New ‘super league’ eyes pro basketball team in the Maritimes

Glenn MacDonald | Posted: April 11, 2023, 6:22 p.m. |

Professional basketball could be returning to the Maritimes.

The Basketball League – a U.S.-based pro hoops circuit which includes a franchise in St. John’s, N.L. – unveiled details of a new league (the Basketball Super League) during a news conference Tuesday afternoon in Kitchener, Ont.

“The Basketball Super League will be a premiere league that players aspire to get into and stay in longer – a true destination league,” Evelyn Magley, CEO of The Basketball League, said in the release. “The season will begin earlier and last longer, the venues will be larger, with a minimum capacity of 2,500 and the players’ wages will be higher, with no salary cap.”

The release said the new TBL spin-off league will include 10 to 12 teams “in markets including New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Newfoundland, the Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec.” It will be based on the premier soccer leagues in Europe and is expected to tip-off in 2024.

“This new league, with the sponsors and broadcast partners we are in discussion with, represents a tremendous business opportunity for our market partners,” said TBL president David Magley, a former commissioner of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC). “Like European premier soccer and basketball leagues it’s modelled on, the Basketball Super League will allow teams to play more games at home than away, providing for more revenues and leveraging the scale of TBL. Our model is to help create profits in-season right away, making us unique in professional sports.”

The Basketball League has been in operation since 2018. In that time, it has grown to 52 teams around the United States and parts of Canada, including the St. John’s-based Newfoundland Rogues.

The four remaining teams from the NBLC (London, Sudbury, Kitchener and Windsor) play an inter-league series with several teams from The Basketball League to give them more opponents.

London Lightning owner Vito Frijia confirmed to CTV News that his club is assessing whether to play in the new TBL-spinoff league.

The last two Maritime teams in the NBLC – the Moncton Magic and Halifax Hurricanes – left the league in 2021.

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