Olympia Reign out for the 2013 season
The Olympia Reign announced on their Facebook page today that they will forgo the 2013 International Basketball League season after The Squaxin Island Tribe and Little Creek Casino did not renew their sponsorship. Here is the full statement from the team…
I would like to announce that the Olympia Reign will not compete in the 2013 season. Squaxin Island Tribe and Little Creek Casino did not renew the sponsorship for the upcoming season. Therefore, unless another sponsor or partner steps up we will have to forego the season. I would like to thank the Squaxin Island Tribe and Little Creek Casino for their support the last 2 years. I would like to thank all the staff and players for all their efforts over the years. I would like to thank the Olympia Reign fans as their support was much appreciated. It was nice to see the fan base grow and the following we had was really getting strong. I am saddened that after 6 years I have to pull out of the 2013 season. Thanks again to everyone!
The Reign moved to Little Creek Casino in 2012 after five seasons of playing their home games at Evergreen. The Squaxin Island Tribe purchased a basketball court for use in their Skookum Creek Events Center and the team drew marginally better than they had in previous seasons, partially because of a much better facility and marketing by Little Creek. But the Reign never developed a strong following despite lasting for a remarkable six seasons. You have to credit owner Mark Felton for keeping them alive for that long in spite of heavy losses.
The Skookum Creek Events Center had (has?) potential to be a viable facility with a decent concession stand, alcohol sales and even the possibility of luxury seating, but I’d assume that without the tribe on board as a sponsor, the facility rental would be too expensive to justify given the team’s attendance history and without an investment in some serious marketing and another major sponsor.
Unfortunately, my lasting memory of the Olympia Reign comes from the 2010 season when the Los Angeles Lightning came to town in the Reign’s regular season finale. The team promoted the fact that the Lightning featured former NBA players Byron Russell, Tyus Edney, Lamond Murray, Toby Bailey and Fred Vinson and The Olympian ran an article titled “L.A. brings ex-NBA players to Olympia” previewing the game.
But knowing minor league basketball and the LA Lightning in particular, I knew that the ex-NBA players featured in the article never traveled with the team. And sure enough, when the two teams took the court in front of a relatively large crowd, not a single ex-NBA player mentioned in the article had made the trip. Even the Reign’s Nate Menefee, mentioned prominently in the article, wasn’t in uniform. He showed up a little before halftime in street clothes, obviously after getting off of work, and played an electrifying second half scoring 27 points to lead the Reign to a 136-129 win. But without the ex-NBA players that were promised and a rather ragged level of play, it just wasn’t enough to make many in attendance lasting fans.