Orlando, Florida - The Orlando Magic have craved a bigger stage ever since they started rebuilding six years ago. This December, in search of a larger platform, they'll play a pair of games in one of the world's largest cities.
In an effort to raise their international profile and to boost Amway's sales abroad, the Magic will host two regular-season games in Mexico City, the team and the NBA announced. The Magic will face the Chicago Bulls on Dec. 13 and the Utah Jazz on Dec. 15 at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico.
The DeVos family, which owns the Magic, co-founded Amway, and those ongoing ties to Amway played a role in the Magic's decision to play in Mexico City.
"Any time we have the opportunity to travel and represent the league internationally it is very attractive," Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel.
"It helps us to expand our brand in certain cities around the world. It certainly helps in relation to the promotion of our ownership's interests in Amway, and that's certainly the case with Mexico City as Mexico is a growing market for the Amway Corporation. So it's a great brand-building opportunity for both the Orlando Magic and the Amway Corporation."
The two games might come at a competitive cost, however.
Having two fewer games in Orlando could leave Magic players less rested than they are during a typical NBA season. Certainly the Magic will risk losing any home court advantage they usually derive from playing at Amway Center.
But Martins stressed league officials have created a regular-season schedule that will give Magic players rest after the trip to Mexico City. In addition, Martins said the Magic's first game following the Mexico City trip will be played in Orlando.
"So we're not concerned about it," Martins said. "We're excited about the opportunity. We're excited about showcasing the Orlando Magic brand again in Mexico City and representing not just the NBA but the city of Orlando internationally."
Asked if the Magic risk losing revenue as a result of playing two fewer games in Orlando, Martins answered, "There won't be any loss of revenue."
"As a matter of fact," he added, "there's a chance that the revenue that we derive from these two games may be greater than what we would have netted at the Amway Center from those two games."
Both games will be broadcast live by ESPN, league officials said.
The remainder of the 2018-2019 NBA schedule will be released soon, perhaps as early as this week.
The Magic have an extensive history of playing abroad during the preseason and the regular season. In 1996, for example, the franchise played two regular-season games in Tokyo. In 2012, the Magic played a preseason game in Mexico City. In 2016, the Magic played a regular-season game in London.
The Magic's games against the Bulls and the Jazz will be the NBA's 27th and 28th preseason or regular-season games in Mexico since 1992 - the most NBA games held in any country other than the United States and Canada.
The upcoming season will be the third consecutive season the NBA has played two regular-season games in Mexico City. Two of the last four regular-season games at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico were sell-outs, and the four games averaged an announced crowd of 20,186 people, according to National Baseball League records.
"It's one of the largest cities in the world," Martins said. "It's a city that has a very strong interest in NBA basketball. The league has had great success playing games there in the past. The Magic have been there before to play preseason games. This will be the first time that we're in Mexico City to play regular-season games. It's a very attractive market for the NBA and one that has a great avidity for NBA basketball. We've come to find that ... there's a nice base of Orlando Magic fans there as well."Read the full article at orlandosentinel.com.