Could a minor league basketball team save the Mobile Civic Center?
Mobile Ala. (WPMI) —
Mobile city leaders say plans for a new minor league basketball team could keep the Mobile Civic Center open. The New Orleans Pelicans are still considering Mobile as a possible location for their new D-league team. If the city is selected, the team would play inside of the Mobile Civic Center.
“Having the NBA stamp on it, the NBA logo, makes it a special opportunity,” said George Talbot, City of Mobile Director of Communications.
Talbot said it’s a great opportunity for the city and the civic center. Owners of the New Orleans Pelicans are considering a total of 11 different cities across the Gulf Coast for their new team, including Mobile, Gulfport, and Pensacola. They toured the Mobile Civic Center last week looking for a location that’s close to New Orleans with an arena that’s available.
If city leaders are interested, they have until Friday to respond. From there, they will have to draft a full proposal for the team by June. The team’s first season will be during the 2018-2019 basketball season. Right now, the ball is in Mobile’s court.
“We have a deadline of Friday to notify them of our intent to respond,” Talbot said, “we are optimistic”.
The big question moving forward: will the city of Mobile support a minor league basketball team?
The Mobile Civic Center was once home to a minor league basketball team, the Mobile Revelers, and attendance was poor. At Hank Aaron Stadium, home of the Mobile Baybears, they also struggle with attendance. Talbot said they think the NBA will draw a unique crowd.
“It’s a great that we’re getting this kind of interest from outside groups, so we’ll work on our proposal,” he said, “hopefully, we’ll be successful”.
Mobile native Demarcus Cousins currently plays for the New Orleans Pelicans. Sources say he may have had a role in the new D-league team discusions.