MEXICO CITY >> An NBA franchise in Mexico City? Not so fast.
A couple of days after the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said that he was in favor of a team playing south of the border, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that it will not happen, at least not in the immediate future.
Before the Mavericks beat the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night in Mexico City, Cuban said that a team in Mexico would help the sport while he praised the Arena Ciudad de Mexico and added that the distance from the United States isn’t a factor. Mexico City’s governor, Miguel Angel Mancera, has also said that he’s in favor of the idea.
“The next step before we start talking about a franchise in Mexico City is to bring more games here, and we have this two regular-season games and whether we bring additional regular-season games next season or do some sort of tournament with several teams playing each other, that is something that we are looking at,” Silver said a press conference before the Spurs and Suns took the court.
Including preseason, Mexico has hosted 24 NBA games since 1992, that’s more than any country besides the United States and Canada.
“In terms of a franchise here in Mexico City, it is something to look at,” Silver said. “Obviously, it’s an incredible market with over 20 million people, the largest market in North America and, while we have no immediate plans to expand, one of the things that we look at, it’s whether expanding will be additive to the league as a whole and clearly coming to Mexico City, not just because the population of the city but as a gateway to the rest of Latin America could potentially be very important for the league.”
The game Saturday was fifth regular-season game in the country. Four of them have been played in Area Ciudad de Mexico, a glass-clad state of the art arena that was built in 2012 that hosts over 20,000 fans.
“As I said before there’s no market more important for us than Mexico, we already have discussions earlier today about bringing other games here,” Silver said. “But ultimately it will make more sense to bring more teams rather than just have two teams play each other for a single event to maybe bring multiple teams and to have some sort of midseason tournament, sort of like a round-robin tournament.”