The Miami Heat will play its first international regular season game in franchise history on Dec. 9 against the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City.
Mexican journalist Paulina Benavente broke the news Tuesday on her Twitter account and the league is expected to formally make the announcement when it releases its Global Games schedule on Wednesday afternoon. The rest of the NBA’s regular season schedule will be released next week.
The Heat will be the second opponent for the Nets in Mexico City according to Benavente with Brooklyn first hosting Oklahoma City on Dec. 7. Both games will count toward Brooklyn’s home schedule.
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Last season, the Suns hosted the Spurs and Mavericks in Mexico City and drew more than 20,000 fans at Mexico City Arena for each game. It was the first time Mexico City had hosted regular season games.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the NBA would like to explore the country further and would consider adding a franchise in Mexico City in the future.
“This is a competitive market, well over 20 million people,” Silver said during the NBA’s visit to Mexico City last January. “While we have no immediate plans to expand the NBA, one of the things that we look at is whether expanding would be additive to the league as a whole. Clearly coming to Mexico City just because of the huge population here in Mexico but in essence as a gateway to rest of Latin America could potentially be very important to the league. You clearly have a beautiful state-of-the-art arena here, and you can tell by ticket sales that we have the interest. So that’s something that we will continue to look at.”
In 1991, the Miami Heat and the Washington Bullets played a preseason game in Nassau, Bahamas, marking the first NBA preseason game in the Caribbean. The Heat has since played preseason games in the Santo Domingo, San Juan, Paris, London, Beijing, Shanghai and Rio de Janeiro. But Miami has never played an international regular season game until now.
Mexico City has hosted four regular season games over the last three seasons and 24 preseason and regular season games overall since 1992.