The NBA Exploring Mexico City

It’s All About The Pesos

Adam Silver, the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) delivers a speech during the joint press conference with Rakuten in Tokyo Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. Japanese online retailer Rakuten will be NBA’s exclusive distribution partner in Japan for live NBA games and a global marketing partner of the NBA. Photo: AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko.

The National Basketball Association, in a sense, is returning to the league’s roots. Playing games in neutral sites where there is no NBA franchise but it is a place where there might be interest from a local promoter who might eventually want an NBA team. The neutral site is Mexico City and there will be two games, tonight and on Saturday with Brooklyn playing Oklahoma City in the first game and Miami in the second. The two Mexico games bring up the question of whether the league has an interest in placing a permanent team in the capital. The NBA has been visiting the area for a quarter of a century. Monterey might also be an area of interest.

Last January NBA Commissioner Adam Silver did speak on the subject, “In terms of a franchise in Mexico City, it’s something that we’re going to look at. This is a competitive market, well over 20 million people. While we have no immediate plans to expand the NBA, one of the things that we look at is whether expanding would be additive to the league as a whole. Clearly coming to Mexico City just because of the huge population here in Mexico but in essence as a gateway to the rest of Latin America could potentially be very important to the league. You clearly have a beautiful state-of-the-art arena here, and you can tell by ticket sales that we have the interest. So, that’s something that we will continue to look at. I think the next step before we start talking about a franchise in Mexico City is to bring more games here.” The NBA is overlooking the tensions between the United States and Mexico over the proposed beautiful wall that Donald Trump is pushing. Mexico City has become a Major League Baseball expansion talking point. The NFL seems to be making the area an annual stop on the circuit. The leagues are testing the water in Mexico.


Mexico is increasingly becoming a United States sports export market.