After a two-year experiment with a winter season, the International Basketball League has decided to go back to a summer schedule and will start up again in April, 2012.
The Los Angeles Lightning, which won the 2009 IBL title, are among the teams that will skip playing this winter as planned and pick it up in eight months with their home base contining to be Cal Lutheran’s Thousand Oaks campus gym.
“We support the league’s vision and new ownership,” Lightning owner Mark Harwell said. “We’ll be ready to go when training camp starts in April.”
The Lightning, whose roster has included former NBA and local college standouts such as Lamond Murray, Toby Bailey, Bryon Russell, Fred Vinson, Darrick Martin and Tyus Edney, will start their fourth season, while the IBL prepares for its eighth season.
Five Midwestern teams that competed in last year’s winter season have dropped out of the IBL and joined a local league. All the teams are within a four-hour drive of each other.
“In this economy, it’s hard for the smaller-market teams to survive and break even, especially in the Midwest,” said IBL founder Mikal Duilio, who sold to league to Bryan Hunter in early July. “We did everything we could to help them by adding a Winter schedule during the traditional basketball season. They felt that would get them over the top but it just didn’t work out.”
The league will focus on teams in L.A., Vancouver; Albany, N.Y.; Portland, Oregon and Edmonton, Canada. The Vancouver Volcanoes won this year’s IBL title with a 124-116 victory over the Edmonton Energy on July 3.
“Those teams have the best potential to obtain TV coverage and sponsorships, which was our original goal,” said Duilio.