Andre Levingston has been given the reins of the Premier Basketball League. Now he says he’s ready to crack the whip.
The Halifax Rainmen owner was officially unveiled as the PBL’s new president yesterday following the league’s annual meetings in Chicago and said he is “coming in shaking the rug” and that the league “can’t continue to do business as usual anymore.” Levingston, whose role with the Rainmen is expected to be unchanged, said his main focus is to have teams with more stable ownership.
“No longer are we looking for guys with an extra $100,000 thinking they can own a professional basketball team in our league,” Levingston said. “Those days are over. It has to be harder.
“We want solid ownership that will run business the way we want business run.”
Although Levingston didn’t come out and say it, it’s safe to say franchises such as the Rainmen, two-time champion Rochester RazorSharks and defending champion Lawton-Fort Sill (Okla.) Cavalry are the teams doing business the way the PBL wants.
The league is expecting to have eight teams next season, including the Saint John (N.B.) Millrats, who have been approved to relocate from Manchester, N.H.
Levingston, who founded the Rainmen in 2007, said he’ll look at the budgets of each PBL team annually to ensure nobody is in over their heads.
“We need to make sure they have the finances to give a good fan experience,” Levingston said. “I don’t want to see (any) shortcuts.
“I want all the bells and whistles: Dance teams, on-court entertainment, halftime shows … It’s professional basketball and it should be professional basketball at its best, not three teams doing it right and the rest doing it half-assed.”
Levingston downplayed the potential for conflict and bias as a team owner holding such an influential league position.
“It’s just common sense,” Levingston said. “Fair is fair and rules are rules and rules will be followed by everyone, including the Halifax Rainmen.”