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I've lived around Chicagoland most of my life and went to school an hour outside of Rockford for a time, so I think I can say this with some credibility:
Until the employment sitch in Rockford improves (if it ever does; it's the worst in the state), starting a D-League team would basically be the same as burning a huge bag of money, except the team would take more time, stress, and work and less gasoline to use.
The Lightning tried. They really did. They had a good, long run, but it just didn't make money sense to keep it going.
At least this guy is shooting for the D-League and not an ABA team.
The news out of Rockford isn't getting any better.
Rockford has unusually high violent crime rates for a city of its size. Most notably, the city has the fourth highest rate of aggravated assault in the country, with 10.5 cases for every 1,000 citizens in 2010. During the same period, 20 murders occurred, almost double the number in 2000.
Rockford is like Gary, Indiana in many ways. Maybe the city can realistically attract an IBL franchise.