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Suns Games In Mexico An Opportunity To Build Stronger Fan Base Across Border

MEXICO CITY — Next year will be the first time the Suns will be playing regular season games in Mexico.

Basketball fans in Arizona and Mexico are anxiously waiting for Jan. 12 and 14. The Phoenix Suns will be playing in Mexico City against Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs.

But it’s not just sports fans who are anticipating the games.

The games will bring the Suns the opportunity to build a stronger fan base across the border, as they expect to make Mexico City their second home.

But others see the matches as a good opportunity to strengthen the political and commercial ties between Arizona and Mexico. A committee of VIP politicians and business people are planning to head to the Mexican capital.

Antonio Proto is the head of the city of Phoenix office in northern Mexico. He is involved in the organization of the delegation that will visit Mexico City for the Suns game.

“I know that Mayor Stanton wants to go and has some friends who want to go. Governor Ducey wants to go and he is also bringing friends, so I think we will have a good crowd of people from Arizona rooting the Suns in Mexico City,” Proto said.

According to the Phoenix representative, they expect at least a 100 people participating in the committee.

As part of their activities, Proto said the delegation is planning to invite leaders from Mexico City to root for their team, but also to network.

“We want to leave the great feeling of saying Phoenix has a great basketball organization and welcomes Mexico,” Proto says.

The relationship has a strong value: Arizona exported to Mexico more than $9 billion last year.

But Proto also expects that many other Arizonans join the games and get a closer look to the capital of Arizona’s top business partner.

“You have 22 million people in Mexico City, and it’s like New York, you have everything,” he says.

Rodrigo Cervantes is KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City, where he was born and raised. He has served as opinion writer, contributor and commentator for several media outlets and organizations in Mexico and the United States, including CNN, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Univisión. Cervantes previously worked as the business editor and editorial coordinator for El Norte, the leading newspaper in Monterrey and a publication of Grupo Reforma, Mexico’s premier news group. In Mexico City, Cervantes served in Reforma as a reporter, special correspondent, editor and special sections coordinator. Cervantes also held the editor position at MundoHispánico, a division of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia’s oldest and largest Latino newspaper. He also participated as one of the first members of the Diversity Advisory Group for Cox Media. In 2012, Cervantes was appointed as fellow for the Leadership Program of The New York Times/Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, as well as for the "Líderes Digitales" program from the International Center for Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded with the Poynter-McCormick Leadership Fellowship. Cervantes graduated with honors in communication sciences and journalism from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM), Mexico City Campus. Later, he was granted the Fundación Carolina Scholarship from the Spanish government to obtain an MBA degree at San Pablo-CEU School of Business (Madrid). Other awards include: the Power 30 Under 30 Award for Professional and Community Excellence in Atlanta, the Outstanding Alumni Medal from ITESM, and several José Martí Awards for Journalism Excellence from the National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP). Cervantes enjoys music, books, travel, friendship, good mezcal and the occasional company of his guitar.