Volcanoes owner in final stages of buying IBL

Semi-pro basketball league will be based in Vancouver

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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Bryan Hunter likes owning the Vancouver Volcanoes so much that he bought the whole league.

Hunter, the coach and majority owner of the International Basketball League champions, is in the final stages of purchasing the semi-pro league.

“It’s going to be a revenue-share model, so I don’t know what the final number is going to be,” Hunter said about the purchase price. “It’s going to be about $200,000.”

On Sunday, the Volcanoes won their first IBL championship, bringing a close to the league’s ninth season. That same day, Hunter said, he reached an agreement to purchase the league from founder Mikal Duilio.

“The paperwork has not been finalized, but an agreement has been reached,” Hunter said. “Probably in the next four weeks, everything will be finalized.”

The IBL this year included 10 full franchises and five “branding” teams that played a partial schedule and might seek inclusion in the league.

Of the 10 full-time teams, six were based along the I-5 corridor, including clubs in Portland, Olympia and Bellingham, as well as Vancouver.

Duilio said: “It is time today for the IBL to take the next phase forward, focusing a bit on revenues and televising games. Bryan Hunter, in my opinion, will be able to navigate the league forward into that next phase.”

The Volcanoes in recent years have provided telecasts of home games for local cable-access channels.

“TV is a very large goal,” Hunter said. “We have a six-camera crew, HD cameras at all of our games, to show that it can work. We will be exploring those possibilities throughout the offseason.”

Hunter, who owns Portland-based Exitexchange, an Internet advertising company, said he will continue to own the Volcanoes. He hasn’t decided whether his duties as league owner will allow him to continue coaching the club.

Hunter also said the league will be based in Vancouver, and that he will create a new position for a commissioner who is not affiliated with any particular franchise.

“I want to try to grow the league,” he said. “I don’t believe that semi-pro has to have negative connotation a lot of people put on it.”