Springfield’s new basketball team, The Armor, is off to a good start: Last night, the team won its only pre-season game, against the Maine Red Claws, 86-78.
But things really start to count on Friday, when the Armor opens its inaugural season with a 7 p.m. game against the Iowa Energy at the MassMutual Center.
The Armor is part of the NBA’s D (as in Development) League, a feeder league that serves as its farm system. The team’s head coach is former Boston Celtic Dee Brown.
City leaders are counting on the Armor to inject some life, and some dollars, into Springfield’s downtown. For that to happen, the team needs to appeal to residents of neighboring communities, who too often steer clear of Springfield—a tendency only exacerbated by the recent spurt in violent crime.
A pre-season kick-off event last week highlighted the Armor’s strategy of pitching its games as family-friendly affairs. Opening Night festivities—announced at a Nov. 19 press conference, hosted by Mayor Domenic Sarno and Armor GM Alex Schwerin—will include a “red carpet” featuring oversized cartoon characters (courtesy of Six Flags, which is sponsoring the event), contests and freebies; at halftime, The Workshop, a local dance troupe, will perform. Before and after the game, ticket holders can get discounts at Café Lebanon and JT’s Pub, as well as the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Springfield Museums.
Armor tickets range from $75 to $9; season tickets are also available. More information on the team can be found on its website.