Alex Martins Says Magic Looking To Move NBA D-League Affiliate To Jacksonville
Magic CEO Alex Martins yesterday said that the team has "an interest in moving its NBA Development League team to Jacksonville," according to Don Coble of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Jacksonville Univ. Associate AD/External Affairs Joel Lamp "confirmed the city wants a D-League franchise and is working to make that happen." Martins said that the Magic wants "its own 'hybrid' franchise so it won’t have to share players, coaches or administration personnel." He also wants his team's D-League franchise "to be closer to home." Coble notes the Magic's current D-League affiliate is in Ft. Wayne, Ind., after teaming with the Heat, T'Wolves and 76ers last season for the NBA D-League Sioux Falls Skyforce. ABA Jacksonville Giants Owner Ron Sholes said that he "already has talked with the NBA about a D-League franchise in Jacksonville, but the league said it wants at least three teams in the Southeast." The D-League currently has "five teams in the West, six in the center of the country and six in the Northeast, but no team closer to Jacksonville than Frisco, Texas" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/9).
TEST DRIVE: In Jacksonville, David Bauerlein notes barring a "final-day surge in ticket sales" for tonight's Pelicans-Magic NBA preseason game at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, the game "will be played before fewer fans than turned out in 2009 for the previous NBA face-off in Jacksonville." Through yesterday "about 5,000 tickets had been sold" in the 13,000-seat arena. Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said that the game "is the centerpiece for community activities spread over two days." He added, "It's already a success." City of Jacksonville Communications Dir David DeCamp said that ticket sales so far "have been enough to make the game financially viable." Bauerlein notes the budget for the NBA in Jacksonville this time around is "about $335,000, which covers the game and a pre-game Fan Fest." DeCamp said that the city's cost "is limited to $15,000 for the Fan Fest, organized by the Office of Special Events." He added that Jacksonville has "attracted $40,000 in sponsors but did not have a breakdown on the sponsors and their contributions" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 10/9).