NBA to host fan event in Vancouver, rekindling city’s pro basketball dreams

Click to play video: 'NBA House appearance in Vancouver raises basketball fans’ hopes'
NBA House appearance in Vancouver raises basketball fans’ hopes
The NBA is bringing its travelling fan event to Vancouver, the first time it's ever come to Canada. As Troy Charles reports, it has some basketball fans wondering if the league itself might be returning to Vancouver. – May 22, 2024

The NBA is bringing its travelling fan attraction to Canada for the first time with an upcoming stop in Vancouver.

The June NBA House event has some basketball fans hoping pro ball could one day make a return to the west coast city.

Vancouver’s Plaza of Nations will host the immersive hoops experience from June 6 to June 9, featuring meet-and-greets with NBA Alumni, the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy and viewing parties for Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals.

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman helps Golden State’s wounded warriors to another championship'
B.C. woman helps Golden State’s wounded warriors to another championship

The event comes nearly 25 years after Vancouver lost its status as an NBA city when the Grizzlies franchise was moved to Memphis.

Story continues below advertisement

While the Vancouver Grizzlies were among the NBA’s historically worst-performing outfits, it hasn’t stopped the city and fanbase from dreaming of a second chance.

“It’s smart to have these events in Vancouver. We have already proven we are a basketball city,” said Kat Jayme, a filmmaker who has made two documentaries about the Grizzlies. “We obviously used to have an NBA team here,. There’s already a market here, a huge fan base.”

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Since its exit from the market, the NBA has kept connections with Vancouver.

The Toronto Raptors have played a number of sold-out pre-season games at Rogers Arena.

Click to play video: 'Bring Back The Grizz fans to rally outside NBA preseason game'
Bring Back The Grizz fans to rally outside NBA preseason game

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has mentioned the city more than once when talk has come up about expanding the league or looking north of the border.

Story continues below advertisement

“My assumption by this is that they have some desire to draw some attention to our city. Not just from the past, but perhaps the future,” Arthur Griffiths told Global News.

Griffiths, the entrepreneur who brought the Grizzlies to Vancouver in 1995, believes the city is better equipped than ever to host an NBA team.

One part of the equation is that a team’s share of television rights alone is essentially enough to cover its maximum player salaries under the current salary cap, clearing a major financial hurdle created by the Canadian dollar.

“What’s left is what the local team generates in its own right to make it more viable, and I have no doubt with a very aggressive marketing campaign, but more over a pricing structure, that you would fill any arena in Vancouver every night for years,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Filmmaker and Grizzlies superfan is back with new documentary'
Filmmaker and Grizzlies superfan is back with new documentary

Of course, landing an NBA team would require owners with deep pockets, with the average franchise valued at close to $4 billion.

Story continues below advertisement

Jayme suggested the city look at luring another pro basketball franchise first.

“A WNBA team. Women’s sport is on the rise,” she said. “I am really excited about the new stories that are out there to uncover, and I think it’s just way more viable, price-point wise, to bring a WNBA team here, and the WNBA is looking to expand. Toronto just got awarded a team.”

While the prospect of pro basketball returning to Vancouver likely remains a dream at this point, June’s event will allow fans to get a little bit closer to it, if only for a few days.

Sponsored content