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Hopes of bringing pro basketball back to Atlantic Canada

By Tara Clow Apr 12, 2024 | 12:53 PM

Plans are underway to bring pro basketball back to Atlantic Canada.

David Magley, president of The Basketball League (TBL), is confident the game can prosper and is more popular than ever.

“I think there’s no question that there are some wonderful markets in the Maritimes, Atlantic Canada, that could do really well with our products,” Magley says.

Magley was the previous commissioner for the National Basketball League, which included teams in Saint John, Moncton and Halifax. In 2021, NBL Canada announced there would be no 2020-21 season due to COVID, with the Maritime teams withdrawing from the league.

“I think I understand maybe the pitfalls of why it has struggled at times. Some of it is the market sizes. We’re building a business model that just makes sense that teams can be profitable and that the fans can get quality basketball play.” Magley says.

He adds, that it may mean not playing at the bigger venues, including the Avenir Centre in Moncton, but he feels that’s okay because the level of play will justify the fan support and they’ll play in the biggest venue they can afford.

He believes they will have four to five teams to start the season in Atlantic Canada in 2025.

“I know basketball can continue to prosper and it’s just a matter of time.  It’s bigger now than it ever was as far as participation. So it’s just a matter of getting it marketed properly,” Magley says.

With regards to recruiting players, Magley expects hundreds of kids to be eager to play with an opportunity to end up in the NBA.

He expects to have announcements in the next few weeks or months about team ownership.

“We’re looking at probably by June 1 having some really nice announcements. We have to have it done by August. September or late October for the latest announcement of the schedules, and to sell season tickets and sponsorships. We’re in a pretty tight timeframe,” Magley adds.

The 10 target markets for teams are:
• New Brunswick: Saint John, St. Stephen, Moncton, Bathurst
• Nova Scotia: Halifax, Dartmouth, Truro, Sydney
• Prince Edward Island: Charlottetown
• Maine: Bangor

“I have total & complete confidence that our business model from TBL will prosper in a big way in the Maritimes and can not wait to see the many familiar faces that live professional basketball there,” Magley states.