“To us, that’s just good business,” Taylor said, mentioning growing worldwide TV rights and international corporate sponsorships to name just two. “We get paid back in several ways.”
Growing the market
As the game grows with more players playing, so grows the spectating audience. NBA games and programs are available in 215 countries in 47 languages. More than 30 percent of league merchandise sales come from outside the U.S., and NBA.com last season set a record with 9.6 billion page views and 5.6 billion video streams. More than half of NBA.com visitors come from outside North America, the league says.
Wednesday’s game — expected to be a sellout by game time — will be the 21st NBA game played in Mexico, most of any country outside the United States and Canada. The first preseason game was played in Mexico City in 1992. The only other regular-season game played there was in 1997. Houston played Dallas both times.
NBA Vice President Latin America Philippe Moggio calls Mexico “a priority market” the league is targeting through specific Facebook, Twitter and other social-media feeds aimed at a country where, like so many others throughout the world, soccer is king.
“We’re not competing against soccer specifically,” Moggio said. “There’s a lot of room for a No. 2 sport. We want to claim that spot clearly.”
Barea represented the NBA in Mexico City last year at the finals of a school tournament that brought together winners from five regions in the country.
“They love the NBA and basketball is growing there,” Barea said. “It’s a big place: a lot of traffic, a lot of people, but a lot of the fans of the NBA. It’s going to be crazy. If it was an away game for us, it’d be even better. But it’s all right, it’s just one game, a good change. I know a bunch of our guys have never been there before, so it’ll be fun.”
Just try telling that to Adelman, though …
“It is what it is,” Adelman said. “There are a lot of reasons why we’re going there. San Antonio is going to do the same thing. We just have to accept it. You’ve got to look at it as an experience and a challenge. It’s all you can do. Where we are right now, every night is a challenge to get a road win. If we get that one there, I’ll count it as a road win.”