While the National Basketball Association doesn’t have plans to expand its 30-team league, a Quebec group of prominent business people is hoping to bring basketball to Montreal.
“We think Montreal and the NBA are meant to share some magic and we’ll work tirelessly to make it happen,” former federal cabinet minister Michael Fortier said.
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The group gathered in Montreal on Wednesday to outline a plan to make Montreal home to an NBA franchise in the near future.
While Fortier acknowledged the league isn’t looking to expand, he said they want to be prepared for when the opportunity arises.
“Although the NBA and its commissioner have made it clear to us they currently have no plans to expand the league, we have taken the decision to prepare for when expansion does take place because we believe it will take place,” Fortier said.
The estimated cost of an NBA franchise would cost between US$1.5 billion and $2 billion, according to Fortier.
The group, however, insists that it wouldn’t need public funding to bring a team to Montreal, but instead plans to attract new investors.
It was also announced that Stephan Crétier, the CEO of the security firm GardaWorld, has agreed to contribute up to 10 per cent of the value of a new team.
It’s just one step forward, said Fortier, who added: “There is still a lot of work to do, people to meet and investors to convince.”
The announcement came ahead of the preseason NBA Canada series game between the Toronto Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets at the Montreal Bell Centre.
— With files from Brayden Jagger Haines and The Canadian Press
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