Basketball in Calgary?
New League to have $150,000 salary cap
Bobby Danger Jones
Canadian sports appear to have a promising future.
Forget about the Raptors, did you know that professional basketball is already being played in Eastern Canada? The Canadian National Basketball League currently only has teams in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, but attendance has been high for several years.
Now there is a group that has a vision to bring professional basketball to Canada as a whole.
Cosmos Sports Incorporated, who has worked with the National Hockey League, Canadian Football League, Major League Soccer and several other leagues has stated — after a feasibility study involving fans, administrators, government officials and stakeholders — that a professional basketball league in the Great White North can be “viable” and “sustainable” long term.
Nothing is set in stone yet but a projected start of Fall 2014 is a realistic goal. Two divisions would be separated for the regular season and brought together for the playoffs. The league would operate under a $150,000 salary cap.
Cosmos Sports is seeking eight potential investors, and according to the press release all applicants will be reviewed on a combination of their financial viability; their sales and marketing foundation; and their basketball acumen.
Once all prospective franchises are reviewed, a prospective owners meeting is targeted for mid-July of 2013 in Edmonton.
The Global News documentary series 16:9 looked into the current basketball league in Eastern Canada. Teams in small cities such as the Prince Edward Island’s Summerside Storm have seen a positive response to having a local sport franchise and draw fairly decent crowds. This may suggest that cities like Fort McMurray would be suitable as potential homes for the new league’s franchises, pending the construction of new sports stadium.
The CBL would be a platform for European and Canadian basketball development and — like the CFL — a certain amount of Canadians would have to be a part of every team’s roster.
Currently the NBA has a development league with a mere 16 teams to filter talent into their 30 team league. Barring European professional leagues and the overlooked CNBL, this leaves a deep pool of talented players without a platform to perform on.
There is merit to the case that Cosmos Sports has made and with the right investors it could be feasible. The Toronto Raptors draw a crowd of around 18,000 on average and sit right in the middle of the pack for attendance currently in the NBA.
The question of the leagues inception will be if basketball can gain popularity in the prairies. The Calgary 88’s of the World Basketball League which folded in 1992, saw a mediocre response from Calgarians. However, that was over 20 years ago.
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers have both expressed interest of expanding into the business of pasketball meaning that pro basketball may soon be an option for a night out on the QEII.