SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

NBA checks out whether it should check out of Vancouver

The NBA hired Ernst & Young to analyze the viability of the Vancouver Grizzlies franchise as talks continue between the team's owner and a would-be buyer.

A deal to sell the NBA team to Wal-Mart heirs Bill and Nancy Laurie was put on ice earlier this year after the league's finance committee expressed concerns that the team would be moved to St. Louis, where the Lauries recently bought the NHL Blues and the Kiel Center.

When the proposed sale was announced, officials at Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment, the owner of the Grizzlies, said Canadian economic issues, including an unfavorable exchange rate, played a part in the decision to sell the team.

Last week, Stanley McCammon, president of Orca Bay, indicated that the two sides were still trying to work out a deal.

"We are still in dialogue with the buyers and the league, and we are all conferring about how to address the concerns raised by the finance committee," he said, refusing to comment further.

The Grizzlies are an expansion franchise that began play during the 1995-96 season. NBA observers say Commissioner David Stern is against giving up on a Canadian franchise, especially in light of his strategy to expand the NBA's reach globally.

In a Nov. 1 conference call with reporters, Stern said the league's board is analyzing how the team is doing financially.

"But since we just expanded to Vancouver, there was a strong sense that before you abandon a city, you want to make every effort to see whether that city can, in fact, support the team after the necessary infrastructure arrangements have been made for the facility," he said. "Clearly we would love to see our franchises succeed where they are located. If they can't, they can't."

Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug