A new home on the range?

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ABARedWhiteBlue
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A new home on the range?

Post by ABARedWhiteBlue » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:50 am

http://theexaminer.com/main.asp?Section ... cleID=3734
Mavericks leaving Ford Arena
Southeast Texas basketball team will play in former rodeo arena near Winne beginning next season

James Shannon
Mid & South County Editor

The Southeast Texas Mavericks, the American Basketball Association team that has called Ford Arena home for the past two seasons, will leave that facility when the current season ends next month.

In an exclusive interview with The Examiner, team president Candace Griffin said the Mavericks will move to a rodeo arena in Winnie that is currently being enclosed to create an all-weather facility.

County officials expressed surprise when told of the team's decision.

"I hadn't heard that," said Jeff Branick, assistant to County Judge Ron Walker and the only candidate to succeed Walker in the next election.

Ford Park General Manager John Hughes said the team had not informed the facility that they were leaving. He said rental fees paid by the team to rent the facility including set-up charges, staffing and other costs meant that no money was lost by Ford Arena on the games. When the team's income from ticket sales fell well short of that amount, they sought and obtained a reduction in the per-game charge.

"Last year, it was around $8,000 (per game)," said Hughes. "This year, I think it's around $5,000."

As for the basketball floor purchased by Jefferson County for Ford Arena at a cost of more than $60,000, Hughes said it has paid for itself.

"After this season, the rent we've been collecting from this basketball team will basically offset the cost of the court," said Hughes, who added that Ford Arena will keep the court after the Mavericks leave for use in special events like the recent Harlem Globetrotters show and high school and college basketball tournaments that may be booked there.

Hughes said he was on a radio program recently and was asked "Do sports work in Southeast Texas outside of high school football?" and responded, "The short answer to that is 'I don't know.' From a building management standpoint, I'm always interested to look for opportunities to rent the building; as long as the building isn't subsidizing the operation and it's basically a zero-cost game for me, then I'm going to entertain it. I'm at least going to put it out there and let the public decide."

The Southeast Texas Mavericks, who played last year as the Mustangs and still retain the equine mascot with the new name, were owned by Jerry Nelson, a Winnie rancher who also promotes rodeos, rock and country concerts and monster truck shows. In 2009, his daughter Candace Griffin took the reins as Mavericks team president and 60 percent owner, but Nelson remains closely involved in the business.

"She's done a helluva job putting the team together and we're going to make the playoffs again and got a good shot at winning the world championship," he said of Griffin. Disappointing ticket sales at Ford Arena were only one of the reasons cited for the move.

"I'm having to go hustle to try to find a place to play playoff games in March," said Nelson. "Most probably, the (ABA) World Finals will be held in Jefferson County and they're not going to be played in Ford Arena. Even though my contract with them says I can play even my playoff, they have the deal the county did with the YMBL where the YMBL takes possession of that building March 15 and doesn't give it back until April 15" due to the State Fair.

Nelson is quick to add his problem is not with YMBL.

"I know the fair is real important and I know the YMBL does a lot of things to help people - that's why I joined it four years ago," he said. "But if the Eagles wanted to come in here and book a date during the fair to play in Ford Arena, they couldn't rent them the building."

Despite the lack of any Don Henley sightings in the skies above Ford Arena, Nelson is already moving ahead with construction to enclose the rodeo arena he owns on Highway 73 between Winnie and Port Arthur in Jefferson County.

That facility sits on 42 acres and has been used to stage concerts and rodeos.

"I booked Bad Company with Paul Rogers out there in 1998 or 1999, and we had 5,000 people show up," he said. "I'm going to be able to seat 3,200 people in permanent seats. If I wanted to put on a big concert in there, in theory I could seat five or six thousand people using space on the floor and chairs."

Nelson insists the Mavericks will be here next season, and they will play their home games at the yet-to-be-named arena near Winnie. He was reluctant to vent many specific grievances against Ford Park but seemed mystified about public perception of the facility - and how that has hurt his basketball team.

"I was raised here; I went to South Park High School; I went to Lamar University; I'm 54 years old; I've been in business here in this town for 35 years, and I just don't understand," remarked Nelson. "But it's evident that the people of this town don't support that facility for whatever reason. If you look at the tax rolls, everybody screams that it costs them money. But if you really look at it, it only costs the residents of this county 15 cents per person a year to have the facility."
Proud to be "Mean-spirited blogger #10K" ;)
And we believe it is better to have critics and people who care than not to have interest at all. Joe Newman 6/30/05
I never said the ABA had the greatest numbers regarding retention of teams. OldSchoolBaller (neither did we :rolleyes: )
The ABA has tarnished minor league professional basketball throughout this country Ed Krinsky 2/15/06
We are now making some adjustments to our schedule - Joe Newman 10/9/08 in perpetuity

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Post by a1sports » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:07 pm

can anyone say ego? Nelson has no concept and there are no World ABA championships. Another self promoter, who if he knew what was going on, wouldnt have been in the ABA to start with. Of course now he and tucker want to start the ABL with ABA teams...wow, think some bull kicked him in the head.

