SBD/Issue 175/Franchises

Minor Setback: Lakers' D-League Affiliate Taking One-Year Hiatus

The D-League L.A. D-Fenders "will take a one-year hiatus and will no longer use Staples Center" as their home, according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. TIMES. The team is "expected to reemerge at a different Southern California venue for the 2011-12 seasons." Lakers Owner Jerry Buss, who bought the D-Fenders in '06, "will retain ownership" of the team. The D-Fenders "generated no revenue from ticket sales because the only people allowed to attend their home games were those who bought tickets to Lakers home games." Games typically began "four hours before a Lakers game," and they often drew crowds of "fewer than 100 people." D-Fenders CEO Joey Buss: "When we got into the D-League, we took full advantage of the basketball opportunities. We want to take time to look at how we can maximize the investment on the business side as well. The goal is to bring them back for the 2011-12 season." Bresnahan noted it is unknown which D-League team the Lakers "will use next season, though they probably will share a club with two or three other NBA teams" (L.A. TIMES, 5/22). FANHOUSE.com's Matt Moore noted the D-Fenders "need a revamp to their image and business model." Relocating to a suburb of L.A. "would be ideal in an attempt to replicate the success of the smaller market D-League teams." Moore: "The D-League teams with ticket sales success have built strong local sponsorship and marketed to families. Both of these things are hard to accomplish at Staples with both the timing of the games and the fact that events at Staples price the crowd and sponsors out of it" (FANHOUSE.com, 5/22).

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