The NBA Is Not Going To Expand Into Paris

The NBA will play a game in France.

It is very unlikely that National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver will be singing Gay Paree as a prelude to a discussion about the league expanding beyond 30 teams in the relatively near future. The league keeps reiterating that expansion is not on the table. But the NBA does have a Chicago Bulls-Detroit Pistons matchup scheduled in Paris, France for January 19th and the inevitable question will come up. Will Paris be considered as a city for an NBA franchise? After all, Paris does have around 12 million people in its metropolitan area and hosts major sporting events including the French Open in tennis and is the home to a soccer and rugby teams and will host the 2024 Summer Olympics. So, it would be ideally suited for the NBA except Paris is in Europe and the NBA has never been able to formulate a plan to create a European division even though the thought of having a European division was first suggested two decades ago.

But there will be the usual platitudes about the host city that commissioners sprout. It is just the nature of the business. It is thought that Seattle and Las Vegas are the leading contenders for NBA expansion teams. Seattle has a building capable of hosting an NBA team along with corporate and TV money. Las Vegas does not have the TV dollars that most NBA cities provide and the sports entertainment dollar may be spreading thin in the market with so many sports events taking place. Then there is Mexico City. According to Silver, “In terms of Mexico City, I believe you’re doing all the things necessary to demonstrate to the league that ultimately we may be in position to house an NBA team here” Mexico City does not have big TV pesos. The Paris game is a novelty.

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Adam Silver