Local basketball franchise ceases operations in midseason

Friday, January 29, 2010 at 1:13pm
Staff reports

Nashville’s latest attempt at an American Basketball Association franchise, The Music City Stars, has ceased operations, the team announced Friday.

The Stars were 9-3 and recently became the top-ranked team in the league following a 112-100 victory over the then-No. 1 Southeast Texas Mavericks on Jan. 16. The Stars were scheduled to play a road game against the West Virginia Blazers on Sunday. The regular season was scheduled to continue through March 7.

Poor ticket sales were cited as a primary factor in the decision.

The team played its home games at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena, and prices were $12 for adults, $8 for senior citizens and children. Premium pricing options were available prior to the start of the season. Lipscomb students were admitted free with a student ID.

"We will spend the next few months determining what course, if any, will be taken in the future", Tony Chase, Stars CEO, said in a release announcing the decision. "It is difficult at best to introduce a minor league sport into a community, much less attempting to do so following two attempts in the recent past. The fan base has been very difficult to obtain for the Stars and most of the attendance has been as a result of complimentary tickets.

“I applaud the efforts of our outstanding head coach, Jan van Breda Kolff and the incredibly talented team. Having recently reached the Number One spot in the polls makes this a tougher decision, but the economics just weren’t there.”

The team moved to Allen Arena this season after having played at Municipal Auditorium in 2008-09 as the Nashville Broncs. That team was 23-4 and reached the national semifinals under van Breda Kolff, a former Vanderbilt coach.

The Stars are not the first ABA franchise to cease operations this season. Others in the Midwest and Southeast have left the league, ceased operations or have been removed for failure to meet league guidelines.

2 Comments on this post:

By: havilahus on 1/29/10 at 5:50

"the Number One spot in the polls?"
The team was in first place by virtue of its 9-3 record. What polls?

By: Dore4Life on 1/30/10 at 9:17

Newsflash: until the NBA and NFL both establish MLB quality minor league systems, this whole idea is moot as far as drawing any kind of audience despite the ownership's best efforts.

Nashville, TN has not been a minor league sports town since the Predators and Titans arrived. I hope that eventually they can add an MLB team to that list. However, an ABA team needs two things to be successful:

#1-- they need the NBA to establish and support it ala MLB and their minor league farm teams.

#2-- they need to enter small town markets like Jackson, TN, Chattanooga, TN, etc. ala MLB and their minor league farm system.

The blueprint for sustained success is there, but unfortunately, I don't see #1 ever happening because the NBA (and NFL for that matter) is far too content leeching off of NCAA Division 1 men's basketball (and football) for their primary minor league system.