Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monarchs Watch: Day 5

By now, WNBA fans have known about the folding of the Sacramento franchise for about five days. News of the franchise's demise from the reactionary sports media has dwindled to nothing as something else has grabbed their attention - I suppose Shaquille O'Neal has released another rap album or something.

In the meantime, we haven't heard anything from the WNBA, but the square "WNBA in Talks to Move Monarchs to Bay Area" still resides proudly on the splash page at WNBA.com. Either the WNBA are bad liars, or the talks are still taking place.

This begs the question, "What exactly is the Bay Area?" The Bay Area, better known as the San Francisco Bay Area, is a nine-county area serving as the home of about seven million California residents. The area includes San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. San Jose was formerly the home of the San Jose Lasers of the American Basketball League.

So could we see the Monarchs become the San Jose Lasers/Monarchs? Aside from the NHL's San Jose Sharks, I don't think that any other sports team - major or minor - uses the San Jose Arena, which is now called the HP Pavilion at San Jose. I'm sure that San Jose would be glad to have the business over the summer - you can't have a concert every day of the week.

The problems are two-fold. The first one is finding a purchaser in San Jose, which would really be the same problem in any city for any sports franchise in any sport anywhere. The second one is trying to determine if the WNBA could survive in San Jose. During the tenure of the Lasers in San Jose, the average attendance for the team was listed at 3,181 for the first season, 4,773 for the second season and 4,447 over the truncated third season. This attendance probably just includes tickets sold/distributed and not bodies in seats. And this was at the peak of interest in women's pro basketball in the late 1990s.

I would be very surprised to see a WNBA team land in San Jose. However, it's not out of the question.

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