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NBA D-League Shows that there are Plenty of Venues Available for Professional Futsal League
NBA D-League Shows that there are Plenty of Venues Available for Professional Futsal League

By Tim Sheldon

Finding a venue should be a minimal problem for a new Professional Futsal League PFL franchise. The U.S. has more arenas suitable for Futsal than any other country in the world. The reason of course is that any basketball arena is perfectly suited for Futsal.

eerie insurance arena.jpg (133498 bytes)PFL President Michael Hitchcock said that finding venues will be a relatively easy part of creating the new league.

"That's probably the most beautiful thing about Futsal, that (PFL Commissioner) Keith Tozer has said as well, that we have more Futsal facilities than any country in the world, because the game can be played on a basketball court."

(Photo: The Eerie Insurance Arena, home of the NBA D-League Eerie BayHawks, is an example of the type of arena that could house a Professional Soccer League team.)

Arenas are to be found in any market in the U.S.

"You look at high school and professional and municipally-owned facilities. There are multiple options in every city as far as a venue that would work," Hitchcock said.

The venue could be a National Basketball Assn. D-League arena, in some cases.

"I think you're going to have NBA (Developmental) D-League owners that want to put this in their arena for additional programming," Hitchcock said. "I think you will have NBA D-League owners that have smaller arenas, 5,000-6,000-seat arenas that are perfect for what they are trying to accomplish with the game, and provide additional programming for that facility."

The emerging PFL could also inspire the construction of new arenas.

"It will give some prospective owner the opportunity to build a nice 3,000-4,000-seat arena that can be used not only for Futsal but for other events, for programming throughout the year, Hitchcock said. "And then you have some cool little arenas that have a lot of character that aren't being used right now that could be a really good fit for Futsal. From initial conversations all over the country, we're seeing prospective owners and prospective venues that fit these various categories."

The accessibility of Futsal highlights the fact that it's the game of the people and the sport of the future, Hitchcock said.

"As land becomes a bigger and bigger challenge in this country, you already have surfaces that could be used as Futsal courts all over the country in the inner city. It just makes sense. The game is growing, and we feel very bullish on the future of the sport."

The NBA D-League creates a good benchmark for the PFL in terms of its original charter franchises and subsequent growth to18 teams in four divisions.

Zachary Bigger of the NBA D-League Ft. Wayne Mad Ants reported that, "When the National Basketball Development League (NBDL) was formed in 2001, there were eight original franchises, all located in the southeastern region of the United States: the Asheville Attitude, Columbus Riverdragons, Fayetteville Patriots, Greensville Groove, Huntsville Flight, Mobile Revelers, and Roanoke Dazzle."

Those teams no longer exist, but they created the foundation for the D-League to grow into the following four divisions:

Atlantic Division: Maine Red Claws, Canton Charge, Delaware 87ers, Erie BayHawks and Westchester Knicks. 

Central Division: Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Grand Rapids Drive, Sioux Falls Skyforce and Iowa Energy. 

Southwest Division: Austin Spurs, Oklahoma City Blue, Texas Legends and Rio Grande Valley Vipers. 

West Division: Bakersfield Jam, Santa Cruz Warriors, Reno Bighorns, Los Angeles D-Fenders, Idaho Stampede.

As the PFL enters its second week of existence and proceeds toward it's projected kick-off date of November, 2016, the NBA D-League structure and venues create a good initial view of how the PFL can gain a foothold and develop.

As Hitchcock noted, there won't be any problem finding a place to play. 

Copyright Tim Sheldon and futsalonline.com. All rights reserved.

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