Santa Cruz was first approached last October by the Warriors, but the discussion was kept hush-hush to prevent upsetting either of the Dakota Wizards‘ fans if the deal didn’t go through or changed.
Then in February, the team hit up Santa Cruz again to discuss a move in more serious terms and work some magic on the deal.
A pro hoops team would be a draw for people to visit Santa Cruz during the beach’s offseason in the winter. A 50-game D-League schedule would mean 25 home games between November and April.
The City Council has yet to decide if it makes financial sense after considering the cost of a temporary sports facility, parking accommodations and other expenses.
The deal comes as Santa Cruz attempts an economic comeback after several difficult years. Although tourism has helped Santa Cruz fare better than many California cities, the city has still had to tighten its belt by laying off workers, reducing benefits and eliminating services.
The proposed 33,000-square-foot sports facility would be built on what is now a run-down parking lot. The city is being asked to pay for the estimated $2.5 to $3 million structure.
During the team’s offseason the facility could seat up to 5,000 people for concerts and other events.
The Santa Cruz city council votes April 10 on whether to allow City Manager Martín Bernal to continue talks with the Wizards. If talks continue, a final vote could be held on May 8.
Back in Bismark, North Dakota, officials seems resigned to losing the 17-year-old basketball team to its west coast suitor. Though the team has one more year on their contract with the Bismark Civic Center, the team could buy it out for just $40,000 if it chose to move.