Adam Joseph and Keith P. Smith of 16WinsaRing.com have reported that expansion for the National Basketball Association is looming in the near future, with league executives seriously talking about adding two teams to the league. In keeping with this report, league commissioner Adam Silver has confirmed that options for expansion are being discussed.
One likely location for expansion is a familiar venue to the NBA, while another is one that the league has recently flirted with. Seattle, Washington, was the former home of the Oklahoma City Thunder and SuperSonics games were well-attended there for over four decades. There has been discussion about relocating existing NBA franchises to Seattle in the past, which included the Sacramento Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks.
One obstacle that has prevented Seattle’s bids to get an existing franchise to relocate is the lack of an appropriate venue for the team to call home. Desired upgrades to the KeyArena, where the SuperSonics last played, was the reason why the franchise left for Oklahoma City in 2008. Hedge fund manager Chris Hansen says that he has the means to construct a new arena for a future NBA team, and that might be the reason why Seattle is a front-runner in the expansion despite the city’s lack of action on the front.
The other possible location rumored to be a current front runner for expansion is Mexico City, the capital city of Mexico. Recent games played in the city have boasted strong attendance and peripheral sales. Mexico City has a venue ready for an anchor tenant like an NBA team, La Arena Cuidad de Mexico, and the support of the business community as well. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has become part of the push to add a franchise in Mexico City. Additionally, putting a franchise in Mexico City would be a step towards the league’s stated goal of growing the game internationally.
Another serious contender is Louisville, Kentucky. Like Mexico City, Louisville has a turn-key venue ready for an NBA team, and the greater Louisville area would automatically become the NBA’s eighth-largest market if it joins the league. The 16WinsaRing.com report also lists Las Vegas and Vancouver as potential destinations, but questions the seriousness of those options.
With labor peace achieved for the foreseeable future, revenues at an all-time high, and its product performing well on many mediums, the logical choice to grow the business is to directly inject the product into new markets. How soon that happens and exactly which markets are the large questions that remain unanswered.