NBA's Return To Mexico City Raises Issue Of City Supporting Team
The NBA will deepen its ties to Mexico this week with Mavericks-Pistons tonight in Mexico City and Spurs-Suns on Saturday, as it marks the "fourth straight season in which the city has hosted two regular-season games," according to Brad Townsend of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The opening of the 22,300-seat Arena Ciudad de Mexico in '12 has been a "game-changer" for the city and paved the way for "more regular-season NBA games" to be played there. Mexico will have hosted a total of 30 games over both the regular season and preseason after this weekend. The country's appetite for the NBA continues to grow, with NBA Mexico VP & Managing Dir Raul Zarraga noting that League Pass ratings "are among the top five in the world" outside of the U.S. and China. That brings up the question about the "feasibility of Mexico City getting an NBA team." While the "proximity to other NBA cities isn't a significant issue," there are other areas that would need improvement. Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban this week on KTCK-FM said, "If they could ever fix the traffic down there, they'd have an NBA team." Townsend notes that issue "seems daunting if not insurmountable." Meanwhile, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle "likes the idea of Mexico City getting a franchise." He said, "I don't know where the league is on all that stuff, but they've got a great building and they certainly would have a fan base that would have great interest in it" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/12).
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: In Detroit, Rod Beard noted the Pistons "had to give up one of their 41 home games" at Little Caesars Arena to play in Mexico City, though the team will "recoup some of the revenue through the NBA" for hosting the neutral-site game. That made it an "easier decision for the team, given the exposure and opportunity to expand their brand." Pistons Vice Chair Arn Tellem said the NBA "came to us and said it was going to be our home game, which was fine with us." Tellem: "We lose a home game, but the opportunity outweighed (having) the home game. It's basically a break-even proposition" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/11).