Silver: Mexico City, Vancouver and Montréal Want NBA Teams

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The league figures to add teams soon.

Wait one second here. Weren’t Las Vegas and Seattle almost certain of getting National Basketball Association expansion teams once the league finished its American television deal negotiations sometime in 2024? Maybe that was premature speculation as the league commissioner, Adam Silver, has added three cities to the expansion mix, Mexico City, Mexico and two Canadian cities, Vancouver and Montréal. Mexico City is not surprising as the league has played regular season games in Mexico’s capital city but the Canadian cities are eye openers.

Montréal has no NBA history other than a few pre-season contests held in the city. There are a few NBA players from Montréal. Vancouver had an NBA franchise between 1995 and 2001, When the NBA expanded to Vancouver there was a mass exodus of Hong Kong residents to Vancouver and league officials thought that would translate into Vancouver being a successful franchise as Hong Kong in the 1990s was a major international television market for the league. Vancouver had problems from the outset as ownership over extended itself in paying for an arena and an expansion franchise which cost $100 million US or about $140 million Canadian. The Canadian dollar was worth around 62 cents US in that time period. The second Vancouver Grizzlies owner Michael Heisey moved the team to Memphis after just six seasons in British Columbia. The Canadian dollar is hanging around 73 cents US and the NBA deals with the American dollar as its currency. Neither Las Vegas nor Seattle has done anything to dissuade NBA owners from saying no to putting teams in their markets. But three other cities have emerged as NBA expansion contenders.

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Seattle has an arena that could house an NBA franchise.