Dont blame the arena nor the people of Beaumont. No one cares there about basketball, especially ABA besketball. But oh will they flock to see the team play in a rodeo stadium in the middle of no where.be careful where you are walking, and that smell, it isnt the stink of the ABA your smelling.

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Post by SignGuyDino » Tue Feb 16, 2010 12:54 pm

David Waronker.

All that needs to be said.
Never make anyone a priority that makes you an option.

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Post by poppajohn » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:07 pm

[quote=""a1sports""]can anyone say ego? Nelson has no concept and there are no World ABA championships. Another self promoter, who if he knew what was going on, wouldnt have been in the ABA to start with. Of course now he and tucker want to start the ABL with ABA teams...wow, think some bull kicked him in the head.

Dont blame the arena nor the people of Beaumont. No one cares there about basketball, especially ABA besketball. But oh will they flock to see the team play in a rodeo stadium in the middle of no where.be careful where you are walking, and that smell, it isnt the stink of the ABA your smelling.[/quote]
Where is your vision? I can see caravans of chartered buses -- speeding east from Houston and west from Beaumont -- converging on a rice field in Winnie TX, to deliver thousands of the SETX Mavericks' faithful to the ABA's championship tournament. Or is that ABL?

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Sam Hill
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Post by Sam Hill » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:33 pm

What a get for The Examiner! An exclusive interview! You crusade, journalist! You crusade!
Old enough to remember when bashing the ABA was fun.

poppajohn
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Post by poppajohn » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:17 pm

[quote=""a1sports""]can anyone say ego? Nelson has no concept and there are no World ABA championships. Another self promoter, who if he knew what was going on, wouldnt have been in the ABA to start with. Of course now he and tucker want to start the ABL with ABA teams...wow, think some bull kicked him in the head.

Dont blame the arena nor the people of Beaumont. No one cares there about basketball, especially ABA besketball. But oh will they flock to see the team play in a rodeo stadium in the middle of no where.be careful where you are walking, and that smell, it isnt the stink of the ABA your smelling.[/quote]
The blockbuster decision to move the Mavericks from Beaumont to Winnie TX is a front page story in today's Beaumont Enterprise but fan apathy is apparent since only six people took time to comment:

http://www.beaumontenterprise.com/sport ... Comments=y

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bdyer
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Not surprised by the move

Post by bdyer » Wed Feb 17, 2010 6:30 pm

I'm just impressed they have apparently paid that kind of rent for two seasons.

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Post by Paul S » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:20 am

Just another sucker...............ahhh sorry...........investor who bought into Joe's sales pitch and also compounded his problems by putting a team in the worst market for minor league sports in the entire country. The Texas Wildcatters couldn't draw crickets, the indoor team was a lesson how to fund a team with no ticket sales and now the worst league in the history of the American Empire shows up and they wonder why it doesn't work.

This ridiculous league keeps finding honest people who want to do the right thing but the near tsunami of poor management, bad teams and abysmal leadership has once again outdone the best of intentions.


Good luck to the ABL.
Mean Spirited Blogger Number 14


"If games are missed, it hurts no one" ...... ABA CEO Joe Newman 2/9/09


Due to numerous threats of legal action from certain people.......all of the above is my opinion only and it should be noted that I have never invested in the ABA. It is simply one mans opinion.

poppajohn
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Post by poppajohn » Thu Feb 18, 2010 1:25 pm

[quote=""Paul S""]Just another sucker...............ahhh sorry...........investor who bought into Joe's sales pitch and also compounded his problems by putting a team in the worst market for minor league sports in the entire country. The Texas Wildcatters couldn't draw crickets, the indoor team was a lesson how to fund a team with no ticket sales and now the worst league in the history of the American Empire shows up and they wonder why it doesn't work.

This ridiculous league keeps finding honest people who want to do the right thing but the near tsunami of poor management, bad teams and abysmal leadership has once again outdone the best of intentions.


Good luck to the ABL.[/quote]
The Mavericks' owner on Beaumont telly:

http://www.kfdm.com/video/?videoId=6709 ... =&play=now

poppajohn
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Post by poppajohn » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:04 pm

[quote=""poppajohn""]The Mavericks' owner on Beaumont telly:

http://www.kfdm.com/video/?videoId=6709 ... =&play=now[/quote]
Oops.. Here's the clip:

http://www.kfdm.com/sections/sports/

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