Challenges Of Pro Sports In A Small Town

Look! A basketball! - USA TODAY Sports

Dave Thomas of the Yakima Herald-Republic has put together a terrific series of articles that offer a bleak outlook on the NBADL ever coming to Yakima.

A month or so ago during the Phoenix Coyotes debacle, I won a wager with fellow Sonics Rising writer Kevin Nesgoda. I bet him that we could get 500 posts for an article that contained nothing but a picture of a hockey stick.

The stakes? The winner's home town would one day host an NBADL team. Kevin's home town is Wenatchee. Mine is Yakima. When Chris Hansen some day brings the Sonics home to Seattle and if he chooses to validate our wager, the Sun Kings (formerly of the now defunct CBA) will return to the friendly confines of the Yakima SunDome.

However, if a series of articles by Dave Thomas that ran in yesterday's Yakima Herald-Republic are any indication, this could be a taller order than I was hoping for. Click here to read the articles. Thomas has covered pro sports in the Yakima Valley for many years and has earned every silver hair on his head in the process.

Here is a passage from one, entitled "Pro sports in Yakima Valley face uphill struggle".

Unquestionably the biggest hurdle teams in Yakima face is raising enough revenue in a market lacking major corporations and with a smaller, lower-income population base than most of their competition.

That was particularly true for the Sun Kings and Bears, whose annual budgets were in the $750,000-plus range. But even much smaller operations like the Reds (approximately $120,000 annual budget) and Yakima Mavericks football team (about $25,000) struggled to attract enough corporate dollars.

Corporate support. It matters even in small town sports.

I really want the NBA back in Seattle and, in spite of recent disheartening developments, I truly believe it will happen -- under Chris Hansen's leadership.

That's right. I said it.

I also really want the Sun Kings back in Yakima. It was disheartening to read in Thomas' article that the last owners of the franchise had a chance to become part of the NBADL and chose to not. That was a really great decision. Rigggghhhhhhht.......

Unfortunately, I may never get to collect on that bet. Do I hear Nesgoda chuckling somewhere in cyberspace?

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