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Sports and Exhibition Authority to consider study on possibility of bringing NBA or WNBA team to Pittsburgh

Agency to consider study on possibility of bringing NBA or WNBA team to Pittsburgh
Agency to consider study on possibility of bringing NBA or WNBA team to Pittsburgh 02:45

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Sports & Exhibition Authority is considering spending tens of thousands of dollars to study the possibility of bringing an NBA or WNBA team to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is a football town, a hockey town and in good years a baseball town. But the idea of bringing professional basketball to the Steel City would seem to be a non-starter.

"Pittsburghers wear it as a badge of honor that they're not NBA fans here," 93.7 The Fan host Andrew Fillipponi said, "that we've never had an NBA team. They invent reason and come up with ways to bash the NBA. They don't even watch the NBA."

Be that as it may, the Sport and Exhibition Authority is floating a request for proposal for a firm to study the viability of bringing an NBA or WNBA expansion team to Pittsburgh. The study would determine if the region has the fanbase and appetite for professional basketball. 

"What that does is determine whether we even have a chance here in Pittsburgh to attract an NBA or WNBA team," Sports and Exhibition Authority Chairman Wayne Fontana said.

Fontana concedes it's a long shot for an NBA team. After all, back in the 1970s the Pittsburgh Pipers and the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association drew only a couple of thousand fans a game. And when the American Basketball Association merged with the NBA, Pittsburgh didn't make the cut. 

"But that was the men. And quite frankly, we might have a better shot with a women's basketball team here," Fontana said. "And I think it could survive. I think folks would be ready for that. It's something different."

"I would like that more. I don't think there's a lot of buzz for it per se," Fillipponi said.

But while the 93.7 The Fan's Andrew Fillipponi said a WNBA team might have a better shot in Pittsburgh, the odds are stacked against even a woman's team being successful over the long haul. And the SEA should pocket the $50,000 it's like to spend on a feasibility study. 

"Can we get some upgrades to Acrisure Stadium? Can we do something withPNC Park? How about the teams we have making the fan experience at those games better?" Fillipponi said. 

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