When Bulls president and COO Michael Reinsdorf was in the beginning stages searching for a Developmental League location, staying close to home was important.
Not only would a close proximity allow the Bulls' NBA team seamlessly to ship young players to and from the D-League to gain valuable experience, but it also would help the surrounding communities in whatever region they decided on.
Both from a economic standpoint and broadening the Bulls' fan reach, the team landed on Hoffman Estates and the Sears Centre Arena to house the team's D-League affiliate, which the team announced Wednesday afternoon at the United Center.
"We’re excited because we’re going to be able to bring basketball and the Bulls game experience to more fans throughout the region," Reinsdorf said of Hoffman Estates, 35 miles northwest of Chicago. "One area that we’re very passionate about is giving back to the community, and we will bring that same commitment to the D-League team. We’re making an investment in the community, and we look forward to developing new relationships with all the schools, hospitals and non-profit organizations in the region."
Beginning in 2016, the Bulls' D-League organization will play 24 home games at the Sears Centre Arena, which holds more than 11,000 fans. Basketball and business operations will also be housed in the Arena.
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Hoffman Estates mayor William McLeod expressed his excitement in teaming up with the Bulls and how it will affect the region.
"(The) Chicago Bulls franchise is one of the best run sports organizations in the world, and to have their D-Leauge team playing in Hoffman Estates, what an opportunity for all of us. It will certainly be a boost to our burgeoning entertainment center out there and the people who live in the Northwest Suburbs will be able to see future NBA and some current NBA players play at the Sears Centre Arena. So this is fabulous day for us. It’s been a pleasure working with the Bulls organization."
Fans also will be an integral part in that the Bulls will have a contest to help name the team of the D-League organization. Legal residents of Illinois and/or those living within 75 miles of Chicago may submit up to five name suggestions that end with "Bulls." In early December the top suggestions will be selected and fans may vote on their favorite nickname.
"I consider this as a business coming to Illinois. This will be very beneficial to the state, but most important to the Northwest Suburbs, not just Hoffman Estates," said state representative Fred Crespo. "Not only can it help the economic engine in the area, but it’s also going to improve the quality of life in the area. The D-League markets itself as a family-friendly event at an affordable price, and I think that’s very key."