Mexico City Mayor Bullish On Prospect Of City Landing NBA Team After Successful Games
The NBA's "ramped-up local initiatives" in Mexico City, including playing two games there this season, could mean the city's "time is coming" to land a franchise, according to Marc Stein of the N.Y. TIMES. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera said that he thought the city "could immediately handle its own NBA team." Mancera: "Now. We are ready now. We are waiting for that announcement." But Stein wrote things will "not move as quickly as Mancera hopes." It is "no mystery why league officials feel compelled to give Mexico -- and Mexico City specifically -- every chance to prove itself as suitable soil." Mexico City's population in excess of 20 million is "impossible to ignore, given what such numbers could mean in terms of new revenue streams and expanding the game's global fan base." Signs of the NBA's "growing popularity in Mexico City were plentiful" during the Nets' five-day stay for their games against the Thunder and Heat. With tickets "ranging from about $20 to $450, announced crowds for the two games were strong, totaling 20,562" for Thunder-Nets and 19,777 for Heat-Nets. It is the "potential television perks, as much as any other factor, that make Mexico City an increasingly popular topic at the highest levels of the league and perhaps the strongest contender to emerge as a future home for the NBA, aside from Seattle." The demand for sports content throughout Mexico "continues to increase, thanks largely to a rising middle class and the rapid growth of smartphone usage and pay TV subscriptions, but there is very little domestic content available to Mexican media companies beyond Liga MX." One NBA team could "change that landscape and give those companies, as well as advertisers, something else prominent to invest in" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/17).