SBD/March 11, 2014/Franchises

Knicks To Own/Operate New NBA D-League Team In Westchester County

The Knicks yesterday announced that they have bought their own D-League franchise to play at the Westchester County Center, near the Knicks' training center in suburban N.Y. The team will be the D-League’s 18th franchise and the Knicks will become the seventh NBA club to own and operate a D-League team. The team will join the D-League next season. Knicks Assistant GM Allan Houston will be GM of the new franchise. D-League Texas Legends President Bill Boyce has been hired as VP/Sales & Business Operations for the Knicks’ team (John Lombardo, Staff Writer). The Knicks are inviting fans to help choose the name for the new team. From now until March 24, fans can go to nyknicksdleague.com to submit their names online. Following the submission process, fans will go back to the same website to vote for the final team name. In addition, as of yesterday, fans can enter to win two full season tickets on the website. The sweepstakes will run until April 11 (Knicks). In New York, Mike Dougherty notes purchasing ownership rights to a D-League team and locating that franchise at Westchester County Center "seems a logical step for the Knicks, who like the idea of developing talent a little closer to home." But getting local fans "on board might require some convincing." Selling tickets in "an environment with so much competition for entertainment dollars and family time can be a chore." Houston said, "This venue is perfect for this type of league because of the size, the intimacy." Dougherty notes the Knicks "signed a five-year leasing agreement" with Westchester County. There is "an MSG option in place to add five years to the deal." Westchester County is to "share in revenue from tickets, parking, concessions and merchandise." Westchester County Exec Rob Astornio "projects income from the regular-season games ranging from $48,000 to $288,000" (Westchester JOURNAL NEWS, 3/11).

LOOKING FORWARD: In Pennsylvania, John Dudley notes the Knicks currently are in the "third year of an affiliation agreement" with the Erie BayHawks. BayHawks Majority Owner Steve Demetriou in a statement said that the franchise has been "in contact with potential affiliates." He called the addition of the White Plains franchise "very positive news for our league." Demetriou previously said that the BayHawks would "seek a hybrid affiliation in which the NBA team pays for and controls basketball operations while local ownership maintains primary responsibility for business operations" (ERIE TIMES-NEWS, 3/11).

FEELING MINNESOTA: In Minneapolis, Sid Hartman notes the T'Wolves "might have their own farm team in the near future." T'Wolves President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders said he and Owner Glen Taylor are "talking about the ability to buy maybe a hybrid-type team and have our own NBDL team where we can put our own coaches in there, our own system, and we can send guys up and down" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 3/9).
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Franchises, New York Knicks, NBDL

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