SBJ/June 4 - 10, 2001/No Topic Name

NBDL names 2 more sites, still needs one

The NBA's fledgling National Basketball Development League will put teams in Columbus, Ga., and Greenville, S.C., leaving one market to round out the eight-team minor league, which begins play in November.

The Columbus and Greenville entries will join teams in Fayetteville, N.C.; North Charleston, S.C.; Huntsville, Ala.; Mobile, Ala.; and Roanoke, Va. The NBDL's lone remaining market is expected to be named in a few weeks, although less than six months remains until the NBDL season begins.

"There are a number of cities vying for the eighth spot, but we are taking our time," said NBA senior vice president Rob Levine. "Everyone has been so focused on the completion of the deals, but we have to be certain that wherever we go we will be successful."

Terms of the NBDL deals call for the league to keep 100 percent of ticket sales and anywhere between 50 percent and 75 percent of concessions and parking revenue.

The NBDL will play a 56-game schedule that runs from November through March, with 24 games to be televised on ESPN and ESPN2.

While the NBA contributed an undisclosed financial stipend to the now-defunct Continental Basketball Association, the NBDL is the NBA's first effort to create a viable minor league run under the NBA umbrella. None of the NBDL teams will have a direct affiliation with specific NBA clubs, so NBDL players will be eligible to play for any NBA team. Players on the 11-man team rosters must be at least 20 years old to play in the league and will earn about $30,000. NBA officials hope that the NBDL will also help develop a front-office talent pool.

The structure of the NBDL includes an agreement with SFX Entertainment to bring concerts and other entertainment events to NBDL franchise facilities, giving the second- and third-tier cities the opportunity to fill additional arena dates.

"Partnering with the NBDL and SFX Entertainment will not only help us maximize use of the Civic Center, but offer even more entertainment options for fans throughout our region," said Columbus Mayor Bobby Peters in a statement. "This agreement will take our city to another level in sports, concerts and family entertainment."

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