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NBA expansion: Could Vancouver be in the mix after new TV deals?

“At some point we want to look outside the United States in addition to Canada,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday

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Could the NBA make its long-awaited return to Vancouver?

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Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday that the league will focus on expansion, possibly in Canada, after a new round of TV rights deals are finalized.

“At some point we want to look outside the United States in addition to Canada. This may not be the right time to do that, but I also think about the long term,” Silver said earlier at a news conference in Boston. the start of the NBA finals.

Las Vegas and Seattle are both seen as favorites for new NBA franchises. Mexico City is also considered a contender.

However, Silver made no mention of Vancouver. But when asked in November whether the NBA “sees more fertile ground north of the border,” Silver didn’t shy away from the question.

He first praised the work the Toronto Raptors have done to make themselves “Canada’s team” and grow interest in basketball across the country, then mentioned interest from a few other major cities.

“I know there is interest from Montreal, we have heard from them. There is still interest in Vancouver,” he replied.

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However, the last three NBA teams sold each grossed $3 billion or more, which could be a bit rich for this market.

Francesco Aquilini, owner of Rogers Arena and the Vancouver Canucks, has said more than once that while the connection is obvious, the price tag for an expansion fee is too high.

Someone else could own the team, but who would pay that much just to be a tenant at Rogers Arena?

The Vancouver Grizzlies were founded in 1995, but moved to Memphis after the 2000-2001 season.

As for TV deals, the NBA is engaged in negotiations to renew its broadcast rights.

Bloomberg News reported last month that the new deals could net the league $76 billion over 11 years. The current contracts expire after the 2024-2025 season.

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference prior to Game One of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics at TD Garden on June 6, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a press conference prior to Game One of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics at TD Garden on June 6, 2024 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo by Adam Glanzman /Photographer: Adam Glanzman/Gett

The league has a number of candidates for teams, including some current and former players such as LeBron James. Current NBA rules prevent active players from buying into teams, but if James retires he will be eligible. The Lakers star currently owns a stake in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Penguins and Liverpool FC.

Another big name interested in ownership is Shaquille O’Neal, who told Bloomberg earlier this year that he would buy “any team available.”

With files from Patrick Johnston and Bloomberg News

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