Olympia Reign are Back for 2014, Kind of
The Olympia Reign are scheduled to play six games, four at home at South Sound Sports Center in Tumwater beginning with an away and home set with the Bellingham Slam beginning on May 9th.
Reign owner Mark Felton ceased operations of the fledgling basketball team after Little Creek Casino decided not to renew their sponsorship shortly before the 2013 season. The Reign played their home games at the Skookum Creek Events Center at Little Creek in 2012 after the casino invested in a basketball court and went all in for the team. Without the sponsorship, the Reign were unable to afford to play at Little Creek or anywhere at all.
The league now operates the Reign and they played two games at SPSCC last year as a “branding team”, a term the IBL describes as an “opportunity…to determine market viability.” How they expect to determine market viability while playing two games at SPSCC last year and four games in a warehouse in Tumwater this year is a question that has yet to be answered. The IBL said in a tweet that there is new interest in the team but operating them in a limited fashion does not set them up for success.
In reality, the Olympia Reign will exist as a way to round out the IBL schedule since the league is down to two full time teams in the Northwest – the Bellingham Slam and the Vancouver Volcanoes. Olympia will make two trips to Bellingham while the Slam will travel to Tumwater once. The Volcanoes, the Salem Sabres and another team listed as Free Agent each will make appearances in town. Here is the 2014 schedule…
Friday, May 9th – @ Bellingham Slam – 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 10th – vs. Bellingham Slam – 7:00 PM
Saturday, May 17th – @ Bellingham Slam – 7:00 PM
Friday, May 23rd – vs. Vancouver Volcanoes – 7:00 PM
Friday, June 20th – vs. Salem Sabres – 7:00 PM
Saturday, June 21st – vs. Free Agent – 7:00 PM
The only teams in the IBL with a full schedule of games as of right now are the Slam and the Volcanoes (the only two teams that are even semi-professionally operated).
Though I expect the schedule will change multiple times before and after the season starts, as of right now the Salem Sabres will play six games, two at home. The Portland Chinooks have six games scheduled, all on the road. The Seattle Flight play three games on the road and two at home. The Lonestar Strikers are scheduled to play three games, all on the road over a weekend in June. Finally, the Santa Barbara Breakers play five games, three in a tiny gymnasium in Los Angeles (maybe, the address for Mount Carmel Park is wrong on the website) and two on the road. What a professional schedule!
Personally, I’m ready for the Olympia Reign to just go away, especially this “branding team” iteration of the team. Do it right or don’t do it at all, IBL.
Minor league basketball: it’s fantastic.