Business Pensacola

Pelicans ownership key to success of G League affiliate

August 7, 2017

Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward is right to tout billionaire Tom Benson’s ownership of the NBA New Orleans Pelicans. The stability of ownership and the team management are keys to success.

The NBA developmental program began in 2001 with only eight teams. By 2009, the league had doubled in size, fielding 16 teams. This year, the G League will have 26 teams and plans to expand to 30 for the 2018-19 season.

However, team ownership hasn’t always been stable over the past 16 years. Twenty-one teams have shut down or relocated to other cities. The league folded the Mobile Revelers, Roanoke Dazzle, Greenville Groove, Florida Flame and Fayetteville Patriots.

This year, five NBA teams either purchased expansion teams or current ones, which is a good sign. The Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks, and Memphis Grizzlies acquired expansion teams. The Orlando Magic bought the Erie BayHawks and will debut the affiliate as the Lakeland Magic. The Minnesota Timberwolves purchased the Iowa Energy and renamed the team the Iowa Wolves.

Our polls show city voters want the team, and the majority favor the mayor working with the private sector to build a new arena.

The devil will be in the details. Mayor Hayward needs to put together a win-win deal for the Pelicans and Pensacola. Time is ticking away. Reportedly he has until the end of August to present the team with his proposal.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Slick Rick August 9, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    * The Pelicans will be making their decision by the end of August, the city isn’t submitting another proposal. If we’re selected then negotiations will begin. So far all they’ve asked is what our area has to offer and will the community support the organization.

    If they don’t chose Pensacola, your pessimistic hot takes surely haven’t helped. Try using your media outlet to put a positive spin on opportunities like this, will ya? The fact that they’re considering us is HUGE.

    • Reply Rick Outzen August 10, 2017 at 7:51 am

      City Administrator Eric Olson told county staff the June 7 presentation was not a proposal. Mayor Hayward said in his letter to the BCC that he was presenting to become a finalist and that more work needed to be done. Pensacola and Shreveport are the finalists.

      The Pelican management is waiting for more specifics by the end of August – the mayor has told this to the media. If nothing else is needed for the Pelicans to make their decision, then why did the mayor ask for a county liaison?

      The BCC, public and Inweekly are also waiting to see the specifics of what Mayor Hayward wants to offer the Pelicans.

      We support the effort and simply ask for details.

      • Reply Slick Rick August 10, 2017 at 9:49 am

        A final proposal will be determined once the Pelicans make their decision. That proposal process could take some time (after August) once a city is selected. The Mayor probably asked for a County liaison so if we are selected we can all collaborate and work together to bring the franchise here.

        If you truly “supported the effort” you wouldn’t have “the devil will be in the details” highlighted in you’re inweekly.

        I understand you really enjoy being the TMZ of Pensacola, but c’mon man, this is a great opportunity and you’re being a Debbie Downer, and it is NOT helping our case.

        • Reply Rick Outzen August 10, 2017 at 10:14 am

          The details are important, especially if they involve public facilities and funds. The Pelicans’ Steven Pate privately told Commissioner Lumon May that they wanted more specifics. The mayor’s request for a liaison made no mention that the designee wouldn’t be needed until after Pensacola was chosen–I’m not sure from where you’re getting that timetable. The PNJ reported: “Hayward asked (County Administrator) Brown to ask the commission to appoint a commissioner and senior county staff member to work with him on the details of having a potential G League team play at the Bay Center.” The BCC said they would not commit until they are given more details in a public meeting.

  • Reply CJ Lewis August 7, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    One proposal could be that the Pelicans build their own arena. What is the point of being a “billionaire” if you do not spend your money? Another even easier idea is that billionaire Tom Benson could buy the Pensacola Bay Center from Escambia County, renovate it and relieve county taxpayers of the burden of maintaining it and operating it at a loss.

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