SBD/February 5, 2014/Facilities

T'Wolves, Lynx Partner With Mayo Clinic On Downtown Practice, Sports Medicine Facility

T'Wolves and Lynx HQs will both move to the complex this fall
The Mayo Clinic as part of a partnership with the T'Wolves and WNBA Lynx will "open a sports medicine facility" in Minneapolis near the vacant Black E retail complex, according to Janet Moore of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. The teams will "move their practice facilities and headquarters from Target Center to the retail complex this fall." The 20,000-square-foot space will "have practice courts, a workout area and other amenities." Block E will be "renamed Mayo Clinic Square and will include services ranging from physical rehabilitation to sport-specific skill programs for elite and amateur athletes." Mayo is "entering a decidedly crowded sports medicine marketplace" with competitors such as TRIA Orthopaedic Center and Twin Cities Orthopedics. But Mayo will become the teams' "preferred medical provider, a role previously filled by TRIA and Edina Family Physicians." T'Wolves and Lynx CEO Rob Moor said that the facility’s "urban location will be unique in the NBA and WNBA." He added, "Most practice facilities are hidden in the suburbs. We are going to break that mold and become totally integrative with the community" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/5). Moor: "It's unique in the NBA to have a downtown urban practice facility, state-of-the-art, this size, attached by climate-controlled skyway to your arena -- it doesn't exist anywhere else." He added, "This is all private money going into this building." In St. Paul, Christopher Snowbeck notes the teams are "spending more than" $20M to create practice facility space. The franchises also are expected to "operate a retail store." Officials said that the practice courts when not being used by the teams will "be available for youth basketball programs and games" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/5).

FEELING MINNESOTA: In Minneapolis, John Vomhof Jr. notes T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor last year "explored a possible sale" of the team. But Taylor changed his mind because he "realized he was too excited about the franchise's improving on-court performance and its prospects for returning to profitability thanks to the NBA's recently revamped financial structure." Taylor’s decision to explore selling the T'Wolves "was born out of a broader" estate-planning process." His various other businesses are "set up to operate through trusts, but that’s not an option for the Wolves, because the NBA doesn’t allow it." With "no family member in position to inherit the club," the T'Wolves "would have to be sold if anything happened to Taylor." Minority Owner Bill Popp said that the hiring of President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders and the arena renovation "have helped provide new energy." Taylor: "As long as I’m healthy and I continue to have really good people making the day-to-day decisions, I probably could stay at it for quite awhile." He still hopes to "eventually bring on a minority investor who can be his successor in waiting, but he’s not in any rush" (MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/31 issue).
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