It’s no secret the Halifax Rainmen would benefit from a Maritime neighbour in the Premier Basketball League.
Now that Andre Levingston has been named the PBL’s first director of business operations in Canada, you can bet the Rainmen owner will exhaust all of his options.
Levingston was hired yesterday to head up the league’s effort to expand north of the border, with only two Canadian teams — the Rainmen and Quebec City Kebs — at present.
Although Levingston said he has yet to “pinpoint” any cities specifically, he confirmed Moncton will be worth a look when he eventually sinks his teeth into his new job.
“I actually think a professional basketball team could be successful in Moncton,” Levingston said. “The city has a lot to offer, as do a few others I can think of off the top of my head.”
The Rainmen’s closest rivals — the Kebs, Manchester (N.H.) Millrats and Vermont Frost Heaves — are all more than 1,000 kilometres away, a significant distance for a league that relies heavily on vans and buses for transportation.
The Rainmen are also on the hook for a significant percentage of travel expenses for teams visiting the city.
“Travel is always going to be an issue with the Rainmen,” said Levingston. “To have teams that are not close, but not far, that could be a rival for Halifax, or be a stop for teams on their way to Halifax, definitely makes business sense.”
Levingston said his first task is to travel around to find out which cities are capable of supporting a PBL team. Then he’ll start working with potential ownership groups.
“We need to make sure potential owners are taking it seriously, that it’s not just some hobby they’re doing on the side, because we’re serious about what we’re doing,” Levingston said.
“It’s a great league and we want to keep it that way.”
He said the job won’t change his role with the Rainmen, adding that the team is his “first priority.”