SBD/December 3, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NBA Game In Mexico Between Spurs, T'Wolves Part Of League's Int'l Push

The NBA is "surfing a wave of globalization that sells jerseys and television rights worldwide and has lifted the league’s talent and skill," according to Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The Spurs and T'Wolves play tomorrow at the year-old Mexico City Arena in NBA Global Games Mexico City '13, and the league "believes there is good reason" for teams to compete far from home. The NBA is "expanding yearly the number of preseason games -- and now regular-season games -- its teams play outside U.S. borders." When the Hawks and Nets play in London in January, NBA teams "will have played 148 games in countries outside" the U.S. and Canada since '78. Eight teams "played overseas this preseason, including the first games held in Brazil and the Philippines." The NBA "began discussing a Mexico City regular-season game with Wolves officials a year ago, partly because the team has Spanish-speaking Ricky Rubio from Spain and J.J Barea from Puerto Rico among its seven international players." The team was "willing because the NBA is paying it at least the equivalent of a Target Center game’s gate receipts" and because team Owner Glen Taylor "calls it 'the responsibility of being an owner and doing your part' for a league that’s a $4 billion-plus business." He added that it is "simply smart to capitalize on a growing international game." Taylor mentioned "growing worldwide TV rights and international corporate sponsorships to name just two" factors. Taylor said, "We get paid back in several ways." The Spurs-T'Wolves game "will be the 21st NBA game played in Mexico, most of any country outside" the U.S. and Canada. NBA VP/Latin America Philippe Moggio said that Mexico is "'a priority market' the league is targeting through specific Facebook, Twitter and other social-media feeds" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/3).
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