Mexico to get NBA G League team

On several occasions, the NBA office in Mexico has externalized its desire to have a G League team in the country. All the signs are that the wishes have become plans and the proposal is on the table.

Mexico to get NBA G League team. Photo: Agencies
Mexico to get NBA G League team. Photo: Agencies

Unlike previous times, when he referred to the possibility as a utopia, Raúl Zárraga, director of NBA Mexico, confirmed that having a franchise - of the Development League - based in Aztec land is no longer so distant.

"To carry out a G League project, that is one of our priorities", revealed the leader, whose speech has taken a 180-degree turn, starting from "we would love to, but" and rounding off in the previous quotation. During the inauguration of the first official NBA store in Mexico, Zárraga did not give details about the progress in the negotiation; however, he clarified that there are hands on work. "We have a lot to do, but we've done a lot," he said.

Ten months ago, the director of NBA Latin America, Arnon de Mello, considered that the idea of having a club outside the United States and Canada was not easy, although it was a topic contemplated by the best Basketball League on the planet and, at that time, he ventured to say that probably would not exceed two seasons to realize the dream.

Earlier, NBA commissioner Adam Silver himself had also left the door open to a tricolor venue, without giving further details. Today, for the first time, the NBA boss in Mexico spoke of the issue as a "priority," so that, soon, Mexican territory could be the location of a new chapter in the history of U.S. professional sport.

By Mexicanist Source Agencies

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The league has almost 20 million fans in Mexico; it increased 22% in the last two years. Mexico's NBA fan base registered a 22% increase from 16.3 million in 2017 to 19.9 million this year.

Raul Zarraga, vice president and director of NBA Mexico, said the growth "is due to all the activities they have done to develop the fan base. In addition, the migration between the type of fan also grew, among which he highlighted the "curious", "casual" and "hard core fan".

The games held in Mexican territory are those that have increased interest in the league, for this year there are four franchises visiting the country for the NBA Global Games: on Thursday will face Detroit Pistons against Dallas Mavericks and Saturday the duel will be between Phoenix Suns against San Antonio Spurs in the Arena Mexico City, for a total of 30 matches.

It should be noted that the strategic markets in Latin America for the league are Mexico and Brazil and that, a sample of them, is that the Mexican fans, which is among the five nations where most consumed a product like the NBA League Pass, through the service via streaming to follow the league matches.

Until December 2018, there was a 40% increase in the number of subscribers, compared to the previous year, which was the result of different schemes offered to purchase the product, either by season, team, game or day. It is an area in which Brazil ranked second and Mexico fifth.

Part of the league's strategy is to facilitate access to its products and offer the best possible experience, for this announced the opening of its first store Mexico (Aristotle Street #123, corner with Masaryk in Polanco).

This project took to the league office in Mexico a year of planning, period in which they also helped Mexican amateur consumption data in relation to products and brands to offer.

The NBA Store adds an option for fans to purchase official merchandise, in addition to the online store (which is being restructured) and the points of sale in Innovasport and Liverpool.

Raul Zarraga said, "It's important that people can come and see and try the products. The issue is to balance the message that fans have all sorts of options to purchase products they need. Our intention is to continue growing, to have more stores in the country, but we have to make sure that everything goes well here, and well, we will see how it grows.

In the last year, sales of official products registered a 20 percent increase.

The space of 190 square meters are offered are caps, sweaters, sweatshirts, jackets, backpacks, cangureras, tennis, among others, brands such as Nike, Jordan, '47, Herschel, Timberland, Mitchell and Ness, Spalding and Stance.

The executive added that to concretize the opening of the store, they made sure to have licensees and partners to cover the demand of fans, also will be a meeting place for fans, because it is a site where autographs will be signed with players and legends of the NBA and the National Association of Women's Basketball (WNBA), tickets can be purchased for games played in Mexico and purchase products such as the NBA League Pass.

The league has more than 400 stores in different formats in different parts of the world.

By Agencies