Canadian Basketball: Toronto not far away from an NBL team
When you think about basketball cities in Canada, Toronto is more than likely the first city that comes to mind. In 2011, Canada finally founded a professional basketball league. The National Basketball League of Canada (NBL) currently consists of eight teams but none from Toronto. Why?
At the moment, there really is no answer. Although there have been talks with several cities about creating an expansion team. Currently the favourites are Markham and Mississauga. CEO of the NBL Andre Levingston has been in close talks with the CEO of GTA Sports and Entertainment about a team. With a new arena being built in Markham, having an NBL team wouldn't me such a bad idea. In regards to a Markham team, Levingston said, "It's fantastic. I've never been to Markham but we have several teams in the area that we are looking to come on board potentially next season. But we want to make sure that we don't have a team that is too close of proximity because we want them to be successful." Currently the Oshawa Power, Windsor Express and the London Lightning from Ontario are in the NBL.
By all accounts it looks like the Toronto area should have a team by next season. Best bet is probably Markham but multiple teams are not out of the question. Levingston said, “Markham is far enough from Toronto to have success. But again, we already have a team in Oshawa and London so we have to make sure that if we did make the decision of putting a team in Markham that it could be viable and it wouldn't interfere with attendance in the NBL cities where there is already a team."
Having been to a number of NBL games, it offers a very entertaining brand of basketball. It is inexpensive to attend a game but you don't have to sacrifice the quality for the price. The inaugural season champions London Lightning were a very entertaining team to watch. There are a number of ex-NBA players in the league and three players were just drafted to the D-League which is like the AHL in hockey. So don't worry Toronto, chances are you will have a team next year and can experience the NBL rather than overpaying to watch the Raptors struggle year in and year out.