The NBA has played 24 regular season games in Mexico City. For the 25th anniversary of their first one, they’re going to play two.
The league, along with Zignia Live, announced Wednesday that the Brooklyn Nets will play two games at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico this year. The Nets will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday, Dec. 7 and then play the Miami Heat on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The games will be broadcast in the U.S. live by ESPN and Televisa in Mexico. The event will also feature fan activities, community outreach initiatives, and other experiences in Mexico City.
Last season, the league hosted two games in Mexico City in January, which makes this the first time the NBA will host four games there in a calendar year. It may also signal an uptick in the number of games we can expect to see played there in the future.
Of course, the bigger topic to take away from the growing number of games played here in the possibility of an NBA expansion team in Mexico City. When asked in the past, NBA commissioner Adam Silver hasn’t shied away from the possibility.
“In terms of a franchise in Mexico City, it’s something that we’re going to look at. This is a competitive market, well over 20 million people. While we have no immediate plans to expand the NBA, one of the things that we look at is whether expanding would be additive to the league as a whole. Clearly coming to Mexico City just because of the huge population here in Mexico but in essence as a gateway to the rest of Latin America could potentially be very important to the league. You clearly have a beautiful state-of-the-art arena here, and you can tell by ticket sales that we have the interest. So that’s something that we will continue to look at.”
Mexico City Arena is a reasonably new stadium, built in 2012, and drew over 20,000 fans for both games last season. If the league is really serious about expanding its international footprint, Mexico City is one market to keep an eye out for as the next step.