By Jay Philips
Pensacola was recently given the opportunity to join the NBA’s G-League as the farm league team of the New Orleans Pelicans. Launched by the group “PELS2PCOLA”, this move would provide a lot of entertainment to the area as well as tourism, money and the opportunity for a new sports complex and a new hometown team. However, the question of whether joining is worth it or not remains valid for one crucial point: money. If Pensacola is to take on a new team and a new sports complex, chances are that you and I will be paying an extra penny or so on every dollar for everything we buy in Pensacola to help pay for the team and possibly their new complex initially.
First of all, what in the name of roundball is an “NBA G-League Team?” It is a farm league for the National Basketball Association (NBA) where teams can send their players to develop before they officially join an NBA team. Much like the Pensacola Blue Wahoos are an affiliate of the MLB team the Cincinnati Reds. There is also an impressive track record held by the G-League. At the end of certain NBA seasons, as high as 30% of the NBA players had spent time on a G-League team.
With the excitement and away fans that games would bring, Pensacola would be in for a definite uptake in downtown foot-traffic.
This means that in the long run we could see the money coming back to us, especially with Pensacola’s ever growing downtown area, but we will have to take some of the heat up front. To take that heat, Pensacola’s taxpayers will likely have to make it rain money.
If a new sports complex was built, PSC’s students might have the opportunity to see a lot more shows, sports and concerts. This complex would also boast one of the most beautiful pitches to travel sports teams, bands and other traveling acts “Imagine bringing over one thousand players here and their families and they see that beach and say ‘we’re coming back next year.’“ said PSC Athletic Director Bill Hamilton.
That doesn’t sound like enough to convince PSC students that they should be paying more in taxes, but that’s not all they’d get. Outside of the money that some of the students would have to be paying, many good things can emerge from this situation.
In addition to that there has also been talk about bringing in a privately founded restaurant such as Dave and Busters and a new hotel to the same area as the new complex according to the Pensacola News Journal. A spark in tourism and downtown traffic would likely end up resulting in a lot more new sources of entertainment in the area. This would give students and faculty at PSC a lot more to plan around and do in downtown Pensacola. It could also be a determining factor in helping the college attract more high quality athletes, student-athletes and faculty.
PSC’s sports teams could also notice a benefit from having such a high profile professional team. This is especially true for the basketball team and its ability to recruit by giving us a resource that few other schools have. “Having this team would factor into our total package and ability to recruit. That in addition to our ability to educate is going to help us get on the radar with a lot of recruits,” said Hamilton.
As you might have noticed, the question I proposed in the first paragraph is still not answered. Nor will it be by the end of this story, and I don’t think you’ll get a better answer from anyone willing to talk about it. I do know that more information from city officials, such as the mayor and city planners and downtown property owners might make this an answerable question. Until then, we can only hope for the best. If we are able to get a team for the price of The Herd, I’ll be in line for season tickets immediately.