Back on March 31st, the New Orleans Pelicans announced their intentions to launch NBA Gatorade League squad that would begin play during the 2018-19 season. At that time, the Pelicans announced that the following eleven cities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida were in the running for their minor league affiliate.
- Baton Rouge
- Lake Charles
- St. Tammany Parish
As is always the case, the Pelicans quickly trimmed that list of nearly a dozen teams. On April 25th, nearly three weeks after that initial announcement, Pelicans insider Justin Verrier announced that the squad trimmed the list down to six cities that included: Baton Rouge, Jackson, Mobile, Pensacola, St. Tammany Parish and Shreveport. Unfortunately for St. Tammany Parish, their time as a potential G-League home was short as they officially pulled out in May 15th.
Although the Pelicans aren’t likely to make the final announcement until 2018, the competition among the five finalists have already heated up.
In a May 19th press release, Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler announced that the city would be proposing a new sports arena that would help them secure a bid for the Pelicans G-League squad.
“Shreveport is extremely excited to be invited by the Pelicans to submit an RFP for their NBA D-League team,” Tyler said in a press release. “This is a great opportunity for not only the City of Shreveport, but the entire region in providing a great family-friendly venue, as well as creating a significant economic driver in job creation and attracting outside tourism for the city’s future success.”
This proposed arena would be located in downtown Shreveport and look to seat between 3,500-5,000 fans. That capacity is at a similar level than what we see from Westchester, Grand Rapids, Raptors 905 and the Texas Legends.
Coinciding with that proposal, Shreveport plans to host a “Shreveport Pelican” pep rally on May 25th at a local YMCA facility. Event attendees will be asked to wear Pelicans gear. Although this will just be a small event, it looks like another sign that the city of Shreveport is serious about hosting the Pelicans G-League squad.
This announcement from Shreveport is probably the first step in what should be an entertaining competition. As we move deeper into 2017, expect to see the other four cities make their own individual pushes to prove that they should be the location for the Pelicans G-League squad.