teams.
''This is a great time for the NBA to expand its presence in Russia, especially given Mikhail Prokhorov's commitment to further grow the sport in the country,'' Silver said in a statement.
The NBA now has offices in 16 worldwide markets.