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Expanding pro U.S. sports to Mexico?

Discussion in 'Mark Blount's Port Cellar: Celtics Forum' started by charlieoscar, Dec 17, 2018.

  1. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

    Not sure this is the best place for this post but I don't know where to put it...

    A couple of days ago, a Globe column noted that "[Adam] Silver revealed the NBA is closing in on putting a G-League franchise in Mexico City." And MLB commissioner Manfred has said that Mexico City has been considered as a prime place for expansion.

    Then, there is the potus demanding that a fence be built along the U.S./Mexico border as well as a very high crime rate, including organized crime, in that city.

    Would the players have any say? Strikes me that kidnapping of players, families would be high on the list.
  2. Philip Jeff Frye

    Philip Jeff Frye Member SoSH Member

    It's amazing how often this topic comes up here. There are far better locations in the US and Canada demographically and economically fit expansion than Mexico City. Who's buying the $300 tickets in Mexico City? Which corporations are buying the luxury boxes? What are they going pay to be "the Official XXXX of the Mexico City Whatevers? What rate is the local sports cable channel going to be able to charge subscribers? Which NBA superstars are going to want to live there and deal with the security and tax implications of doing so?
    #2 Philip Jeff Frye, Dec 17, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  3. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    I don’t follow sports business very closely; but as far as attendance goes a huge part of making money from a live gate is not necessarily on drawing 18,000, mostly middle class, fans, but drawing a lot of wealthy fans who are willing to shell out a ton of money for season tickets, as well as corporations who are willing to invest in purchasing suites. I know some NBA teams, Atlanta being one, have struggled not just with drawing your typical fan, but drawing the wealthy, corporate clientele, to invest in purchasing suites.

    I bring this up because Mexico City might be more economically disadvantaged than an average NBA city, but if they can attract the wealthy 1 percent to invest in the team, maybe it becomes a status symbol in Mexico for the Carlos Slim’s of the world, it might be viable on that end.

    The bigger problems for me would be attracting NBA talent to move to a foreign, non-English speaking country, that doesn’t have a great reputation in the US for providing a high standard of living (I’m sure that millionaire NBA players would be well taken care of). The stories about MLB players going to Latin America and being taken advantage of don’t help.

    Silver mentioned that the NBA has a lot on Mexican-American fans, and that perhaps those fans would identify with a team based in Mexico. I don’t really buy that; chances are if a Mexican American is an NBA they are already a fan of a team and they aren’t going to jump ship just because a team is based in Mexico.

    As Frye points out; there are better options in the US and Canada before the league thinks about putting a franchise in Mexico. It’s ridiculous that Seattle doesn’t have a team.
  4. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

    Seattle and Las Vegas are 1 and 1a for expansion. Any other mention is wild speculation that wouldn't happen for a long time.

    EDIT: Disregard above. Reading comprehension not always a strength.
    #4 HomeRunBaker, Dec 17, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
  5. Papelbon's Poutine

    Papelbon's Poutine Homeland Security SoSH Member

    It’s G League right? I’m not sure attendance and ticket sales are primary goal. That being said, I don’t see it happening for the crime and kidnapping reasons mentioned, but it’s not like the Red Claws are selling luxury boxes and $300 tickets.
  6. charlieoscar

    charlieoscar Member

    2019 MLB schedule--Colorado and Arizona will play spring training game in March, Cincinnati will host St. Louis for two games in April and the Angels and Astros will play two games in May, all in Monterrey. However, it would take three-quarters of the franchises to agree to relocation or expansion (as I just found).

    March 24, 2016--MLB announced on Thursday that MLB Mexico will be headquartered in Mexico City as the sixth and newest MLB office outside the United States, joining Beijing, London, Santo Domingo, Sydney and Tokyo.
  7. trekfan55

    trekfan55 Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Moving to Mexico for pro athletes means people will think they're millionaires (and most are) which probably means they need bodyguards and armored cars.

