Way back in late May, we wrote a piece on the city of Shreveport, Louisiana standing alongside Mobile, Jackson, Mobile, Baton Rouge and Pensacola as the five cities that were in heavy pursuit to be the locations of the Pelicans G League squad. Although each city were making their specific pitches, we noted that the city of Shreveport seemed to be more aggressive. Their determination was evident by mayor Ollie Tyler proposing an arena that would hold between 3,500-5,000 fans. That capacity is similar to what we see from Westchester, Grand Rapids and the Raptors 905.
Over the subsequent three months, that singular proposal has kept Shreveport in the race as Baton Rouge, Mobile and Jackson have all dropped out as the negotiations have heated up. The elimination of those three cities pushed Shreveport and Pensacola as the lone two finalists for the Pelicans G League squad.
On Tuesday, Mayor Taylor looked to push closer to that G League destination as she brought her proposed $150 million arena project to the Shreveport CIty Council. Unfortunately for her, they voted 6-0 against the proposal as there were some concerns regarding the exact price it would take to build the actual facility. Coinciding with the cost, the city council acknowledged that local voters wanted the city to focus on the local infrastructure.
Ollie Tyler can definitely come back with a new proposal in the near future, but it definitely seems like Pensacola stands as the favorite for the Pelicans G League squad. That’s due to the city already having a place, the Pensacola Bay Center, where the team could play in the 2018-19 season.
Although that arena is currently used for hockey games and concerts, it has been used in the past for basketball. If that happens, then it could be expected that it would be able to seat around 8,150-10,000 people.
The Pensacola Bay Center could only be a temporary home as there have been discussions with investors and local politicians about building an $80 to $100 million multi-use development that would include an arena, convention center and hotel. Realistically, that arena would be the home for a possible affiliate if Pensacola can finalize their negotiations with NBA G League and the New Orleans Pelicans. Although negotiations currently seem to be in the preliminary process, it could be another huge reason as to why this city might ultimately win the Pelicans G League squad.