Charlottetown scouted for pro basketball

Two businessmen met with Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee on Tuesday in a bid to establish a professional basketball team on P.E.I.
Duncan Shaw met with Charlottetown's mayor to discuss the possibility of a professional basketball team for P.E.I. ((CBC))
Two businessmen met with Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee on Tuesday in a bid to establish a professional basketball team on P.E.I.

The new National Basketball League of Canada is looking for more teams and Charlottetown is a possible location.

"We're early stages. We don't want to overcommit to what we're going to do," said Duncan Shaw, who — along with business partner Darren MacKay — met with the mayor.

"We want to get the mayor's thoughts, get some other people's thoughts and see what the potential is."

Shaw played basketball for the UPEI Panthers in the 1980s. He and MacKay now run a software company.

They're hoping a new basketball team from P.E.I. will join the National Basketball League of Canada, which for now includes teams from Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

"In terms of total tickets in a game you're looking in 2,000 plus area, but I do think you're not looking at that number of season tickets to make it work," said Shaw.

"It's a very different operation than a junior hockey team. It's a smaller business with less overhead so it's a different sort of  operation."

Lee said the businessmen had not asked the city for any money.

"That wasn't an ask of the city by these gentlemen today and it's way too early to answer that question even if the ask was to come," he told CBC News on Tuesday.

"We need to understand the impact of a national basketball team in our city. What are the benefits in real figures?"

Andre Levingston, the acting CEO of the National Basketball League and the owner of the Halifax Rainmen, has been talking to a group that wants to see professional basketball in Charlottetown. He wouldn't say who.

"A group of business guys, very successful there. Passionate about the game of basketball and have been for a very, very long time, looking to bring something positive to the city," Levingston said.

It would cost at least a half-million dollars to put together a team, said Levingston, and the venture would need support from the city and other investors.

"It's not everyone that has the opportunity to have professional sport," he said.

"Here in Halifax, what this organization means to the community, to the kids, and the economic impact that it makes, I think they'll be happy about sitting down and seeing how we can make this work."

If there are people who want a team this coming season, they will have to make a $25,000 deposit to the league by Wednesday.