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Fran
11-23-2009, 11:48 AM
The 16-team NBA Development League opens its 2009-10 regular season this week with two new markets — Springfield, Mass., and Portland, Maine — as the league continues an effort to create single-affiliation agreements with NBA teams.

This season, the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers will have a new ownership structure in which the team’s basketball operations are funded by the Houston Rockets, leaving the local business operations to be run by the teams’ owners. This is a model similar to minor league baseball and one that D-League President Dan Reed expects other teams to adopt.

“A main difference this year is our new single-affiliation model,” Reed said. “The Rockets will choose the players and the coaches and pay for the cost of basketball operations while local ownership sells tickets and operates the team locally. As more teams become interested in the model, there will be future growth.”

From the Sports Business Journal


D-League officials are bullish on this model because it allows for local ownership to help build fan affinity while leaving the basketball operations in the hands of the affiliated NBA team. It also allows fans of the NBA parent team to easily follow how potential call-ups are performing.Three other D-League teams will have direct affiliations with NBA teams when the league tips off. The Los Angeles D-Fenders are owned by the Lakers, the Austin Toros are owned by the San Antonio Spurs, and the Tulsa 66ers are owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The new Springfield team sold for just over $2 million, but the league isn’t banking just yet on aggressive expansion plans during the struggling economy. Last year, the D-League shuttered its Anaheim and Colorado franchises and replaced them with the Springfield and Portland teams. The D-League also added a franchise in Frisco, Texas, in suburban Dallas, but that team won’t begin play until the 2010-11 season.

“Our team valuations have quadrupled in the past few years,” Reed said. “Over time we will continue to grow, but we are happy with the current footprint.”

Last season, the D-League had an average attendance of 2,713 fans a game, down 3 percent from the 2007-08 average of 2,813, an all-time high for the league. So far this year season-ticket sales are flat and team sponsorship revenue has had a percentage drop in the single digits, but Reed would not disclose the specific decline. All D-League teams sell their own inventory.

“We are happy where we are at but we are not immune to the economy,” Reed said. “We are a little soft in team sponsorships. The decision-making cycle is lengthened.”

Like last season, all D-League games will be streamed live on the league’s Web site and NBA TV will broadcast one D-League game each week. The league also is working to find a national media partner.

“There has been some recent interest expressed from national media partners,” Reed said.

Ken, Steelheads fan
11-23-2009, 12:33 PM
...

This season, the D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers will have a new ownership structure in which the team’s basketball operations are funded by the Houston Rockets, leaving the local business operations to be run by the teams’ owners. This is a model similar to minor league baseball and one that D-League President Dan Reed expects other teams to adopt.

“A main difference this year is our new single-affiliation model,” Reed said. “The Rockets will choose the players and the coaches and pay for the cost of basketball operations while local ownership sells tickets and operates the team locally. As more teams become interested in the model, there will be future growth.”

...


Hmmmmm. Reed should have said, As more teams become interested in the model, there will be future teams like the LA D-Fenders.

The problem with Dan Reed's logic is minor league baseball is a hot ticket. It's not bad logic, but it IS apples and oranges. Already minor league basketball teams are not paying players (or barely paying players) and can't make it work.

panchess
11-23-2009, 08:04 PM
NBA teams don't really develop many players, and are in more need of a "spare parts" league like the old CBA. It's hard to justify the cost of a minor league team just for that.

Baseball and hockey teams don't enjoy paying for farm teams either, but it is their main source of finished talent. The vast majority of their players see time in the minors, not just the bench.

bectond
11-30-2009, 11:55 AM
Currently, most 2nd round picks start their careers overseas hopefully the NBA will increase salaries and allow those players to begin there careers here, I'm also upset that Nate Miles was cut, he is the type of player the current D-League blue-print(13K per) is designed to attract. I don't understand how he is not apart of the league.

not so fast
12-01-2009, 12:05 AM
if basketball was like baseball and would take kids out of high school in the draft, then it would increase the value of minorleague basketball. But the players (with a few exceptions) develop in college not in the minors. Baseball can buy prospects right out of high school (funny how not much ever said about that in terms of critizism. I know why but I won't say, dont' want to angry the political correct crowd).

skippy
12-01-2009, 12:12 AM
As an aside, the roster for Albuquerque looks horrible.

panchess
12-01-2009, 10:12 AM
Minor-league baseball in the United States is a 150-year tradition that pre-dates college baseball. There isn't anything "politically correct" about saying it.