Orlando Magic purchases NBA D-League’s Erie BayHawks

NEW YORK – The Orlando Magic and the NBA Development League announced today that the Magic has agreed to purchase the Erie BayHawks and intend to relocate the team to Lakeland, Fla., to begin play for the 2017-18 season.  The anticipated relocation of the NBA D-League team also includes the future development of a practice facility in nearby Winter Haven, Fla.  With the purchase, the Magic becomes the 17th NBA team to own and operate an NBA D-League affiliate.

“Today’s announcement not only shows the continued growth of the NBA D-League but also enables the Magic to develop players close to home and provides fans in Central Florida the opportunity to watch top NBA prospects compete,” said NBA D-League President Malcolm Turner. “I’m thrilled to welcome the Magic as NBA D-League owners, and I want to thank Steve Demetriou and Owen McCormick for their leadership in Erie.”

“When we started this process, our goal was to have our NBA Development League team closer to home, and the perfect fit for us was the City of Lakeland,” said Magic CEO and NBA D-League Team Managing Partner Alex Martins.  “Having our D-League team in Lakeland gives us the best opportunity to continue developing our young players and extend the Orlando Magic brand across Central Florida.”

Located near the heart of Central Florida, Lakeland is approximately 55 miles from downtown Orlando and approximately 35 miles from downtown Tampa. The franchise will play its 24 home games at The Lakeland Center.

“Things happen in a city which can profoundly change for the better that city’s future,” said Mayor of Lakeland Howard Wiggs.  “Lakeland now has professional basketball and we are excited. This is a great example that Lakeland has a bright future and we are glad to be partnering with such a quality organization like the Orlando Magic.”

“The Lakeland Center is thrilled to welcome the NBA D-League to Polk County,” said The Lakeland Center Executive Director Tony Camarillo. “It was a focused effort that involved many members from all over the community.  Bringing professional basketball to Lakeland will not only continue to increase the sports and entertainment options available to this thriving community, but it joins the ranks of other prestigious events that The Lakeland Center is honored to host, making Lakeland a premiere destination for sports and entertainment in Central Florida.”

The Magic and the BayHawks recently began the final year of a three-year, single-affiliation hybrid partnership wherein the Magic controls the basketball operations and local ownership manages business operations.  During the partnership, Orlando has assigned two players to develop in Erie.  Four current members of the Magic have NBA D-League experience: Arinze Onuaku, C.J. Watson, C.J. Wilcox and Stephen Zimmerman.

The Magic also announced that Shelly Wilkes has been named the Lakeland team’s president, and Demetriou and Martins will be joining as minority partners in the ownership of the new team.  Wilkes currently serves as the Magic’s senior director of event presentation, broadcast production and creative services.  She has been a full time member of the Magic staff since 2004.

Season-ticket deposits for the 2017-18 season are now being accepted by calling 407-447-2210 or logging on to OrlandoMagic.com/Lakeland.

Last season, 32 NBA D-League players earned 42 GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA, while 68 NBA players spent time in the NBA D-League on assignment.  In total, more than 40 percent of players drafted into the NBA since 2005 have spent time in the NBA D-League

About the Orlando Magic
Orlando’s NBA franchise since 1989, the Magic’s mission is to be world champions on and off the court, delivering legendary moments every step of the way. The Magic have seen great success in a relatively short history, winning five division championships (1995, 1996, 2008, 2009, 2010) with seven 50-plus win seasons and capturing the Eastern Conference title in 1995 and 2009. Off the court, on an annual basis, the Orlando Magic gives more than $2 million to the local community by way of sponsorships of events, donated tickets, autographed merchandise and grants. Orlando Magic community relations programs impact an estimated 75,000 kids each year, while a Magic staff-wide initiative provides more than 6,000 volunteer hours annually. In addition, over the last 26 years more than $21 million has been distributed to local nonprofit community organizations through the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation and the Orlando Magic Youth Fund, a McCormick Foundation Fund (OMYF-MFF) since 1994, which serves at-risk youth. Ticket highlights for the Magic’s 2016-17 season in the Amway Center, honored with TheStadiumBusiness Awards’ 2013 Customer Experience Award and named SportsBusiness Journal’s 2012 Sports Facility of the Year, include: 2,500 seats priced $20 or less, 8,000 seats priced $40 or less and 9,000 seats priced $50 or under. For ticket information log on to OrlandoMagic.com or call 407-89-MAGIC.

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. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.


About The Lakeland Center

The Lakeland Center is multi-purpose entertainment complex featuring the 10,000 seat Jenkins Arena, 2,300 seat Youkey Theatre and 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space is located in sunny Central Florida and conveniently located minutes between Orlando and Tampa in Lakeland, Florida.  Since opening in 1974, The Lakeland Center has hosted a wide variety of events ranging from nationally renowned artists, family shows, athletic events, trade shows, conventions, weddings and ride and drives.  Over its 40-plus year history, The Jenkins Arena has a rich legacy of hosting minor league sports including the Lakeland Ice Warriors (ice hockey), Lakeland Loggerheads (ice hockey), Lakeland Blue Ducks (basketball), Lakeland Thunderbolts (indoor football), Florida Marine Raiders (indoor football) and the Center Florida Jaguars (indoor football). It has also hosted the FHSAA Boys and Girls Basketball Championships for over 20 years and is new home to the MISL’s Florida Tropics.  The Broadway-styled Youkey Theater is the new home to the Miss Florida Pageant and its stage has been graced by performers from Presley to Sinatra.  The Lakeland Center is a short drive from anywhere in Central Florida and is a key destination stop for all types of events and their attendees.  Visit us at www.thelakelandcenter.com.


About Polk County

Geographically the fourth largest county in the state, Polk County features 17 municipalities and more than 500 sparkling lakes. Polk County in general and Lakeland, the county’s largest city, in particular, has enjoyed a more than 80-year relationship with the Detroit Tigers. Other points of interest include LEGOLAND Resort, Bok Tower Gardens and Safari Wilderness Ranch.