The webcasting announcement made me think about the Rainmen’s reach outside of the city limits and if people from Truro, Sydney, Charlottetown or Moncton will actually watch those games. It renewed a thought I had last year: Moncton may mean as much to the Rainmen’s long term stability as Halifax does.
Levingston and company should try to establish a relationship with some people in Moncton and arrange to have a pre-season game and kids camp there next year and advertise the webcasts. In the short term it could win a few more fans by making the team “regional” not just Halifax centric and get a few families driving to Halifax, but in the long term it could groom the market for for a PBL franchise to make an instant rival for Halifax and more importantly a travel partner. And that long term goal is the key.
A solid PBL franchise in NB completely changes the business equation for Halifax. It means two road trips a year don’t even need hotels, let alone multiple travel days, and it brings in a team who can drive up in mini-vans and not even stay the night for two nights. Moncton fits perfectly in the league’s blue print – it’s eight hours from Manchester, 10 to Burlington, but just two and a half to Halifax, and seven and a half to Quebec City. It means those other teams can actually make legitimate road trips to Halifax by playing Friday in Moncton and Sunday in Halifax or vice versa.
A factor that is almost as important is that Halifax lacks an actual rival in the PBL. Vermont and Manchester are rivals (perhaps the rivalry in minor league ball at this point) and Quebec and Montreal are obvious rivals due to location. Halifax and Moncton already have a bit of a competitive spirit, and the addition of a basketball rivalry would push it over the top. It’d be great for attendance/interest in Halifax and provide a good story line which always helps at the gate.
Last year there was an article that appeared in one of the Moncton papers about a group looking to put an ABA team in the city but I hope for the city’s sake that idea is dead. However, resurrecting the idea with a PBL would be great for Halifax both for the fans and for the Rainmen owners. It makes business sense and sense for the fans, now they just need to find a way to make it work.