FIBA 3X3 Basketball Gains In Popularity & Brands Are Taking Notice

Kathryn Kuchefski
Instant Sponsor
Published in
5 min readMay 23, 2019

“Everybody has fun. The players, the audience, they have a really good time, they are surrounded by music, it’s in the open air. It’s global, it’s urban, it’s a show.”

-Dusan Bulut, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3x3 world number one-ranked player

3x3 basketball is not only considered the number one urban sport but for the first time is being introduced as an Olympic Sport in Tokyo 2020. The growth of 3x3 in large part has to do with FIBA’s (International Basketball Federation) motivated and far-reaching vision for the game.

The game’s versatility is key to its universal nature. Anybody can participate in a game and games can take place both indoors and outdoors. All that is needed is one net, a half-court, and six players. The rules are specifically designed to make the game entertaining and fast-paced with a dash of urban culture. Each game is capped at 10 minutes or the first team to reach 21 points all of which lends itself to the short attention span of today’s fans.

“I don’t see us going into traditional arenas. This is more like the AVP Tour. A lively, colorful event that adds fun and youthful energy,” stated league founder Michael Wranovics. “It’s about much more than the game itself. We’re going to create a festival atmosphere with VR 360 activations, selfie walls, food trucks, beer gardens, and high energy music.”

Brands have also taken notice. The fast-paced nature of the game and shortened format gives brands the ability to create short-form content pieces that grab viewers’ attention, and that is essential to the growth of brands of the future. 3x3 is live sports at its best.

“It is so fast. You need to think quickly. If you want to be at a high level you have to develop all types of skill,” stated Dusan Bulut. “You need to play defense; you need to play offense; you need to know how to dribble the ball; you need to have a good three-point shot.”

Such a vibe has attracted many new players, and due to the success and growth of the game, it will now hit the global stage. On June 9, 2017, 3x3 basketball officially was added to the Tokyo 2020 Games schedule.

“It’s the fastest, most intense basketball you have ever seen,” stated league founder and CEO Michael Wranovics when discussing how the league can appeal to and provide the next generation of sports fans with a captivating product. “We all love faster. We all love more intense. And these games are shorter too, which injects them with a sense of urgency and makes the content a lot easier to consume as well.”

Wilson Sporting Goods has been a partner of FIBA since 2015. The two groups have recently extended their partnership through 2028, and while the game of basketball is the priority, 3x3 has become Wilson’s focus. Wilson sees the exponential growth of the game and wants in on the action.

“While we’re number one in the U.S., we want to be number one globally,” stated Wilson President Mike Dowse. “This relationship with FIBA helps introduce us to the world. There’s not a region in the world [where] FIBA 3×3 isn’t being played.”

“3×3 is the largest urban sport in the world and growing at a fast rate,” . “This game is exciting to play and fun to watch, and we are thrilled to be at the center of the action for many more years to come.”

“FIBA is a tremendous partner, and we look forward to working with players and teams globally to look for more ways we can enhance their play through our products and services.”

However, because 3x3 is not played under controlled conditions, Wilson’s new agreement with FIBA’s 3x3 Game is focused around designing a new ball specifically engineered to be played in a variety of conditions and climates. Wilson’s innovation sector, Wilson LABS has built “Wave Triple Threat Technology” into the new ball. Not only does the new ball have 24 additional grooves intended to provide more grip points, but it is also a bit weightier to help improve a players control over his/her shots during the “quick and rough” games.

“3×3 is a different sport,” stated Kevin Murphy, Wilson general manager of team sports. “It’s not played controlled conditions, per se. [It could be] playing in the streets. It could be dusty, rainy, windy. We developed a ball that players like to play with in basically any condition.”

Wilson wants to be clear that their interest in the growth and innovation of the 3x3 game will not affect their dedication to the traditional 5-on-5 game or their commitment to being the official ball of the NCAA tournament. Wilson’s focus is the overall growth of the game. Their partnership with FIBA is meant to build all aspects of the sport not only in the U.S. but around the world. The focus is the long-game and what products will make for the most successful future of basketball.

The hope is to give 3BALL a more prominent name supported by top brands as it heads to the 2020 Olympic Games.

Tokyo 2020 Men’s and Women’s 3x3 Basketball Tournaments Competition Format

Pool Phase
*The eight teams are in one single pool and play all other teams over four days (2 pool games per day on Days 1, 2 and 3 and last pool game on Day 4 — Saturday, July 25th-Tuesday, July 28th).

*Teams ranked seventh and eighth in the pool will take no further part in the competition.

Knockout Rounds
*The teams placed first and second qualify directly for the Semi-Finals, while those that finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth meet in 2 qualifying Quarter-Finals at the end of Day 4.
*The Semi-Finals and Medal Games take place on Day 5 (Wednesday, July 29th).



Kathryn Kuchefski
Instant Sponsor

Director of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships at Instant Sponsor Inc and Marketing Advisor & Content Creator at Success Series