Spin Move: Warriors take home games to Little River

Just one week into the SC Warriors’ inaugural season and the upstart ABA franchise already has a new home court.

The Warriors opened their 2011-12 season last week with back-to-back wins at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center and they were scheduled to host the East Point Jaguars on Dec. 3 at Socastee High School. But the team released a statement late Wednesday night saying all home games will be held at the North Strand Recreation Center in Little River, putting distance between the new team and its core fan base.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause any of our fans. All of our sponsors and season ticket holders will be contacted personally by the team,” Warriors general manager Tony Bennett said in a prepared statement. “We very much appreciate the support we have received and hope our supporters will see even bigger improvements over the first two games. Without our fans and sponsors we do not have a team. They are extremely important to us.”

The Warriors have drawn approximately 400 fans per night in their first two games last week after initial estimates by the team of 2,000 to 3,000 per game. The MBCC may have been larger than the Warriors needed, or perhaps the team had difficulty paying the pricy rate to have the hall set up for basketball, and fans complained about the $5 parking fee. Bennett did not discuss the reason for the last-minute move in the release.

“North Strand is a great facility, the fans will love it! The people are wonderful and they work with our team so well. They allow us flexibility, control of concessions and offer free parking. North Strand Recreational Center is a very nice new facility, which holds approximately 800 people … with it being  a more closed in facility it will be very loud which will help create an awesome  game-time environment! Our team will also have a huge advantage because our guys practice there most of the time.”

The release included information about the team’s new ownership group, which changed just before the start of the season to “provide more professional sports experience, business acumen and financial stability to the franchise.”

The team also announced it’s intention to form a board of directors made up of local business people in the community and other lofty plans to bring the ABA’s Elite Eight and All-Star Game to the Grand Strand but the switch to a smaller, more remote facility would seem a conflicting development.

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