The Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA Development League today announced that the Bucks have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will begin play in Oshkosh, Wis., for the 2017-18 season.
As part of the deal, Fox Valley Pro Basketball led by Greg Pierce will be constructing a new 3,500-seat arena for the new minor league team. With the purchase, the Bucks become the 20th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate while the NBA D-League grows to a record 25 teams for next season.
“Our ownership group has been steadfast in its commitment to both build a championship-caliber basketball program and develop stronger partnerships with fans and communities throughout the state of Wisconsin,” Bucks co-owner Wes Edens said. “We’re thrilled to announce this partnership with the City of Oshkosh, Greg Pierce and his team, and the incredible basketball fans throughout the Fox Valley. This new team will be an invaluable resource for our basketball staff and an incredible vehicle for connecting with Wisconsin’s passionate sports fans.”
“NBA teams are increasingly recognizing the NBA D-League’s value in providing opportunities to players, coaches and front office executives,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “A record two-thirds of NBA teams now own an NBA D-League affiliate, and I’m excited to welcome Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan and the Bucks to that list.”
The Oshkosh Common Council recently approved plans for a new 3,500-seat arena that is expected to anchor the newly-designated “Sawdust District” located near Pioneer Drive Park along the shore of Lake Winnebago. Similar to the arena development currently under construction in Milwaukee, the Oshkosh arena project will serve as a catalyst for additional economic development in the surrounding area. The overall vision for the project calls for the 3,500-seat arena, which will also house a sports bar and team store, along with proposed future development that could include a hotel and additional dining and entertainment venues.
“I believe that Oshkosh’s Central City is on the verge of a renaissance,” Oshkosh Mayor Steve Cummings said. “The Bucks’ selection of Oshkosh as its location for their D-League team reinforces our reputation as a great place to work, play and learn. The new arena will be the cornerstone of a revived central city that will attract visitors and greater development opportunities to Oshkosh.”
“When we pitched this idea, the Fox Valley’s response was so immediate and enthusiastic, we knew this would be the ideal location for the team to expand,” said Greg Pierce of Fox Valley Pro Basketball. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Building a new arena, bringing the Sawdust District vision to life and expanding the sports and entertainment options in our region will have a transformative impact on our community.”
Fans interested in securing tickets for the inaugural season of NBA D-League action in the Fox Valley can reserve their seats online at www.foxvalleybasketball.com. All fans who submit a deposit towards season tickets by this Friday, Feb. 10, will receive a pair of tickets to the Bucks’ Fan Appreciation Night game vs. Charlotte on Monday, April 10. Visitors to the site are also encouraged to submit ideas for the official team name, which will be announced in the coming months.
As part of today’s announcement, the Bucks are also welcoming BMO Harris Bank as the first official sponsor of the new NBA D-League team. A longtime partner of the Bucks, BMO Harris Bank operates in nearly 200 branches in the state of Wisconsin, including 12 in the Fox Valley.
More than 75 NBA players have been assigned to the NBA D-League for development or rehabilitation this season, including half of the players selected in 2016 NBA Draft presented by State Farm. In total, more than 40 percent of the last five NBA Draft classes have honed their skills in the NBA D-League.
Two current Bucks, Khris Middleton and Rashad Vaughn, have NBA D-League experience. In total, the Bucks have assigned 10 players since the 2005-06 season, the first when NBA teams were able to send players to the NBA D-League.
About the Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks are a professional basketball franchise in their 49th season of play in the National Basketball Association, and third under the direction of a new ownership group headed by Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan. The trio purchased the team from Herb Kohl on May 15, 2014, tipping off a new era of Bucks basketball with the promise of building a championship-caliber team on and off the court that will unite the community and play a leading role in revitalizing downtown Milwaukee.
The Bucks have a lengthy history of success in the NBA, highlighted by the franchise’s NBA Championship in 1971 in just the team’s third season of action, giving the Bucks the distinction of owning the quickest rise from expansion team to champion in any of the four major North American professional leagues. The Bucks also count two conference championships, 13 division titles and 28 postseason appearances among the team’s many accomplishments, while numerous Bucks players, coaches and contributors are included as members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
About the City of Oshkosh
The City of Oshkosh, with a population of over 66,000, is the largest municipality in Winnebago County. Oshkosh is home to the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh, the third-largest university in the state, with a total enrollment of more than 13,000 students. With diverse events such as the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture, the Miss Wisconsin Pageant, dozens of year-round fishing tournaments, and music festivals of all types, Oshkosh is widely recognized as “Wisconsin’s Event City.” The city is on the western shore of Lake Winnebago and banked by the Fox River and Lake Butte des Morts. Oshkosh and the surrounding area hold an abundance of sights and sounds for residents and visitors to discover and enjoy.
About the NBA Development League
The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 22 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2016-17 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. An all-time high 38 percent of all NBA players at the end of the 2015-16 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. NBA D-League games are available on ESPN’s family of networks, Facebook Live and NBA TV.
Via Milwaukee Bucks Press Release