The Halifax Rainmen may be at risk of not being invited back to the Premier Basketball League next season.
The PBL’s top decision-makers told Metro Halifax yesterday that market analysis indicates the Rainmen are a detriment to the league’s profit-sharing model because of travel costs.
The Rainmen are one of the PBL’s top franchises in attendance, averaging crowds of almost 3,000.
“It might look nice and good up there in Halifax but our marketing people gave us reasons why we shouldn’t keep (the Rainmen),” said Severko Hrywnak, chairman of the board. “Halifax isn’t around the corner. You could take two steps back and look at it as a business model …nobody would have Halifax in. You’re too far away. The costs are astronomical.”
Hrywnak was quick to say the PBL would “like to keep them,” but “we have to come to an agreement with the Halifax ownership on how we’re going to structure this formula.”
Carrie May, director of league operations, said the Rainmen pay 100 per cent of their own travel and cover 20 per cent of the travel costs for teams visiting Halifax. For all other teams, the PBL covers travel costs across the board.
“If we put it to the litmus test from a business standpoint and the owners say, ‘We like (Rainmen owner) Andre (Levingston), but it really does nothing for us (financially), we’d rather have money in our pocket,’ so be it,” Hrywnak said.
Levingston, reached last night, said the league’s comments to Metro Halifax were news to him.
“They didn’t tell me that,” he said.
When asked if the Rainmen would consider paying more for the travel of visiting teams, he said, “Pay more? How much more can I pay? All of it, for both teams? No, I’m not doing that.”
He said the Rainmen, with big crowds and stable ownership, are “definitely an asset to the league” and are deserving of an equal piece of the pie in the profit-sharing deal.
Hrywnak said a decision will be made on whether the Rainmen will be invited back to the PBL by May 1.
League president Tom Doyle was quick to point out that the PBL’s market analysts aren’t the ones calling the shots, and that he and Hrywnak will ultimately make the call. He said there will be more to the decision than just one report.
“This doesn’t mean they’re gone,” Doyle said.
The Rainmen are still waiting for word from the PBL on what will happen with last Friday’s cancelled game against the Montreal Sasquatch.
The contest was cancelled because the venue didn’t meet PBL standards, and the league sent out a press release yesterday saying it “will be working closely with Montreal to make sure all conditions necessary to host a game are met.”
It went on to say rumours that the Rainmen will earn a forfeit victory from the game are “without merit.”