There’s a sport giving soccer a run for its money as an international sensation. Basketball is, or already has, taken the world by storm. Games outside the U.S. are proof that American sports can not be contained within its borders.
Daron Roberts, founding director of UT-Austin’s Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation, says leagues like the NFL have been playing games to London and Mexico City since 2007 and 2016 respectively. The demand is high enough that rumors of teams relocating abroad are not uncommon.
“This is a period where the American sport franchises and leagues are trying to find a way to export this product across the globe,” Roberts says.
The NBA is also taking advantage of this global demand, with four upcoming games in Mexico City, featuring the Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns and Detroit Pistons; teams that have good crossover appeal with local media, thanks to their proximity to U.S. borders. Roberts says opportunities to play abroad are given to teams that underperforming on the court and in the stands in their home regions. However, he doesn’t rule out top-tier teams playing abroad in the future.
“The higher-performing teams sort of see this as kind of a penalty because of the travel and the logistics,” Roberts says.
And this year’s NBA champion might not even be from the United States. The Toronto Raptors lead the Golden State Warriors in the league’s finals, 3 games to 1. The Raptors can win the best-of-seven series with a victory in game 5, Monday.
Written by Geronimo Perez.