    It also means not very good public schools (understatement time) which means you have to shell out bug bucks for a private school and many teach everything in Spanish (there are some private schools with an all English program) but even then it's an entirely different education system.

    Last time I checked you could have a bank account in US dollars but have to live and spend in pesos, not ideal. And then there's living issues. Many products you take for granted in the US are not available in Mexico, despite NAFTA or whatever the treaty is called now.

    I don't know the tax implications of living in Mexico.

    And one interesting thing, part of the idea in pro sports is traveling fans. Getting a US Visa is not easy for Mexicans, hard for many fans to follow the team.

    I simply don't see it. It's quite different than playing 2-3 games in the Azteca.
  8. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Member SoSH Member

    Mexico City is the biggest city (by population) and biggest metro area in the Western Hemisphere. It is bigger then LA, bigger then NY. It is the capital of a very prosperous country of 130 million people. It is chock full of very rich people and is the HQ of multiple very large corporations. The millionaires of Mexico City spend as much time worrying about they and their families being assaulted as the rich people in Manhattan worry about being attacked by people from the Bronx or The well to do of LA worry about being attacked by people from East LA.
    The NBA wants in there for the same reason that they want into China. That’s where the money is.
  9. veritas

    veritas Member SoSH Member

    Yeah, this. I find some of the posts in this thread to be at least very ignorant and probably kinda racist.
  10. WoburnDiaspora

    WoburnDiaspora Member SoSH Member

    I used to spend a lot of time in Mexico City. For about a eight year period I spent about a solid month or more in total every year. A week or two four times a year. It is a security concern. Most higher end places have pretty heavily armored and gun toting security forces. Even coffee shops have some old security guard sitting out front with a revolver. Everywhere I went I had to be cognizant of where I was and who I was with. But I don't see how that's different from any other big city. There is an epic ton of money in Mexico City. The elites are no different than the elites anywhere. I can see why the major leagues are trying to figure out how to get there. I think one of the bigger problems besides the security concerns is the extreme pollution and the altitude make it hard to breathe. Not ideal for athletes. I wouldn't worry about the schools. Do professional athletes send their kids to public schools here in the states? I know a lot of folks who are products of the Mexico City schools (both private and public) and they are all really well educated and successful.
  11. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

    I think the issue with a G-league team being there would be travel time back and forth to the closest NBA franchise they would be associated with. Maine to Boston is a two hour drive. Mexico City to San Antonio is an international flight. Not an incredibly long one, but still. It would complicate things for teams that need an emergency player.

    I think an NFL, MLB, or NBA team is going to be in Mexico City eventually. There is just too much money there for this not to happen. But how things work there may be different enough compared to the US and Canada when it comes to sports franchises, local TV cable networks, luxury suites, etc, that it will take some time before overcoming the differences make it attractive enough to do. Thanks to the Canadiens and Leafs competing against US teams for (almost) 100 years in the NHL, the state of the art for stadiums and TV deals has not been that different in the US and Canada. Expanding to Mexico is just different. Not impossible, but different.
  12. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

    Most teams utilize the one-day call down allowing a young player to get some run in a game or have an injured player go through a full practice that the parent teams don’t engage in during the course of the regular season. Having a G-League team in Mexico City would be akin to the NY Mets of years ago having their Triple-A team in Las Vegas. It places them at a significant disadvantage to function in the manner with which they would prefer.

