The celebration is understandably lowkey at Ford Arena in Beaumont, TX. Things don’t always go as scheduled in the ABA.
In theory, they should be joyful pro basketball is coming to Beaumont, TX. The Southeast Texas Mustangs are scheduled to open play this fall at Ford Park Arena in the American Basketball Association. But you could hardly blame the Ford folks for demanding to see some upfront money.
You see, the ABA’s track record is … well … mixed at best. Last year, 17 of the league’s 50 teams folded or left the league in midseason. It was estimated the league played just slightly more than one third of its scheduled games. 50 teams are currently signed up for the new season. Last year, 46 started the season. Only seven of those teams are returning this year. The reason was simple: not enough revenue generated to pay the players … even at their small levels. (The Mustangs played in Rio Grande Valley last year.)
The Mustangs, of course, say they will be one of the survivors. John Hughes, Ford Park general manager, certainly hopes so. Hughes seems confident all Mustangs games will be played.
"We’re operating under the premise that the league is going to step up, if the team can’t make it, step up and make sure a game is going to be played," he said.
As a backup plan, however, Hughes said he has asked for but has not received written assurance from the league that it will pay to have a replacement team in place.
That would be better than what happened to Hughes last year. The Beaumont Drillers of the National Indoor Football League cancelled several games when players did not get paid on time.