NBA Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets To Meet In Mexico City
It is "about the basketball, this trip south of the border" for the NBA Miami Heat, who will play the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. But these two NBA games this week in Mexico City "also are about more, if only because the NBA has become about more." NBA VP & Country Dir for Mexico Raúl Zárraga said, "The lifestyle component is something that is very particular with the NBA, compared with other sports. It's just a trendy, fashion-conscious, high-tech profile that it's completely different to the other sports. And for our fans, the access to the digital platforms, it's very helpful to them to follow trends, to follow Instagram, to see how they dress." For the NBA, "the progression has been from exhibitions in Mexico," dating to '92, to regular season games there starting in '97. Zárraga said, "We are looking to extend and expand our activity to other states in Mexico, not only Mexico City, but have this real nationwide footprint. They're always looking for more, and that's what we're here for." While events such as these "tend to raise question of the establishment of an NBA franchise in the country," Zárraga said that "is not the focus." He said, "At this point, we don't have any plans on the radar to do a franchise or expand or reallocate a franchise to any other place. Definitely, it that was one of the alternatives or if an opportunity arises, we are ready to raise our hands and say Mexico City could be an option" (SUN-SENTINEL, 12/6). On Long Island, Greg Logan reported Miami-Brooklyn "will be anything but just another game." First, it will take place in "cavernous," 23,000-seat Ciudad de Mexico Arena and be played at an altitude of more than 7,300 feet. The NBA has issued more than 250 media credentials, "which is an indication of the massive coverage NBA Mexico City Games 2017 will receive." Following a "brief practice, the Nets were inundated by Mexico City media outlets" and also sat down for ESPN Deportes interviews. As Nets forward Allen Crabbe said, "We’re excited. It’s a different atmosphere playing in the NBA Global Games" (NEWSDAY, 12/6).
THE NEXT STEP: In N.Y., Marc Stein reported the NBA intends to put a G League franchise in Mexico City, three people familiar with the league’s plans said. A team in the G League, "which would be owned and operated locally, could begin play as early as next season," according to the people, "who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the subject publicly." Establishing a G League franchise on Mexican soil "would be the latest serious step" by the NBA to "gain a foothold in Mexico and gauge the viability" of putting an NBA team in the largest market in Latin America (N.Y. TIMES, 12/7).