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4 minutes read

With ‘Nets For Change’, The NBA Marries Environmental Responsibility With Basketball’s Growth: Murtuza Madraswala

In his conversation with Marketing Mind, Murtuza Madraswala, Head of Marketing, NBA India, spoke about what led to the conceptualization of ‘Nets For Change’ initiative, how the NBA aims to make a real change in environment whilst promoting the sport, its expansion into other markets and more

| Published on February 27, 2024

With 'Nets For Change', The NBA Marries Environmental Responsibility With Basketball's Growth: Murtuza Madraswala

When it comes to basketball and marine life, ‘Nets’ is one thing that’s common to both the realms. Recognising that the unrecognized ghost nets that pose a threat to the latter can serve as an opportunity to fix the issue of missing nets in Basketball courts, the NBA has launched a new campaign ‘Nets For Change’.

Speaking to Marketing Mind about the same, Murtuza Madraswala, Head of Marketing, NBA India, emphasised that ‘Nets for Change’ is an NBA Green initiative that marries the NBA’s commitment to environmental responsibility and growing the sport in the country.

“Ghost nets, which are abandoned underwater fishing nets, pose a grave threat to marine ecosystems everywhere. Recognizing that several basketball courts in India are missing nets, a fundamental element of the sport, we saw an opportunity to make a difference. And through ‘Nets for Change’, these ghost nets are being retrieved from the sea and repurposed on neighborhood basketball courts that need them,” he said.

With this he also went on to point out that the campaign aligns ‘perfectly’ with the NBA’s commitment to using the power of basketball to inspire fans and partners to minimize environmental impacts and help drive broader industry and societal progress.

“The abandoned underwater fishing nets represent a major environmental hazard, and with this initiative, our goal is to provide these nets with a new lease on life. By repurposing these ghost nets, we’re providing aspiring players with access to higher-quality courts where they can come together to play the game, while also helping keep our oceans clean,” he added.

The NBA’s ‘Nets for Change’ campaign was launched in association with the Leo Burnett MEA team.

Here’s what the NBA’s ‘Nets For Change’ campaign looks like:

Opening up on how the NBA went about executing the campaign, Madraswala explained that for ‘Nets For Change’, the NBA and Publicis Groupe collaborated with local fishing communities who worked alongside their dive teams, allowing them to access the main routes of fishing trawlers, where abandoned nets are frequently found.

“We also worked with the local fishing communities and organized cleanups at two of Mumbai’s largest beaches, Versova and Madh Island,” he said.

Delving further into the process of how the NBA is making a real change in India, he mentioned that once the nets were retracted from the beaches, the same undergo meticulous sorting and treatment as the net fragments are carefully knotted to meet the exact specifications set by the NBA.

“This intricate process is also carried out by members of the fishing community, ensuring a collaborative approach to the entire initiative,” he added.

Commenting on the response that the NBA has received for this campaign, Madraswala stated that it has been overwhelmingly positive as the campaign film, so far, has garnered 15.9M impressions and 14.3M views across various digital platforms.

“What truly stands out about this initiative is the community spirit with key celebrities, influencers and people from the basketball community coming together to show their support and raise awareness,” he pointed out.

As per the Head of Marketing of NBA India, the main aim of this initiative is to engage a wide range of audiences to raise awareness about the critical issue of pollution caused by ghost nets. This includes the basketball community, current and potential players and fans, as well as relevant corporate stakeholders interested in expanding their efforts in this area.

“Together, we aspire to create an even greater impact across India and the world,” Madraswala elaborated.

Upon being questioned as to how the NBA plans to ensure that this project doesn’t come across as faff but a real change maker for the environment, Madraswala replied that the NBA is committed to using the power of basketball to inspire fans and partners to minimize environmental impacts and help drive broader industry and societal progress.

“By repurposing these ghost nets through our ‘Nets for Change’ initiative, we are contributing to the preservation of our delicate marine ecosystems, while also providing players with higher-quality courts where they can come together to play the game,” he said.

With this, he also stated that the pilot project has already been launched successfully in Mumbai at The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Colaba and in community courts in EuroSchool, Thane and Vikhroli.

“We plan to expand this to other markets as well with the help of relevant partners and other platforms. The essence of ‘Nets for Change’ lies in our firm belief that even small actions can catalyze significant change. It reflects our unwavering commitment to creating a positive impact, no matter how seemingly modest the steps may appear,” he added.

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