ORLANDO — Purchasing the Erie BayHawks and relocating the D-League club to Lakeland will have many benefits for the Orlando Magic.
It will significantly help the Magic develop players and evaluate talent.
Also, choosing Lakeland – just a 50-minute car ride down I-4 – will help the Magic build their brand. Fans from Polk County and further west – many who are already committed Magic supporters – will now be more closely tied to the franchise.
The grand strategy is to cross promote in both directions. The parent squad in Orlando will help endorse the D-League team and vice versa. By selecting the team name Magic, it makes it more transparent that the two teams are knitted together.
“We’re going to have regular features here at the Amway Center that promote our G-League franchise in Lakeland and similarly we’re going to be promoting the Magic games in Lakeland to our Lakeland Magic fans,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “Our intention is to truly cross-pollinate that and have people come back and forth between Lakeland and Orlando in both directions to see both teams.”
RP Funding is the Lakeland Magic’s inaugural founding partner and its president/CEO Robert Palmer can already feel the incredible support from his hometown. Born and raised in Polk County, Palmer thinks having the Magic brand will help Lakeland and nearby communities feel more connected.
“This being our hometown team, this is the team that Lakeland can really rally around,” Palmer said. “Lakeland’s population is growing like crazy, all of Polk County is. I think it’s a homerun for the city. I think it’s a homerun for the Magic brand. I’m just honored that we can be a part of it.”
Hosting the Magic makes Lakeland a more prominent sports town. The belief is that the D-League team will help spawn tremendous enthusiasm from everyone in the community.
“We want everybody in the community to get involved,” Palmer said. “We want this to be big. I felt like by us stepping out in such a big way first would help bring others behind. There’s a lot more to come. In my mind, this is just a first step.”
Palmer and his support is a launching pad for the success of the team. A powerful sponsorship is critical for the growth of the organization and the Magic are extremely grateful for their support.
“Robert’s support and the magnitude of this deal will be one of the biggest in the D-League overall,” Martins said. “That’s indicative of his commitment to Lakeland. That’s indicative of his commitment to this team. And that’s indicative of how this is really going to be a launching point for us.”