Wednesday, June 19, 2013

MJ Looks At Bringing Basketball Team To City

Moose Jaw is a hockey town, but could we become a basketball city? A Mississauga, Ontario-based sports marketing company is exploring the idea of Moose Jaw becoming home to a team in the new Canadian Basketball League.

Cosmos Sports is working with a group of investors to create the CBL, which would start play in the fall of 2014, with a goal of developing Canadian basketball talent.

“A group of three approached us about a year ago about a basketball league and we did a feasibility study for six months and came to the conclusion that if done correctly, a Canadian Basketball League really could have life,” said Cary Kaplan, president of Cosmos Sports.

The basketball talent in Canada has been growing over the past few years and Kaplan sees this as a good opportunity to keep players in their home country rather than going overseas or playing in smaller leagues in the States.

“There’s a lot of great Canadian players that have to play overseas and we want to retain them in Canada. If you live in Manitoba or Saskatchewan, why should you have to play in Fort Wayne, Indiana when you could play in Moose Jaw,” he said. “The skill level is high, there’s a lot of good Canadian basketball players.”

The league would feature eight to ten teams and be modeled on the NBA D League, which is a developmental league in the United States. Teams would be required to have six to nine non-import players on their roster with a $150,000 salary cap.

Cosmos Sports is eyeing some mid-market cities in Western Canada that they think could support teams in the league.

“We’ve had a number of preliminary conversations with the NBA, the Toronto Raptors, some NHL groups in Western Canada, and it seems like there’s an appetite both in small markets and large ones to have a Canadian Basketball League,” said Kaplan.

He says they’re looking at the WHL, OHL and QMJHL of examples on how these teams can be successful in smaller communities. “We have populations of 30, 40 and 50,000, and hockey is the primary event, but would it be exciting to have another 15 dates of basketball,” explained Kaplan.

“Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Red Deer, Lethbridge, those are all just as significant markets for us as Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.”

With the plan for the league now in place, the next step is to find interested parties as owners of teams. “What we’re really looking for is group or individual in Moose Jaw that believes in the market and potentially would like to be an owner,” said Kaplan.

“The first thing is we need a group that’s committed financially, so they have to have the financial wherewithal to do it, they have to have a passion for basketball, but also understand that it’s a business.

“If a group like that presents itself, we want them to be at this meeting in Edmonton and that’s where the opportunity to move forward would take place.”

(Discover Moose Jaw)

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