Lots of news about the Kingston team. First was a funny thing from Saturday night. I work midnights and have Thursday/Fridays off. Which means I don’t read Saturday’s Whig Standard till Sunday usually.
I first thought I saw something that hadn’t made news yet. While downtown on Saturday night who do I see walk by of all people? Halifax Rainman owner and current president of the League, Andre Levingston. Since I had watched that CBC interview I linked to in a previous post I recognized him quickly.
If he’s in town things must be going well. Keep in mind I hadn’t read the Whig so in my head was ‘maybe no one else knows about this. If I had a scoop like that it would be ironic with my NBL blog posts’. Well, then I found out him being in town along with Sam Mitchell and Steven Conville [Kingston’s confirmed owner] was on the front page of the newspaper….. there goes my scoop. Oh well. Can’t win them all. However seeing him walk by is still quite funny considering everything. Odds of our paths crossing at the exact same time on a Saturday night in Kingston must be pretty low.
2 stories in the Whig last week. Steven Conville, who I mentioned before has been revealed as the Kingston owner. Quotes from last week’s story by Mike Koreen ‘Prospective basketball team owner comes this way’
“It’s a great bunch of people up in Kingston and I’ve really enjoyed talking to them. We’re making tremendous progress. The guys at the KRock Centre have been really good to us as far as coming to an understanding and the mayor has been exceptional.”
Conville originally planned to be an adviser for a potential ownership group, but now says he’ll be the main owner. He said he is working with several unpaid consultants.
“I wouldn’t say there are stumbling blocks,” Conville said. “Simply, the league is new, I am new, the mayor is new, the building is new, it’s just all of us coming together in a short period of time.”
“I think Kingston provides the best opportunity (for a new owner),” he said. “It’s a beautiful town and (the K-Rock Centre) is a beautiful facility. … It’s been a pleasure working with the people there.”
Then on Saturday on the front page was ‘Pro basketball talks become more serious’ by Jake Edmiston. Some excerpts from that.
On this particular visit, Conville had former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell in tow. “He’s helping me show that I’m serious about my commitment to Kingston,” Conville said.
League president Andre Levingston also accompanied Conville to meetings with Mayor Mark Gerretsen and K-Rock Centre general manager Ken Noakes.
“We need to work out a lease that reflects the amount of revenue of a start-up pro basketball team in Canada,” Conville said, adding that he expects attendances between 1,000 and 2,000 fans per game in the inaugural season that’s set to start in October.
If Conville’s proposal is approved by council in the coming weeks, he said he’ll spend the rest of the summer launching an awareness campaign. He’ll need to have all details finalized by June 30, when the league plans to announce the final roster of teams.
“If council and I can get this approval in a timely fashion, I really look forward to having a community contest to name the team,” he said.
As I mentioned in a previous post Conville is an investmen adviser in Toronto who works with pro athletes and entertainers. Also in the article he said that hopefully he can leverage some of those relationships to help with the team.
In my earlier research I found something you wouldn’t see with other owners in Kingston. A picture of him with Ron Artest at a party. Article was in the Wall Street Journal of all places. From March of 2010, “Why Pro Athletes Love Toronto”.
Trying to imagine other local owners being in a photo with Artest, nope. Since it’s the NBA Finals I have to have Ron-Ron’s speech after winning in Game 7 last year. I saw this live on TV. Who else thanks their psychiatrist and plugs a CD after winning?
Meanwhile out east, Fredericton is talking about joining in 2012. As I had surmised earlier that any second team in New Brunswick would not be until 2012. Moncton was another possibility for another franchise in NB. With a team in Saint John probably best for them to get all the ducks in a row for next season.
From Bill Hunt at the Daily Gleaner in Frederiction a story on the weekend ‘New league Gauging interest in Fredericton’. A paper we used to get when I lived in Oromocto/CFB Gagetown. Small world.
New league Gauging interest in Fredericton
Kelly Lamrock is “bullish” on the idea of a Fredericton franchise in the soon-to-be-launched National Basketball League of Canada. He’s looking for some investors who share his vision.
Lamrock, the former Liberal MLA and provincial cabinet minister, says there are a group of 10 investors on board now and “we’re looking to double the size of that group,” with the idea of bringing minor professional basketball to the provincial capital in time for the 2012 season.
Still some chatting about Moncton trying to get in for this season. A group of Japanese and American investors are looking whether to apply for a franchise. An investors meeting in Tokyo is looking at Kitchener or Moncton. Which at first does sound like out of left field. What connection would New Brunswick and Japan have? From the Telegraph Journal’s Randy O’Donnell ‘Moncton’s Japanese pro hoops connection’
Among those attending will be Masaki Hitosugi, the businessman instrumental in a Japanese all-star team playing an exhibition contest in Saint John April 24.
The game, featuring the Saint John Mill Rats and Japanese pro league players, raised money for tsunami relief in the Sendai region.
It was during that weekend that initial discussion occurred between Hitosugi, Miller and representatives of the NBL’s founding franchises.
Didn’t think I’d be talking about Tokyo and the NBL but there you have it. Now a local person in Moncton said he’s more optimistic for a 2012-13 start for them. I’d agree with that. Seeing as here in Kingston we just saw more tangible evidence with the owner and NBL president in town. If they are discussing it in Tokyo right now I’m not sure there is enough time to start before the 2011 season. Now, on their side of starting quickly is the established franchise in Saint John. Much easier when a successful team is less than 2 hours away.
From the NBL Canada twitter account they said the owner’s meeting is shortly after June 15th. Details will be finalized and the schedule made. That Moncton article speculated about a 30 game regular season starting in November with pre-season in October. With playoffs wrapping up in March. Again that could be true, or not.
