Leading up to their home opener, the Lakeland Magic have been looking to build a base of support within their new community.
As part of a move that took effect for the 2017-18 NBA Gatorade League season, the Orlando Magic purchased the Erie BayHawks and relocated them to Lakeland, FL. The newly-minted Lakeland Magic will play their home games at the RP Funding Center, which received renovations to accommodate professional basketball.
The Magic’s home opener is set for Friday, November 10, when they host the Canton Charge. Over the period leading up to that the game, the Magic have been reaching out to the Lakeland community to build a base of support, according to team president Shelly Wilkes. In a recent Q&A with News Chief, Wilkes described how the club has gone about its community engagement efforts in Lakeland and Polk County:
As a staff, we have been working diligently to get involved in as many places and meet as many people as possible in Lakeland and Polk County. From meeting with large corporate employers to being on university and college campuses to signing up youth basketball organizations to become Jr. Magic partners, we want everyone to be a part of the Magic that is happening right here in Polk County. Our home opener is on Friday at 7 p.m. at the RP Funding Center (formerly The Lakeland Center) and we hope the community rallies behind their newest hometown team and supports us as we tip off this inaugural season.
The former Lakeland Center received its new name earlier this year, when officials announced a naming rights agreement with RP Funding.