JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — While Jackson leaders hope to bring an NBA D-league to the city, there are improvements that need to be made before they could play at the state Coliseum.
City officials are sending an official letter of intent to league officials Monday, and they’ll have to have a plan in place by June 5, that could include improvements to the Mississippi Coliseum.
Justin Bruce with the City of Jackson says upgrades are needed, including lights so that games could be broadcast on TV and floor level seating.
The team would also need NBA regulation baskets, but leaders believe bringing in the team is a realistic goal.
“You think about it, Southhaven has a D-league team so if a place like Southaven in Mississippi can have a D-league team surely that the Capital City of Mississippi has the opportunity to capitalize on that,” Mayor Tony Yarber said.
Jackson is competing with 11 other cities to bring in the league. Right now there’s no estimate on what the upgrades will cost, but there is the possibility of return on investment.
“It can add to the tourism dollars that we see here in the City of Jackson because the team will obviously have team members that family will come in and friends,” said Yolanda Clay-Moore of the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The city will look for community interest and private investors to get funds for the renovation. According to the NBA, there are 22 development league teams now, and that will expand to 25 in the 2017 season, but this would be the first affiliate for New Orleans.
“It could also mean jobs for citizens here in the city that can fill those positions.”
The city says outside of bringing in the league, renovations are also an excellent opportunity to bring in other events.