Redeveloping The League

AEG Facilities, which books and manages the Anaheim, Calif., Convention Center and Arena, has a new tenant in that building with the announcement of a deal to bring an NBA Developmental League expansion team that will be affiliated with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The city and league signed a deal April 11th. A long negotiation process nearly snagged over last-minutes changes by Anaheim to ensure any team playing in the city would be identified by Anaheim alone, unlike the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

The NBA D-League, as it’s known, got off to a rocky start several years ago with eight initial franchises in the Southeast and a joint venture with Clear Channel Entertainment called Arena Ventures. It was intended to bring a guaranteed number of non-hoops events annually to secondary market arenas.

The events didn’t pan out as hoped, and at least one city, Fayetteville, S.C., fined CCE, now operating as Live Nation, several hundred thousands of dollars over the course of their deal for failing to bring in the guaranteed number of events.

But AEG Senior VP Dana Warg assures that his company isn’t getting into the hoops business, although the new team’s parent Clippers are also tenants of AEG’s Staples Center as are the L.A. Lakers, another team said to be eyeing a NBADL franchise.

“The Anaheim arena is a renovated facility of about 8,000 seats and we entered into a service agreement to provide booking and event services, marketing and signage for the facility,” Warg told Pollstar. “One of our responsibilities is to provide content to the arena, and we were the ones who initiated and assisted in negotiating an NBA Developmental League team for the building.”

The NBADL has made some sweeping changes in the last year, including expansion out of the Southeast – where only two of the original teams remain – and the acquisition April 6th of four new teams from the Continental Basketball Association.

– Deborah Speer