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Tokyo Apache bails out of BJ League

Date Posted: 2011-06-16

The Tokyo Apache have pulled the plug on being a team in the Basketball Japan League this coming season.

The team’s parent company, Evolution Capital Management, and the league have come to terms on the Apache not participating in the 2011-2012 season. The company cited financial problems as the reason for withdrawing, becoming the first team in the league’s brief history to drop out for a whole season.

The Apache, Saitama Broncos and Sendai 89ers all stopped their 2010-2011 seasons following the March 11th Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami. The Apache’s president, Chris Hetherington, disputed who actually made the decision to drop out. League spokesman Akihiro Ejima said it was “very difficult to draw a clear line,” but cited the team’s financial concerns. Hetherington said “the decision not to field a team was a decision by Apache management and not specifically by a person within Evo, the management company.

“This was a tough decision for our organization,” said Hetherington, because “Our goal all along was to build a franchise our fans, city and league was proud of.” The Apache, though, has been one of the league’s worst teams in terms of fan attendance.

Two groups are reportedly bidding to buy the Apache, including one led by American entrepreneur Todd Wiley and former NBA Japan director of business development and business operations, Dan Weiss. A quick sale to them, or to a group including former BJ League executive Daijiro Kusakabe, could keep the league at 20 teams for the coming season.

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