The La Crosse Showtime can’t wait to get back home — or just simply play again.
The American Basketball Association team had its last home game on Jan. 28 and won’t play a home game at the La Crosse Center again until March 4 when it entertains the Illinois Bulldogs at in a 3 p.m. tipoff.
La Crosse will play just two games in the more than a month between home games, and those games will come on the same weekend.
“It’s not something we like,” Showtime owner and coach Scott Pooler said of the extended time between games.
Both games will be in the Chicagoland area — Feb. 24 against the Libertyville Vipers, then against the Windy City Groove the next day.
In its inaugural season, the Showtime have put together an 8-8 mark behind the play of guard Steven McAfee Jr., former West Salem High School and Louisiana-Lafayette standout Michael Southall and former St. Charles (Minn.) High School and Saint Mary’s University player Will Swiggum. The team has had mixed results at the gate. According to Pooler, the average home attendance is “closer to the 1,000 mark” even though the original goal was to get 2,000 fans for each of the 10 home games.
“That’s partly on us,” Pooler said. “We did all this on short notice. We might not have gotten everything out of it that we wanted to.”
Pooler said he will focus on building the fan base when the season concludes, and admits one of his concerns is keeping the fans engaged when La Crosse is on the road.
“We don’t have a TV deal where fans can watch or radio,” Pooler said. “It does become a concern. We want to keep fans interested and keep focus on the team.”
There is work to be done, Pooler said, and he and his staff are ready to do it.
“We want to get out in the community over the summer,” Pooler said. “We’re working with YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and work with the non-profit groups. Once the offseason comes, we can focus on that and focus on putting more advertising dollars (into the team).”
“We did all this on short notice. We might not have gotten everything out of it that we wanted to.” Scott Pooler, La Crosse Showtime owner/coach