Keynote Speech #7
Vice President, Head of International Security, National Basketball Association (NBA)
Sarah Mathers, MSc, BSc is Vice President, Head of International Security for the National Basketball Association (NBA), based in London. Sarah is responsible for leading all aspects of security for the NBA outside of the USA, supporting the growth of the League’s footprint, from grassroot youth programs through to international preseason and regular season Global Games. The scope of Sarah’s work supports all of the NBA entities including the WNBA, G League and 2K League, global facilities as well as the safety and security of players, fans and staff.
Sarah was heavily involved in the creation and execution of the Basketball Africa League (BAL), which has just completed its second season. The BAL is the first professional basketball league for Africa bringing 12 teams to compete over 3 months across multiple countries on the continent. The BAL security infrastructure, policies and procedures Sarah has developed to be dynamic for the operating environment, whilst upholding the highest of safety standards to deliver a world class sporting event, broadcast to over 200 countries. The inaugural season of the BAL was during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic and took place in Kigali, Rwanda. Sarah was responsible for the development of a “bubble” environment, implementing stringent health and safety protocols, collaborating with multiple international health organisations and governments to ensure the health of all, including the local people of Rwanda.
Sarah has just completed the Abu Dhabi NBA Global Games, the first significant move by the NBA into the Middle East. The week of activities brought the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks to play two preseason games, 7 NBA legends, multiple fan activations and the largest Junior NBA program in the UAE.
Sarah is a graduate of Imperial College, London, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Microbiology and Master of Science in Forensic Science from King’s College, London. Prior to the NBA Sarah was a Metropolitan Police Officer for 17 years, working across multiple disciplines and departments. She concluded her career at the rank of Inspector in Royalty and Specialist Protection; head of security for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Sarah was also a high risk protection operative planning and leading deployments globally in support of the UK government.