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Windy City Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have announced they will soon be expanding their footprint in the Chicago area by establishing an NBA Development League team, the Windy City Bulls, which will be based at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

“The Bulls have had relationships with D-League teams in other cities in the past, but by establishing a direct affiliate team, it will give them a chance to have new, young players and established players who are rehabbing from injury, hone their skills nearby, under the watchful eye of Bulls coaches. It should make for a more seamless transition from one team to another,” said Ben Gibbs, general manager of the Sears Centre.

“These development league teams are seldom too close to a big city, so this will be a unique situation and an opportunity for the Bulls to further extend the popularity of their brand in the suburbs. Professional men’s basketball has never been played in the suburbs. We have had minor league hockey, baseball and even arena football, but this will be a first for the game of basketball,” he added.

The Windy City Bulls, which will be similar to a baseball farm team, will play 24 Sears Centre home games per year between mid November and April.

“We expect these games to offer fans a smaller version of a Bulls experience at the United Center, but with the same quality and entertainment value. Not everyone is fortunate enough to attend a Bulls game in Chicago, but this will extend that opportunity to suburban families,” Gibbs said.

“The Bulls have made a long-term commitment to the Sears Centre and we are very excited and optimistic about that,” he added.

“This new partnership is great for the village of Hoffman Estates and the Sears Centre, said Mark Koplin, assistant village manager. “The Bulls have a great name and a reputation for a high quality game day experience, so we expect them to bring fans here from a 15 to 20-mile or greater radius which will definitely be a positive thing for the village and its businesses.”

People will love having the opportunity to see players who are very likely to go on to play in the NBA someday, he added.

Gibbs and Koplin also expect that having the Windy City Bulls at the Sears Centre will give a boost to other events in the arena because those attending basketball games will likely see promotions for other events and choose to return. The fact that the Bulls organization has chosen the Sears Centre as its minor league venue will also give other event promoters confidence that the Centre is a quality place to hold an event, Gibbs said.

The team received almost 3,600 name suggestions from fans during the first round of the “Name the Team” campaign, which ran Nov. 11-25, said Beth Esler, manager of corporate communications for the Chicago Bulls.

The Windy City Bulls name was chosen in February; it was in the top three finalists nominated in the campaign. The other two finalists were “Great Lakes Bulls” and “Heartland Bulls.”

The team received name suggestions from all 50 states, as well as several international submissions from countries including Brazil and the Philippines, and respondents ranged in age from elementary school children to 89 years old.

Fans interested in purchasing season tickets or corporate sponsorships can visit http://www.bulls.com/dleague or call (847) 396-7070. Be sure to check the website often for updates on local community events and promotions which will be held to build excitement and interest before the season starts, Esler said.

“The Chicago Bulls are extremely excited to establish an expansion NBA Development League team in Hoffman Estates,” said Michael Reinsdorf, president and COO, Chicago Bulls.

“We look forward to promoting the game of basketball, extending the reach of the Bulls brand, and engaging with families, schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses in the Northwest Suburbs. Our games will bring a new element of entertainment to the area and we welcome the opportunity to connect with the current fan base and build relationships with new fans,” he added.

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