The NBA eyes global expansion may extend beyond the United States and Canada, as Commissioner Adam Silver hints at potential expansion into Mexico City. While the league is expected to add two teams in the coming years, with Seattle and Las Vegas as frontrunners, the vibrant Mexican capital emerges as a compelling contender.
Mexico City has been a regular host of NBA games since 2014, showcasing the league’s popularity in this bustling metropolis. Even the NBA G League boasts a team in Mexico City, amplifying the league’s interest in establishing a more permanent presence south of the border.
Adam Silver, reflecting on discussions dating back to his tenure under David Stern, expressed enthusiasm for the prospect. Highlighting Mexico City’s status as North America’s largest city and a thriving economic hub, Silver acknowledged hurdles to address but sees an opportunity for the NBA eyes global expansion to extend its footprint. The city’s appeal as a gateway to Central and Latin America adds another layer to the potential expansion.
Despite affirming that the league is not currently in expansion mode, Silver emphasizes the importance of organizations evolving over time. He envisions growth not only in Mexico City but also across the broader Central and Latin American regions, tapping into a burgeoning fanbase for the sport.
The NBA’s engagement in Mexico City is not a recent development. The Boston Celtics played there in 2015, marking a trend of NBA teams playing regular-season games outside the U.S. and Canada. Silver notes that with nearly a third of NBA players hailing from outside the United States, international travel has become a welcomed and bonding experience for teams.
Silver links the possibility of expansion to the negotiation of a new television deal, with major players like Amazon, NBC, CBS, and Apple expected to bid for NBA broadcast rights. While the league’s current focus is on initiatives like the in-season tournament and boosting interest in the All-Star Game, expansion remains a key consideration for the future.
The last time the NBA expanded was in 2004 with the addition of the Charlotte Bobcats. Mexico City’s inclusion in the league’s plans reflects a long-term perspective, and while conditions may evolve, Silver suggests that it could be several years before serious deliberations about adding a team in Mexico City take place.
As the NBA continues to explore opportunities to grow its global footprint, Mexico City emerges as a compelling candidate for expansion, driven by the league’s commitment to reaching new markets and fostering international enthusiasm for basketball.