NEW YORK – The NBA Development League and the Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has been granted the right to own and operate an NBA D-League club that will begin play in the 2016-17 season. The new team, which will play its home games at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., will be the NBA D-League’s record 22nd franchise, while the Bulls become the 13th NBA team to fully own and operate its NBA D-League affiliate. BMO Harris Bank will serve as the presenting partner of the new NBA D-League team.
“It’s an exciting time for the NBA D-League as we announce the league’s record 22nd team,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “The NBA D-League is experiencing an exciting period of tremendous growth as we answer the growing development needs of NBA teams. I couldn’t be prouder to welcome the Bulls into the NBA D-League family of owners and look forward to sitting alongside the great basketball fans in Illinois to watch this new team compete at the Sears Centre Arena next season.”
“Establishing an expansion NBA Development League franchise is a significant step forward for the organization,” said Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO of the Chicago Bulls. “We continuously look for opportunities to promote the game of basketball, extend the reach of the Bulls brand and deepen our integration with our surrounding communities. There are so many great Chicago Bulls fans in the area, and we look forward to engaging in new ways with families, schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the Northwest Suburbs.”
Sears Centre Arena, which opened in 2006, is located approximately 35 miles northwest of downtown Chicago and will host the team’s 24 home games between November and April. The NBA D-League team’s business and basketball staffs will be housed at the arena.
“We’re extremely excited for the valuable investment the Bulls are making by owning and operating an NBA D-League franchise,” said John Paxson, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Chicago Bulls. “While it will ingrain our brand more deeply in the surrounding communities, it will also strengthen our team on the court. Our younger players will have a place close to home to grow and mature while playing within a developmental platform that is consistent with Bulls basketball.”
“All of us at the Village of Hoffman Estates are honored to welcome the Chicago Bulls and their newly formed NBA D-League franchise to the Sears Centre Arena,” said Mayor William McLeod. “We look forward to working with the Bulls and their staff to create excitement for their current fan base as well as explore opportunities to connect Hoffman Estates’ residents and businesses to the Bulls brand in a meaningful way. The games will no doubt offer an exciting new entertainment feature for the Village and surrounding suburbs.”
The organization is inviting fans to help “Name the Team”. Beginning today through November 25, fans who are legal residents of Illinois and/or live within 75 miles of Chicago are invited to submit up to five name options. Each fan who submits their name suggestion(s) will receive a buy one get one free ticket offer to the team’s 2016-17 inaugural season while supplies last. All team name suggestions must end in “Bulls”. In early December, round two of “Name the Team” will begin when fans can vote for their favorite team name. BMO Harris Bank is the presenting partner of “Name the Team”. To submit suggestions and for a list of terms and conditions, please visit www.bulls.com/dleague.
To celebrate the Bulls’ announcement of an NBA D-League franchise in Hoffman Estates, the team will bring Benny the Bull and other Bulls entertainers on a caravan throughout the community on Thursday, Nov. 12. The group will make stops at various locations, including a pep assembly at MacArthur Elementary School. Media is invited to attend the pep assembly from 1:15 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Fans interested in purchasing season tickets can visit www.bulls.com/dleague or call (847) 396-7070 to place a non-refundable deposit of $50 to gain season-ticket priority.
Launched in 2001, the NBA D-League has expanded from an eight-team league to a record 22 teams for the 2016-17 season. All 19 teams for the 2015-16 season are singly affiliated with an NBA parent club, a first for the NBA D-League, and the three teams joining the NBA D-League for 2016-17 are owned by the Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Hornets and Bulls, respectively. Since the 2005 season, when the league played with eight unaffiliated teams, the NBA D-League has welcomed 14 new teams, all of which are owned or operated by an NBA team.
For the 2015-16 season, 10 NBA clubs own and operate their NBA D-League affiliate: Cleveland Cavaliers (Canton Charge), Golden State Warriors (Santa Cruz Warriors), Indiana Pacers (Fort Wayne Mad Ants), Los Angeles Lakers (L.A. D-Fenders), New York Knicks (Westchester Knicks), Oklahoma City Thunder (Oklahoma City Blue), Philadelphia 76ers (Delaware 87ers), San Antonio Spurs (Austin Spurs), Toronto Raptors (Raptors 905) and Utah Jazz (Idaho Stampede).
The NBA D-League will tip off its 15th season on Nov. 12 when the Westchester Knicks host the Maine Red Claws. The 2015-16 NBA season began with an all-time high 30 percent of players having played in the NBA D-League. To date, eight NBA players, including four members of the 2015 NBA Draft class, have been assigned to the NBA D-League to develop their skills.
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 19 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchises for the 2015-16 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 2014-15 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. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.
About Sears Centre Arena
Sears Centre Arena is an 11,000-seat multipurpose family entertainment, cultural, and sports arena located in Hoffman Estates’ 59-90 Entertainment District. The Sears Centre Arena, which opened in 2006, is designed to accommodate a variety of events including concerts, family shows and sporting events. For more information regarding the Sears Centre Arena and upcoming events, please visit the arena’s website at www.searscentre.com.