Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Rumors of Tulsa relocating to Dallas?

A blog posted in the Tulsa World discussed the possibility that the 2015 season might be the Shock's final season in Tulsa.  According to Dillon Holingsworth:

"A persistent rumor is circulating: At least a portion of the Shock’s ownership is interested in moving the team to Dallas."

He doesn't say where the rumor is coming from, just that it exists. Dillon Hollingsworth decided to reach out to Shock ownership, but aside from one minority owner who stated that such plans were "erroneous", he was unable to reach majority owner Bill Cameron.

That shouldn't be a surprise.  Majority owners of WNBA clubs tend to be very busy people and they tend not to sit down with reporters as a general rule.  (Else, the media requests would never end.)  I also don't agree with the statement "If the rumor was false, one might think the owners would want to squash it publicly."  As anyone who has read a newspaper knows, a squashed rumor is often used to stoke a fire - "hey, there must be some credence to the rumor; else why the push to deny it?"

More interesting is the target of this rumored move - Dallas.  Dallas hasn't generally been connected with the WNBA or WNBA moves in the past.  You'd think the owner of a prospective Dallas franchise might be Mark Cuban, but he's shown no interest in owning one. (At least he's not negative about it.)  It could be that he might be interested in having an existing WNBA team rent his arena over the summer, so why not Tulsa?

Dallas does have some women's basketball background.  It was the previous home of the Dallas Diamonds back in the last 1970s, when the Women's Pro Basketball League existed.  The Diamonds were the first pro team of Nancy Lieberman.  Dallas never did draw well, but none of the old WBL teams drew well.

If a team in the WNBA were to relocate, wouldn't San Francisco be the natural target?  Joe Lacob showed interest in acquiring the Los Angeles Sparks, the longer-standing rumor is that he's in line for the next WNBA team to relocate.  That rumor might be as true as the Tulsa to Dallas rule.   San Francisco with its lesbian and forward-thinking population would be the natural target for a WNBA team.

How likely is this rumor to be true?  Hard to say.  No one would have thought that the Los Angeles Sparks would have an ownership crisis at the end of the 2013, but that happened. If such a thing does happen, it will appropriately hit like the lightning bolt in the Shock logo.

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