The NBA is going international. Well, sort of. The league apparently has plans to put a G League franchise in Mexico City as soon as possible, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Stein reports that three people with knowledge of the NBA’s thinking informed him that the NBA hopes to have a team up and running in the Mexican capital as early as next season. Additionally, the franchise would be owned and operated locally, though the ultimate goal would be still be for it to become a subsidiary of a NBA team, keeping in line with the league’s hope of all 30 teams having a “minor league” outfit in place.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has embraced the idea of broadening the league’s horizons to include international markets. Though expansion isn’t imminent, Silver recently called adding more organizations to the league “inevitable,” and Mexico City is first up on a list of potential international footholds that also includes Vancouver.
The NBA has been attempting to make further inroads in South America for the last few years. The league has played four regular season game in Mexico City since 2014, and has two more scheduled this season – on Thursday between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets, and Saturday between the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets.
“We do see enormous opportunity in Mexico City and think it could become the franchise for Latin America,” Silver said in early October, per Bleacher Report. “Mexico City is a city with over 20 million people, a country of 130 million people, and a huge Mexican American population. We’re only looking at it from a more general standpoint—and we’re playing games (there) again in Dec. It’s something we’ll continue to keep eye on.”