Seven local investors have taken over ownership of the Moncton Miracles of the National Basketball League Canada.
The new owners group will include former city solicitor Steve Truman, who is the team's president, and businessmen Jon Manship of Moncton and Ricky Archibald of Salisbury. The other four members of the group want to remain silent partners.
"It's exciting, to have not only investors but actual owners that want to be locally engaged," said NBL Commissioner David Magley on Information Morning Moncton on Thursday.
- Moncton Miracles need local owners, NBL commissioner says
- Moncton Miracles president says viability of team in question
- Moncton Miracles basketball team building new ownership group
"These guys love their town, they really love this place. And so do I," said Magley, who was in the city to introduce the new owners.
The team began looking for 10 local people to become part of a new ownership group earlier this year, after the league had to take over the team two years ago.
For much of the last year, Magley has lived about three weeks per month in Moncton as the team tried to find new owners. He spends the rest of the time in Indiana.
He said it's been great getting to know the local fans and the people who love the the city of Moncton.
Truman's involvement helped
Truman was named team president halfway through the current season, and Magley said that brought a lot of credibility to the search for new owners.
"It made it an easier sell," he said.
"When you get these types of investors — and these type of people involved — they're not used to not making money," Magley added.
"They're going to figure out a way to make money with this franchise. It's not by raising ticket [prices], it's by getting more bums in seats and getting more sponsorship."
Magley said while the new owners didn't step up to make baskets of money, they would like to see some return on investment over time. Magley said one possible way to do that may involve negotiating a new deal for a home court once the new downtown arena is built.
Anxiety about folding
With the potential of Cape Breton entering the league next year, Magley said there was some anxiety Moncton could fold.
"Once you have the local ownership team in place and they start really hustling, I think all anxiety goes away of future investment," he said.
He said the owners also want to make sure their "emotional capital" — the time they will put into running the team — won't be wasted on a doomed venture.
When you get these types of investors — and these type of people involved — they're not used to not making money - NBL Canada Commissioner David Magley
Halifax uses the same group ownership model with a group of 25 owners, said Magley.
"I think they've done a nice job this year," he said of the Halifax group.
But Magley notes the Halifax team essentially started over this past season after the former Halifax Rainmen filed for bankruptcy in July 2015.
He suggested the group now in place that wants to see the Moncton team succeed should allow an even smoother transition because they won't be starting from scratch.
"That's made a big difference for us and now you can see with that energy ... it's going to be something that you're going to see, I think, in the years to come this could be the model franchise of the Maritimes, maybe the whole league," Magley said.