Adam Silver addresses expansion as NBA returns to Mexico City
Commissioner Adam Silver received several questions about the expansion ahead of the Heat and Spurs play on Saturday in Mexico City, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. In the past, the league has regularly traveled to Mexico, but because of the pandemic, today marks the first NBA game in the country since 2019.
At a press conference before kick-off, Silver had a lot of questions about whether Mexico City would one day be considered for an expansion team. His reply echoes comments made by NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum last monthsays the league isn’t ready to add a team yet, but the city will be a strong contender whenever that happens.
“In terms of Mexico City, I believe you’re doing all it takes to prove to the league that we can finally have an NBA team here,” Silver said. “Certainly from a tourist point of view it is very accessible, with the right time zone of course.”
Mexico City has hosted more than 30 NBA games in relation to the three-decade-long league. G League’s Mexico City Capitanes recently began playing at Arena CDMX, which is considered an NBA-quality facility.
Silver cites research that shows there are 30 million NBA fans in Mexico and said he expects that number to grow as the country has more media coverage of games.
“I’ll add an element that I wouldn’t have thought of even if I were here in 2019,” Silver said. “We’re seeing a faster transition to streaming than I anticipated even a few years ago, and when you move to streaming platforms and you’re talking to global partners hey, I think adding a group e.g. in Mexico could have a very different impact and relevance to them than maybe a longstanding media partner based in the United States.”
Many players who took part in this year’s Mexico City trip were impressed with what they witnessed, writing Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. On Friday, they attended a Capitanes game where the crowd cheered wildly from start to finish while drumming and chanting the team’s name.
‘It’s crazy,’ said the Spurs rookie Blake Wesley. “I thought, ‘How can there be so many people for a G League game?’ I enjoyed it. That is happiness.
San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who has participated in many NBA games in Mexico, believes the city was taken into consideration when the league decided to expand.
“It’s on my salary to decide where the teams are going, but I know they like it,” he said. “It’s a viable place for such an endeavor and I’m sure Adam and his team are doing everything they can to decide if that should happen.”