Get ready for the Mexico City Magic.
The Orlando Magic made their “major announcement” on Tuesday, revealing that the team will host two regular season games in Mexico City this December in the NBA Mexico City Games 2018. They will play the Chicago Bulls on December 13 and the Utah Jazz on December 15, with both games being played at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico and serving as home games for the Magic.
“Having been to London twice and Japan and China and Mexico City and Brazil, we love representing the NBA and city of Orlando when we have the opportunity to play in these global games,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins during the Magic’s Facebook Live. “We’ve had the opportunity to be in Mexico City before for some preseason games and we know the passion of the fans in Mexico City. And we’re really looking forward to bringing our team back to Mexico City to play these two regular season games in December.”
Mexico City hosted four NBA regular season games last season. It will be the second time the Magic played in Mexico City, having competed in a preseason game there against the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012. Both games will be televised live on ESPN.
RELEASE: NBA Mexico City Games 2018 to feature Orlando Magic hosting Chicago Bulls (Dec. 13) and Utah Jazz (Dec. 15)#NBAenMexico#PureMagic pic.twitter.com/duXzDUUhU8— Orlando Magic PR (@Magic_PR) August 7, 2018
Jonathan Isaac was on hand for the announcement and expressed excitement about playing in Mexico City.
“Having the opportunity to showcase the game that we all love so much all around the world is super exciting and amazing,” Isaac said. “Sport and basketball’s ability to unite people. I’m super excited to get to Mexico City and experience everything that I can.”
OFFICIAL: The Bulls will play the @OrlandoMagic at the Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City this season!— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 7, 2018
Read: https://t.co/FJdwV41Idq pic.twitter.com/ZCvN5SxpfS
There was plenty of speculation around social media when the Magic announced that they would join with the NBA to make a “major announcement” on Tuesday. Many thought it meant the All-Star game would be returning to Orlando for the third time, others thought the team might unveil a new logo or uniform, and some joked the team might be leaving Orlando. The correct guess was that the team would be playing internationally, something the Magic expressed interest in to the league last year, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It’s happening #TakeNote— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) August 7, 2018
>> https://t.co/aNq6mil56y pic.twitter.com/LOKoMMvBIX
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for our organization and for the NBA to showcase our game around the world,” Martins said on Tuesday. “And for us as an organization to be able to represent the NBA, and Orlando and the Central Florida community is a great opportunity for us. We’re honored to be able to do it, to bring our young tam to Mexico City again. This regular season is going to be very exciting for us.”
The Magic have played outside of the United States and Canada six times in franchise history:
1993 – Two exhibition games in London against the Atlanta Hawks
1996 – Two regular season games in Tokyo against the New Jersey Nets
2007 – Exhibition game in Shanghai; two exhibition games in China
2012 – Preseason game in Mexico City against the New Orleans Hornets
2015 – Preseason game in Rio de Janeiro against Flamengo
2016 – Regular season game in London against the Toronto Raptors
“My expectation first off is to win,” Isaac said. “Win those two games and get that done. But also to take time to experience all that we can in Mexico City: the fans, the people, the culture, the food. Get out and do some cool things. So I’m excited.”
After the Magic’s promotion of the announcement, the news might be disappointing for fans in Orlando that were hoping for the All-Star Game or some new Magic jerseys and instead will have two games moved out of their backyard. And if there are any fans in Orlando that were hoping to see Donovan Mitchell play in person during Utah’s only trip to Central Florida, we feel your pain.
What are your thoughts on the Magic heading to Mexico City? Join the discussion below