Usually a blog entry doesn’t get out of date too quickly, unless it was the last one. Mostly for the AHL rumours that came out of nowhere. Manitoba Moose moving to St. John’s, Newfoundland? A puzzling choice if you read the last post and the problems that causes the Baby Leafs to leave the province. No AHL team east of Ontario right now. Then I heard who was interested in buying the team, Danny Williams.
Now most people just know Danny as the former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador. His nickname before was ‘Danny Millions’ for good reason. Did quite well in business. Owned Cable Atlantic and sold that off in the early 2000s. Telecommunications part went for $76 Million and the Cable TV part for $152 Million. Add the law practice he also sold around the same time and reports I’ve read put his net worth north of $200 Million, give or take. He was also on the board of directors for the St. John’s Maple Leafs so he’s not new to hockey.
Still, with a team in St. John’s and no team nearby you are on an island in more ways than one. Which is why Danny was talking about a subsidy from the Newfoundland government. King Danny [as I used to call him on Twitter] might’ve wanted to be nicer to the government people after he left. Hasn’t gone smoothly. Basis of it I’m not sure about. A few months ago the provincial Conservatives had a dinner in his honour. One problem, Danny didn’t show up. Bit of a problem.
Here we are with him now asking for a subsidy. Now I didn’tt see governments giving that to professional teams at all. But they shot it down even more quickly than I thought. Quick with a captial Q. The subsidy speculation was over the weekend, government shot it down on the 25th. Not often does government move that quickly on anything.
…said in a statement to NTV News that he was “deeply disappointed” with the government’s decision. Williams said a subsidy was a “critical part” of bringing a team to St. John’s.
We will see how this goes. Could it work? Maybe. Although just look at what the NBL teams have done. Started an all Canadian league which will help reduce travel costs. Having a hockey team in St. John’s is going to be expensive. Closest team is Portland, Maine. Toronto is the nearest Canadian city in the AHL. That is a hard travel schedule. It is not something that is happening by October. Talk about 1 or 2 years down the road, if it were to happen at all.
With the wacky hockey update out of the way. Some updates with NBL Canada, fun one from Twitter of all things. Shomari Williams, a defensive end with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and I were discussing the NBL late Sunday night. He was interested in details on teams. You might be wondering how we know each other. Found him on Twitter the summer before he transferred to Queen’s. Found out we both were Redskins fans and kept in touch a bit on Twitter. Shomari won a Vanier Cup with them and then drafted 1st overall by the Roughriders. Played in the Grey Cup in his 1st season. On the business side, anyone who has a picture on his website with Warren Buffett knows more than I do.
“Shomari Williams the President received his BBA in Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston in 2009, he also has a minor in marketing and a Certificate in Professional Selling.”
So we were discussing how much the teams might be going for, the salary cap, that sort of thing. Things I’ve pieced together from articles. A story in Metro Halifax, quoted the same source I did.
“The Kingston Whig-Standard reports that NBL Canada’s franchise fee is “six figures,” while operating costs are pegged at $1 million per year.”
Now I will go to the exact quote from The Whig Standard from the previous week.
“The league’s interim chief operating officer, Ian McCarthy, said owners must be prepared to cover up to $1 million in annual operating costs and an expansion fee that includes stock in the league. McCarthy wouldn’t specify the fee, but said it’s six figures.”
After the 1st blog I might as well go deeper into it about the Kingston team. No limit for length here. The letter of intent, from the Whig Standard again.
“National Basketball League of Canada officials said Steven Conville, an investment adviser to professional athletes and entertainers, signed the letter. However, Conville said he’s only a spokesperson for three prospective owners who will not release their names until the application process is completed.”
Years ago research would have taken days or weeks. Now it’s so simple. Mr. Conville is the Vice President, Portfolio Manager, Investment Advisor at Macquarie Private Wealth in Toronto. Also found his Twitter page. Yes, another person on Twitter. I joined up in 2008 which seems like ancient times.
“Skillfully help individuals to preserve & grow their capital. Built & managed several top-performing brokerage offices. A specialist in sports & entertainment.”
So we are waiting to find out what the teams are, and who might be the people behind the Kingston one. Haven’t found anyone even hazard a guess on who it might be. Deposit cheques are due this week. Latest news is from Halifax and Moncton newspapers.
Saturday the Chronicle Herald had some more details. Full franchise fees due on June 15th and salary cap near or a bit higher to $150,000. Regular season length to be determined, sounding like 30 or a bit more. Rainment owner, Andre Levingston: “We’ll have a discussion. It could be a few more games but we don’t really see it in anything less than 30 games.” Teams announced on June 30th.
Right now Levingston and Ian McCarthy [Saint John Mill Rats] are in charge for the time being. Once teams are announced and things settle down a full-time commissioner and a director of league operations will be hired.
Metro pretty much summed up their story in the headline part.
Moncton has three weeks to get owners on board for NBL
Four Ontario teams expected to move forward
Ownership groups from Ottawa and Kitchener have also had talks with NBL Canada about the possibility of establishing a franchise.
From what I have gathered, being in Ontario and just reading things online, Moncton sounds more likely for a 2012-13 season at this point. League has spoken with the Moncton Coliseum about the details of a possible lease arrangement. Moncton wasn’t one of the teams with a letter of intent, and no formal ownership group from my researching a few stories. Which explains my 2012 reasoning.
The Ottawa/Kitchener sentence, isn’t given any more details in the article. So I’m betting that’s a discussion for a year or two down the road.
That’s all the news I’ve found lately. Here are a couple of links.
NBL founders await deposit cheques