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Mexico City Welcomes Two Phoenix Suns Home Games

The mayor of Mexico City is welcoming the Phoenix Suns, who will play two of their regular season home games there this week.

For Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera, this week’s games are a big deal. In 2016, Mexico City attracted the NFL, Formula 1 and, so far in 2017, the NBA.

“We said we would start the year with world-class sporting events, and now here’s the NBA,” Mancera told a crowd in downtown Mexico on Tuesday.

The Suns is sending about 150 people to prepare for the games and help promote them, explained team President Jason Rowley.

Rowley said he hopes the games will help the team attract Mexican-American fans living in Arizona and help foster good will between Arizona and Mexico.

"Our belief is that we have a lot of connectivity there and there's a lot of opportunity there to continue to develop our Mexican American and Hispanic fan base,” Rowley said.

The Suns will be host  at the Mexico City Arena for the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday and the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday.

Jorge Valencia joined KJZZ in August 2016 as the station's first senior field correspondent based in Mexico City. His reporting focuses on the business and economics between Arizona and Mexico.Valencia previously covered the North Carolina statehouse in Raleigh for North Carolina Public Radio. He reported on a controversial law that curtailed protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and on voting rights and environmental policy issues. He also reported on the shooting of three Arab-American students, traveling to Turkey's border with Syria to report on a project the students had started to help Syrian refugees.Valencia began his journalism career covering crime for the Roanoke Times of Virginia and in internships with newspapers including the Wall Street Journal. He has been the recipient of multiple journalism awards for his work in radio and in newspapers. Valencia studied journalism at the University of Maryland and grew up in Bogotá, Colombia, and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.