The Long Island Nets are planning for the future, as the club is looking to be a part of the ongoing momentum for the NBA Gatorade League.
This is the first season of G League basketball on Long Island, as the Nets debuted at the newly renovated Coliseum last fall. Their arrival to Long Island came over the course of a period of growth for the G League, which has added seven teams over the past two seasons and will expand to at least 27 for the 2018-19 season. There has also been an influx of NBA teams owning their G League clubs, and placing them closer to their base of operations.
The Nets, who were one of three teams to begin play for the 2016-17 season, certainly have been a part of this trend. Going forward, the club plans to be a fixture in the league, as Nets vice-president of business operations Alton Smith said the club wants to grow over time. More from Newsday:
On the surface, it might appear the LI Nets are paddling furiously to keep their head above water. Byrd said attendance averages between 2,000 and 2,500 per game, and he admitted profitability is a distant goal. But survival isn’t in question because of the support of Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Coliseum and the LI Nets.
“It’s about building the franchise steadily over a period of time,” Byrd said. “We’re starting with a new generation of basketball fans and a new opportunity. The quality of basketball in the G League continues to improve significantly. I look at other teams that have started here and how long it has taken them, and I think we’ve made some significant strides in selling basketball, which is the No. 1 participant sport on Long Island.”
Affordability is a major selling point. The LI Nets have an ongoing promotion offering two free children’s tickets to any adult purchasing a $20 seat. They have five remaining home games, starting Sunday afternoon against the Windy City Bulls, and the first 500 kids in the door will receive a Long Island Nets-branded giveaway, such as a shooting sleeve, T-shirt, headband or pencil case.
As noted, this is the team’s second season of play but its first on Long Island. To accommodate the construction schedule for renovations to the Coliseum–known as NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum–the Nets played the 2016-17 campaign at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.