Canadian basketball league looks to draw more fans
NBL All Star Weekend in Saint John marks end of season
Canada’s National Basketball League is finishing up its season in Saint John this weekend and considering ways to increase the league’s popularity in the Maritimes.
The league's top players have been showing off skills during the NBL All Star Weekend, which included Saturday’s popular slam-dunk competition.
David Cooper, head coach for the Saint John Mill Rats, said the team's fans have grown this year, but the numbers could be better.
"We're getting there but I think we're about 300 to 500 off — that number there would be great for us. A couple of big games, 3,000, 5,000 [people] would be awesome," he said.
Despite the low attendance numbers, Cooper at least knows where he’ll be playing next year. That’s a luxury that Summerside Storm coach Joe Salerno doesn't have.
The team's contract ends with Summerside, P.E.I.'s Credit Union Place at the end of its season.
"For a town of 14,000 or so that Summerside is, for us to average 2,000 a game I think that's a great number. And I think we were still probably in the top half for attendance in the league. So Summerside right now is where we've been playing at and who knows what will happen in the months to come," he said.
Salerno said all he can really do is focus on basketball and leave the business side of things to others.
Tip off for the East vs. Atlantic All Star Game was at 2 p.m. on Sunday.