If Madison Sq. Backyard Sells The Liberty, The place Are They Going To Play
The homeowners of the new York Liberty, one of the WNBA’s three remaining authentic franchises nonetheless in the identical metropolis they started off in, are putting the group up for sale. That’s of interest if you’re a WNBA fan — I’m actually a former Liberty season ticket holder, so I qualify as one of many few and the proud even if I haven’t been to see a recreation within the final couple of years — but additionally for readers of this site on the whole, because of what it says in regards to the area business.
Briefly: The Liberty are owned by James Dolan’s Madison Sq. Garden Co.which additionally owns the Knicks, the Rangers, and its namesake area. The workforce, and the WNBA usually, was launched in 1997 for a bunch of overlapping reasons: to reap the benefits of pleasure over the 1996 U.S. women’s Olympic basketball workforce, to fill dates within the otherwise-gradual summer season months (which is why the league performs exterior of the traditional wintertime schedule for basketball), to make the NBA look women-pleasant and supply a more affordable product to rope in fans priced out or alienated by the men’s sport, and to beat down an try by the impartial American Basketball League to horn in on the NBA’s pro hoops monopoly. The ABL was gone within a yr and a half, and the Olympians were soon forgotten, however the WNBA has burbled on for an additional two many years, with modest attendance and revenues however outstanding longevity for a startup league, in no small because of the NBA’s monetary backing.
That’s starting to alter, although: Whereas originally all the WNBA teams were absolutely owned offshoots of NBA siblings — all the way down to groups getting sister names, like the Sacramento Monarchs to complement the Kings and the execrably named Detroit Shock to go alongside the equally-terribly-named-if-you-think-about-it Pistons — that’s starting to vary, with increasingly more teams independently owned and operated. And the Liberty could be the largest independent workforce of all once reduce free from MSG, which clearly has determined that it might reasonably get out of the women’s basketball sport and keep on with its core enterprise of crappy men’s groups and much and lots of live shows.
The massive query for a future Liberty proprietor, in the meantime, is: Where are they going to play Renting out MSG is a chance, in fact, but until there’s some sweetheart lease deal baked into the sale agreement, it could likely be prohibitively expensive, since you’d be bidding towards all these concerts. The Barclays Heart in Brooklyn is another choice that may come slightly cheaper, however once more it’s pretty busy with concerts, even within the summer season. (One drawback with a basketball schedule is that it critically restricts your flexibility for hosting concerts, which are usually booked lengthy after a team’s residence video games are set in stone.) When MSG was getting renovated within the summers a few seasons again the Liberty performed in Newark’s Prudential Middle, but attendance was fairly bad (I picked up Stubhub seats ten rows from the court docket for one game for $3 apiece); Nassau Coliseum desperately wants one thing to fill dates, but it’s approach out on Lengthy Island.
I suppose a new yellow stone island t shirt Liberty owner might try to demand a brand new enviornment of their own, but that’s not going to go far when your fan base is the dimensions of a WNBA team’s. Perhaps this might all be part of the yellow stone island t shirt plan to construct a new enviornment for the Islanders out by Belmont Park, one thing that Dolan is a part-investor in, so … I dunno, we’re deep into the tea leaves right here. It’s an attention-grabbing second, although, one that could find yourself revealing quite a bit about not only the future of women’s professional sports activities, however how arena managers are thinking concerning the relative value of sports activities vs. other occasions. I’ll have extra on this quickly, I hope.
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