On Wednesday, Feb. 26, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced a prospective plan to join with The Madison Square Garden Company to make the Westchester County Center the home of the New York Knicks-affiliated National Basketball Association (NBA) Developmental League team starting as soon as the fall.
The NBA Developmental League (D-League) features professional basketball players developing their skills, as they hope to earn roster spots on NBA Teams as well as current NBA players. Furthermore, the NBA D-League rosters are filled with prominent former college basketball players trying to enter the NBA.
Stepinac High School All-Time Leading Scorer Tony Taylor played for the Tulsa 66ers, the Oklahoma Thunder’s NBA D-League affiliate, after graduating from George Washington University.
The prospective plan schedules the Knicks-affiliates to play 24 home games at the County Center between the months of November and April, with the possibility of up to six playoff games also to be played in April.
“Westchester loves basketball at every level and this agreement would bring professional basketball to the county,” said Astorino when announcing the plan. “Top-flight basketball at an affordable price in a convenient location is a winning combination and Westchester County is excited for the opportunity to team up with The Madison Square Garden Company, the Knicks and the NBA.”
The plan was presented to the Westchester County Board of Acquisition & Contract for approval, on Thursday, Feb. 27. However, the vote was held over and the plan will be on the agenda again for approval, on Thursday, March 6.
Once the proposal is approved by the county’s Board of Acquisition & Contract, a formal licensing agreement would be signed by the county and The MSG Company, and the overall plan would be subject to final approval by the NBA.
The Madison Square Garden Company released the following statement to the White Plains Examiner: “We continue to explore opportunities that we believe make sense for the company and hope to have something to announce in the near future.”
Considering its strategic location in White Plains, which is near the MSG Training Center in Greenburgh where the Knicks train, and its seating capacity of about 3900 for basketball games, the County Center seems to make a lot of sense for the next home of the Knicks D-League affiliate.
The proposal is being structured as a five-year licensing agreement with an option for MSG to renew for another five-year period. MSG would pay the county a set fee for each game date and pick up any additional cost incurred during short turn-around times to prepare the arena for games.
Westchester County would also receive fees from parking, tickets, food, merchandise and advertising sales. Depending on ticket sales, the county projects to net between $2,000 and $12,000 a game or $48,000 to $288,000 per season, not including the playoffs.
“Under the proposal, all the county’s cost would be covered and the deal becomes more lucrative for the county as attendance for games grows,” said Astorino.
And for all of us basketball enthusiasts in Westchester County, we will reap the benefits of having Knicks and NBA basketball right in our backyard.