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KW Titans need more fans to break even

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Despite being at the top of the Basketball Super League (BSL) standings, the KW Titans are struggling to make ends meet.

"Our revenues are up. We're still not in a position of positive cash flow," owner of the KW Titans David Schooley said.

The team has a 20-7 record. They’re poised to have a successful postseason, but financially they’re coming up short.

"It's the first time in franchise history that we've been in first place," Schooley said.

Schooley said their fan base is up about 60 per cent since last year.

Attendance has improved, according to statistics from the National Basketball League of Canada. Last season the Titans averaged between 833 to 897 fans per home game in that league. Attendance jumped to over 1,000 fans per home game this season in the BSL.

"We're still a bit short of fans in order to get us into a positive cash flow position," Schooley said.

Schooley wouldn’t share the exact shortfall, but said the team is operating on a very tight budget and needs about 400 additional fans per game to break even.

"It's a battle," he said.

Working out average home game attendance amongst the six teams in the league is a bit tricky. Sometimes teams don’t report their attendance, so multiple teams have games listed with zero attendance. But no matter the calculation, the Titans are in the bottom half of that statistic.

Counting games including zero attendance the Titans rank fourth in the league with an average of 1,088 fans per home game. When not counting zero attendance games, KW drops to fifth, with an average 1,166 fans a game.

"When we look at our weekday games compared to our weekend games, it's more of a struggle to get people out on the weekdays," Schooley said. "Weekend games are really the key to success here.”

Schooley said the team is trying to work with the Aud on scheduling, while also exploring more sponsorship options. Adding unlike other sports, the Titans offer in house entertainment beyond the game.

"The fan experience, that's what we're trying to. When you come out to a game, we're going to entertain you for the full two and a half hours that you're here," Schooley said. "We have something going on at any given time. It could be pickleball, it could be an U14 basketball team playing, it could be cheerleaders - it could be any number of different things.”

When fans do show up at the Aud, Titans Head Coach and Assistant GM Cliff Clinkscales said it makes a big difference.

“The support is great when it's in here. They're loud, this place is rocking," Clinkscales said.

Clinkscales thinks with continued success and a presence in the community more fans will come.

"Getting our name out there, getting our brand out there and winning games, I think that will come," Clinkscales said.

Schooley said any profits the team makes will be used for supporting youth sports in the community.

Ultimately, Schooley said he wants the team to eventually be publicly owned, like the Kitchener Rangers

"We're certainly not looking to sell the team. Not at this point. We want to turn it over to the community as soon as possible," Schooley said.

City of Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said the Titans are a valued partner of the city that brings professional level sports to a basketball loving community.

“We appreciate the role the team plays not only in terms of the game itself, but the active role that David and Kate Schooley, as owners and team members themselves, play in a variety of ways with numerous not-for-profit organizations throughout Kitchener and the broader region,” Vrbanovic said in an email.

ANOTHER HWY. 401 MATCHUP

While the Kitchener Rangers look to get a win against their Hwy. 401 rival London Knights at The Aud on Thursday, the Titans were looking to get a win against the London Lightning at The Aud on Wednesday.

Kitchener trailed the entire game and were down to London by 14 points at the half.

The Titans caught up at the end, and trailed the Lightning by just three points, but were unable to get the win. The final score was 111-108 for London.

After tonight, the Titans have four home games left in the season. Schooley expects the Titans will be in first place for the playoffs and have home court advantage to start. He said postseason tickets should be available to purchase in the coming weeks.

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