    Maybe eventually Mexico City will get a franchise but do you see this happening anytime soon? In the NBA I sure don’t and they seem to be the only of the leagues you list possibly expanding within the next 5-10 years.
  13. shaggydog2000

    shaggydog2000 Member SoSH Member

    I'm definitely saying longer term than that. I think some US and Canadian cities will be expanded to first. And the rate of expansion has not been that high in US sports recently. But in 50 years? I think there is a decent chance a large north American sports league will have 3-4 teams in Canada and one in Mexico City with something like 40+ teams total.
  14. Dehere

    Dehere Member SoSH Member

    One idea I've heard that's intriguing to me is that MLS and Liga MX could someday be one entity. I can maybe see that working but I'd defer to other SOSHers who know the business of club football a lot better than I do.
  15. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    I can't see that, to be honest - too many clubs to fit in one league (or one division), and the idea of promotion and relegation is anathema to the MLS.
  16. ishmael

    ishmael Member SoSH Member

    Yep, this is accurate. For the same reason, I'd think that the NFL would actually make the most sense for eventual expansion. That probably won't happen for another 10+ years, but it would be easier to host 8 games per year, sell out all the luxury boxes, and provide a tremendous home-field advantage (both due to the fans and the altitude). Players could also get away with splitting the year between Texas and MX, without too many logistical challenges.

    PS: I'm another frequent traveler to Mexico City. Highly underrated North American city for tourism. Excellent restaurants, arts/culture, decent infrastructure. And Uber/Lyft have made it dramatically easier to get around if you're not a Spanish speaker.
  17. Ale Xander

    Ale Xander Member SoSH Member

    I think Mexico makes more sense for preseason NBA games than India and the Kings and some other team (Pacers?) are playing 2 games there.
  18. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    You’re probably aware of this already, but the Kings owner, Vivek Randive, is of Indian descent, which probably is why they are playing there. Plus all major forms of entertainment are trying to break into India, but they haven’t been super successful yet.
  19. HowBoutDemSox

    HowBoutDemSox Member SoSH Member

    Yup, India has something like
    1.3 billion people and a GDP comparable to the UK or France and more than twice that of Mexico, I can see that being a prime target for fan outreach if they think there’s a chance the league can catch on there. China was obviously a different situation (aided by the huge popularity of Yao Ming, no doubt), but that market has been incredibly lucrative for the owners:

    I can see Silver looking at the other country with a comparable population and getting dollar signs in his eyes.
  20. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    I'm sure there are people on this board who are much more familiar with the Indian business, but I ended up doing some investigating last year when WWE made a big push to break into the Indian market, and it's a tricky business that nobody has really quite figured out. The logic is all in the math, with 1.3 billion people in the country and an emerging economy, entertainment businesses see an untapped market that if you can convert just one percent into fans, you have 10 million new fans.

    It's not that simple though, and you can't just compare India to China because they are emerging economies with populations over a billion. India's incredible diversity in language, religion, race and economic status, makes it a unique country, and it lacks the uniform structure that China has developed. I'll give the NBA credit though, they were a decade ahead of other sports and entertainment company's when it came to breaking into China, although China did create an NBA superstar to aid their market, something India is unlikely to do.

    India has a lot of people, but a big thing for the NBA and all sport leagues is that outside of cricket, there isn't a real culture of paying for sporting entertainment. This has been a problem in garnering support for the I-League and other soccer leagues in India, which have struggled to gain support despite soccer being reasonably popular at the local level. Cricket is huge and the best players are major celebrities, but outside of that, spectator sports isn't as big of a business in India as it is in other parts of the world.

    Case in point: WWE last year noticed that a large amount of their social media users were from India. Something like 1/3rd of their Twitter followers and YouTube views were from India; which was great, but they weren't getting major additional revenue from India beyond their television contract with Sony Six; they didn't run any live events or shows in India, and they didn't have many subscribers to their On-Demand video service from India. They decided to try and turn a wrestler on their roster of Indian descent (but from Canada) into a major star because they believed they had a huge market of Indian fans just waiting to spend money...until they didn't. They ran two shows in Delhi and had to cancel one of them because ticket sales were so poor (they were actually worse than the previous shows they had run in India years before they decided to cater towards Indian fans) and they never saw any increases in their subscriptions to the WWE Network. The lesson was that they may have had millions of social media followers in India, but those people were not willing to pay any actual money to consume their product.

