Minor League Sports, and the Local Economy?
Akron, OH – Amid the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Basketball Association (ABA) is pressing forward with plans to keep the 2020-2021 regular season on schedule. The league told its 150+ teams worldwide that they can proceed with plans for the 2020-2021 season which runs from November through April. But what does that mean for teams and team owners? The Akron Aviators, based in Akron, Ohio are one of the many minor league basketball teams in the ABA, founded by Brian “Essince” Collins and Antjuan Washington in 2017. The Aviators have a great history of player development, sending seven former players overseas to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Canada, and other professional US leagues. Aviators team captain Malk Billingsley is also the league’s reigning ABA 3-point and skills challenge champion. Many minor leagues and independent sports leagues rely heavily on ticket sales and concessions to cover operating costs. With the possibility of a fan-less season looming over the ABA, how will this affect teams like the Akron Aviators and their local communities? “We’re prepared for all scenarios,” says owner Brian Collins. “The most important thing is the safety of not only our players but also our fans and staff. There’s a very real possibility that we won’t be able to have fans at our games and ticket sales keep so many teams like ours afloat. So we have to find gyms that will allow us to play because schools may not be an option this year. We’ll be focusing on soliciting advertisers for our live-streamed games as well as sponsors to make sure we can deliver Aviators quality entertainment. Our online team shop also has great merchandise options to help support our program and players. We have definitely to be creative this season. The Aviators also do a lot for the community, last season donating over 100lbs of food to a local food bank and collecting 2 bins full of children’s toy donations with the Salvation Army. The absence of minor league sports and activities also affects the communities they play in. State laws will likely mandate if and how teams like Akron can operate so everything now is purely speculative. But it seems like the Aviators will be prepared no matter what. For more information on the Akron Aviators visit www.akronaviators.com and www.abaliveaction.com for ABA news