With the Erie BayHawks on their way out, some in Erie are hoping that the city can land another NBA D-League franchise.
In a decision that was announced last week, the Orlando Magic are set to purchase the BayHawks and move the team to Lakeland, FL. The announcement came as the Magic neared the end of their three-year affiliation agreement with the BayHawks.
Now that the team’s departure is imminent, there is a push in Erie to find a D-League franchise to take the place of the BayHawks, with businessman Owen McCormick leading a prospective group of investors However, one challenge the group faces is location.
The move of the BayHawks reflects a larger trend around the D-League, which is the shift of franchises to markets that are closer to their affiliate’s home base. Finding a way around that trend will be an issue in Erie. More from GoErie.com:
Fingers crossed. But as BayHawks President Matt Bresee noted, even that could be a short-term arrangement while an NBA partner gets its affairs in order in a different city.
As Erie Times-News columnist John Dudley pointed out on Friday, geography is working against Erie. The trend in D-League ownership structure and operations is teams owned directly by an NBA franchise and located near the parent team’s city.
As Dudley noted, the BayHawks’ ownership structure doesn’t fit that model and Erie is not a good geographic fit for any of the seven NBA teams that have no D-League affiliation.
The BayHawks have played at Erie Insurance Arena since their establishment in 2008.