Wizards Leave Civic Center With Vacancies | VideoAlexander Gorney | 4/17/2012
It`s the sound that may mean the end of an era. Crews took apart the Civic Center basketball court today. The same court that was home to the Wizards for 17 years.
"We`ve got the verbal that their tentative plans are now to move to Santa Cruz, California and we`re just waiting for the letter to say that is what they plan on doing," said Civic Center General Manager Charlie Jeske.
The team played 24 regular season home games a year here and that was going to be the plan for next year too. But now, Civic Center staff aren`t sure what will happen for those upcoming dates. The Civic Center isn`t the only business that will feel the effects of the loss.
"The Dakota Wizards are than just what they mean to the Civic Center. It means a lot to the community. When a visiting team comes, they stay at a hotel, get plane tickets, they eat at restaurants.It`s the same for a lot of our events here," Jeske said.
Civic Center staff say It`s likely that the Wizards future starting next year will be in Santa Cruz and that they are already thinking of events that can take the place of the teams departure.
"We hope to add more sporting events. More basketball from various other areas. So we hope that will grab that sports crowd. Musical events, theater events, kind of a variety of things and the more variety we offer, the more people there are to entertain which is what were in the business of doing," said Marketing and Sales Manager Katie Moore-Aitchison.
The Wizards departure from the Civic Center isn`t official until Santa Cruz approves a new semi-permanent area and the D-League approves the relocation. But staff here are erring on the side that the Wizards won`t be here next year.
The Wizards still have another year on their lease at the Civic Center but the Golden State Warriors, who own the Wizards, only have to pay $40,000 to buy out of the lease. Staff here expect an official announcement of the move after May 8.