Click here to vote for #Louisville, Kentucky.
Darren Heitner is writing a piece in Forbes on NBA relocation. In preparation for his article, he is seeking fan responses on twitter of which city should be at the top of the list for a new NBA team. So far, Louisville is crushing the rest of the competition, with Seattle as a very distant second, followed by Virginia Beach, Kansas City, London, and Nashville. Here are the exact results so far:
Whether or not you think Louisville’s the best place for an NBA team, I don’t think you can argue that it has the most passionate supporters. I would, however, also argue that Louisville is the best place for a team on this list. Seattle has been there, done that, and couldn’t keep a team. Virginia Beach doesn’t have an arena built and a team would have to temporarily play in 12,000-seat Richmond Coliseum, which might be even less feasible than a team playing at Freedom Hall. Kansas City has an arena built, but not one as nice as the Yum Center and not in a basketball-crazed state. Kansas City, as well as Nashville, also already have major league sports franchises. The formula for success in smaller market NBA cities has been at places where there is no other Major League competition, such as Oklahoma City, Salt Lake City, Portland, and Memphis. And why make the risk of going out to London when you have a world-class facility right here in Louisville, in arguably the best state for basketball in the country, which has no other Major League team?
Yes, college basketball will always reign supreme in our state, but it would not stop an NBA team from being successful in Louisville. Even though our college teams already have greater followings than a lot of NBA teams, most average fans can’t often get into Rupp Arena or the Yum Center. Typically, the only time a significant number of tickets are available to non-students or non-season-ticket holders at Rupp Arena are in December during Christmas break, when students are away. There’s plenty of good folks in our state who would like to spend a reasonable amount of money to see the best basketball players in the world, and by the way, a bunch of former Kentucky Wildcats as well. There’s only a few opportunities a lot of people have to see the Cats in Rupp Arena for a price they could afford (yes, NBA tickets are much more affordable on average). I haven’t even touched on the amount of people an NBA team would bring in to the state of Kentucky from surrounding states for 41 days of the year, but the notion that people in our own state couldn’t afford to support an NBA team is a myth.
Simple question to you: would you spend $10 to see MKG play and get all-you-can-eat popcorn?
Deals like the one above are pretty typical around the NBA. Tickets are, by and large, much more affordable than the minimum $42 at Rupp Arena. Yes, we will always be Wildcat fans first, but just think how much fun it would be to have an NBA team in April and into the playoffs in May, and possibly even June. Or think about how nice it would be this time of year in December, when UK is only playing once a week? The NBA in Louisville can be successful. The arena and support is already here (follow @nba2lou). The only thing stopping it at this point is politics.