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There are some in Calgary who will certainly remain skeptical about the viability of a professional basketball team in the city. They will point to defunct franchises that came and went quickly like the Calgary Outlaws or Calgary Crush.
There’s reason to believe a CEBL franchise might be different. All six of the league’s teams are centrally-owned, and with teams already playing in Edmonton, Regina and Fraser Valley, British Columbia, there is already a growing base in Western Canada.
Besides, 2020 is a very different time for basketball in both Calgary and Canada as a whole.
In 2016, the Toronto Raptors sold out the Scotiabank Saddledome in seconds for a pre-season game.
The University of Calgary Dinos won the national men’s basketball championship in 2018, and last year huge crowds gathered both in bars and in the streets to watch the Raptors win their first-ever NBA title.
It’s not a bad time to be building a professional basketball league in Canada.
“What we do is we know our sweet spot,” Morreale said. “We know we’re not the NBA but we believe and we think, quite confidently, that we’re the best basketball played in this country outside of the NBA.
“(Our fans) can at least be fans of their own teams, rather than from a distance, so they can buy-in and celebrate and be a fan of a local team and watch pro basketball in their backyard and watch the top Canadians who you may or may not have heard from in the last five to 10 years because they’ve had to go overseas. We’re bringing those players back.”