It was announced Tuesday, that the Texas Legends and the state of Veracruz, Mexico have agreed upon a sponsorship deal which includes the state's marketing phrase "Veracruz Incomparable" now adorning the front the Legends' jerseys, a center court Veracruz logo, and new naming rights to the arena. The Legends will now claim "Veracruz Court at Dr. Pepper Arena" as their new home. The agreement will also include Veracruz signage in the arena and more importantly television exposure.
This deal along with the hiring of Eduardo Najera, puts the Texas Legends ahead of the pack in terms of broadening the NBA brand in Mexico. With the close relationship that the Legends have with their NBA affiliate the Dallas Mavericks, this sort of marketing towards Mexico as a country itself, and to the Hispanic community (which is 38 percent of the population in Texas) increases the NBA's presence in Mexico. The idea of an NBA team, or perhaps a NBA D-League team in Mexico is becoming more plausible with business relationships similar to what Veracruz and the Legends have now established.
The NBA has seen success in having a team in Canada with the Toronto Raptors, and commissioner David Stern has been adamant about bringing the NBA brand overseas to Europe. Talk of an NBA team actually residing in Europe has since gone by the wayside, at least for now, but with the closer proximity that Mexico has, incorporating a plane flight into Mexico as apart of a NBA road trip, seems much more realistic than going across the pond.
Now that the D-League is broadcasting more than 350 of it's games this year via the NBA D-League YouTube channel, international exposure is at an all-time high for the league. Fans not only in Mexico, but worldwide now have access to live streaming D-League games, the most of any professional sports league. Veracruz and the Legends are tapping into this avenue of free advertising, as the D-League gains more popularity, viewership will increase as well. Companies will soon start realizing the opportunity in advertising with D-League teams, as the NBADL has taken a liking to being a trendsetter in terms of sports marketing.
Perhaps the NBA D-League could break even further ground by creating a team in Mexico, as the league itself is becoming a sort of test pilot for the NBA. With the Legends's new jersey sponsorship, the league itself now has four teams that rock a corporate logo on their jersey. The Springfield Amor (MGM Springfield), Erie BayHawks (LECOM), and Rio Grande Valley (Lone Star National Bank) are all examples of what may soon transfer into the NBA with the idea of jersey advertisements.
Donnie Nelson and the Texas Legends are leading the way in terms of bringing the NBA D-League to a new audience. Their partnership with Veracruz, Mexico is an excellent beginning step in spreading the NBA brand, and more importantly the NBA D-League brand in Mexico. By making these sorts of moves, we may just see an NBA, or an NBA D-League team setting up shop in Mexico sooner than expected.