    Maybe WWE didn't promote it correctly, maybe the lack of a true middle class hurts the Indian market, or maybe India wasn't ready to accept Western entertainment; but those are all questions the NBA (and any other sports league) are going to have to figure out.
  21. mt8thsw9th

    mt8thsw9th anti-SoSHal SoSH Member

    Yup. As someone who has been to Mexico City many times, the assumption that it’s a lawless murder capital is completely unfounded (security issues can be real but I’d imagine people can afford security detail). I mean unless you are forcing them to live in an extremely dangerous part of the city. Also the implication that the city is too poor to ever support a professional team is...problematic. But short term this is just to get a foothold in the market. Who’s paying $300 for development league tickets?

    I realize the wealth distribution issues of Latin America, but even accounting for that the amount of money in CDMX dwarfs most US markets. A young player would have a much better lifestyle in Polanco or Lomas or Condesa than he ever could have in Cleveland or Oklahoma City.
    #21 mt8thsw9th, Dec 24, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  22. HomeRunBaker

    HomeRunBaker bet squelcher SoSH Member

    I'm no expert in Mexico City however a simple search tells stories of rapidly increasing homicide rates in the city with rival organized crime gangs infiltrating the area. I wouldn't say these fears are unfounded especially with the newest gang on the scene (Fuerza Anti-Union?) allegedly responsible for leaving two dismembered bodies on one of the busiest streets in the city this past summer. I mean if you're suggesting that everything will be fine provided that you have constant security detail around......then everything is not fine. I doubt Paul George would need such protection in OKC to feel safe.
  23. blick38

    blick38 Member SoSH Member

    I lived in a few cities in Mexico for about 4 years out of the last 10 (Mexico City, Guanajuanto City, and San Miguel de Allende). I’ve heard of very few kidnappings of Americans in these places. Most of the crime is petty theft. The extremely rare brutal violence directed at Americans, tends to occur on certain stretches of highway, not inside the cities. Generally, I wouldn’t recommend driving on these highways, especially at night. But I do it all the time, mostly because I look like a fucking psycho killer Ukrainian gangster. Mexico City is exceedingly safe, especially for Americans. Most of the crime there is gang vs gang. The whack-a-mole “kingpin” strategy, splintered the cartels into small gangs, desperate for cash to buy American guns. Depending on which resource you check (Insight Crime, Stratfor, etc) 70-80% of the hand guns and automatic weapons in Mexico come from the US. It’s basically impossible to buy a hand gun legally in Mexico. You can go through a long process to acquire a hunting rifle though. The violence in Mexico is a result of the ravenous appetite for drugs in America. We are very much responsible for the cartel and gang violence in Mexico.

    Mexico city is attracting a lot of European and American bohemians, artists, and writers. Mostly because of cheap rent, and the rich culture, and the arts and exquisite film scenes. It’s a beautiful country, with peaceful people. I love Mexico, and am in the process of acquiring residency there.

    I should add -- almost all cartel presence in Mexico City and Guanajuarto and Leon, is because that's where they attempt to hide their cash through real estate holdings.
    #23 blick38, Dec 24, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2018
  24. oumbi

    oumbi Member SoSH Member

    Blick38 raises very good points. On the US role in supplying the small arms to Mexico, there is this article from 5 months ago:


    Most of the Mexican states with higher murder rates are in the north. (Chihuahua, Nueve Leon, Sinoloa, Tamaulipas) This is understandable since it often the "end of the road" for drugs and immigrants as they try to find their way into the US. In places such as Tamaulipas, the cartels are incredibly dangerous, usually on the outskirts of cities and on highways.

    But that varies as well. Downtown Matamoros is really safe. My staff and I go to lunch there often. But Reynosa? Even my staff who grew up there and have family there prefer to avoid the downtown many days. They use social media to tip them off on what times and places are dangerous.

    Mexico City is like any big, big city in that crime is common, but more common in certain places. Many places are rather safe.

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