EDINBURG, Texas, February 26, 2015 – The NBA Development League Rio Grande Valley Vipers, along with the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and Cantu Construction today broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art arena located at Interstate 69-Central and Alberta Road in Edinburg. Bert Ogden Auto Group was also announced as the arena’s naming rights sponsor. With a capacity of 8,500 seats, Bert Ogden Arena will be the largest entertainment venue in South Texas and is slated to open in October 2016.
“Today is the biggest day in franchise history for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. We are excited to break ground and be the anchor tenants of Bert Ogden Arena,” RGV Vipers president Bert Garcia said. “A few miles away, we are wrapping up construction on a state-of-the-art practice facility and community center. Not only does Edinburg serve as the county seat, but now, it is also becoming the sports and entertainment hub of the Rio Grande Valley.”
“The arena will offer luxury, quality, and exceptional service – all traits synonymous with the Bert Ogden brand. We are also proud to have a local business organization lit up on the arena’s marquee as our naming rights partner. The RGV Vipers have always focused on supporting the community that supports us. Partnering with Bert Ogden Auto Group is just one more way to keep our business local,” Bert Garcia said.
The RGV Vipers will serve as the anchor tenant of Bert Ogden Arena and will tip off the team’s 10th season in the facility in the fall of 2016. In addition to being the home of the RGV Vipers, Bert Ogden Arena will host a variety of musical and entertainment acts year round.
Bert Ogden Arena will bring fans closer to the game action. Because the arena is designed specifically around the basketball court, fans will enjoy a more intimate sports setting. Bert Ogden Arena will also display a jumbotron that measures 40-by-20 feet, the largest in the NBA Development League.
Amenities inside Bert Ogden Arena will include a full-service restaurant, executive lounges and suites, along with a variety of concessions options. Additionally, the arena is positioned next to one million square feet of property for an outdoor shopping mall and restaurants.
Bert Ogden Arena will be funded by Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) sales taxes. The arena is estimated to cost $68 million, with $30 million from bonds using TIRZ and EEDC taxes and $38 million funded by a private developer. The arena will be owned by the City of Edinburg and operated by the RGV Vipers.
“The arena from day one brings 30 million in private dollars into our community. A recent study conducted at the University of Texas-Pan American identified $95 million in direct economic impact in the first year and $45 million every year after, while creating over 150 jobs for the area,” said EEDC executive director Gus Garcia. “The $30+ million investment and the Vipers, who are now a mainstay in the region secures the economic viability of the arena. As we all know, the Valley has over 1.3 million people, and concerts are a regular occurrence. Quality of life venues are now big business in the region. A $30 million master planned private investment, a marquee tenant in the NBA D-League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers and a healthy concert market were important factors in developing the project locally.”
Gus Garcia continued, “However the work is just beginning. All the parties are promoting the development. With the right planning, we should see additional private investment, in shops, restaurants and hotels. Those investments bring revenue and jobs to the City. We are already fielding calls from several national names, and hope to make announcements in the coming future.”
The City of Edinburg is home to 84,000 residents, while over 1.3 million people call the four counties that make up the Rio Grande Valley home. Edinburg is the third largest city in the RGV and serves as the county seat for Hidalgo County.
“This joint venture is a tremendous opportunity for the City of Edinburg to improve the quality of life for residents without having to pay a single penny up front or take any away from other projects. This is definitely a triumph for our residents. We are very excited about this project,” Edinburg Mayor Richard H. Garcia said.
The RGV Vipers are in their eighth season in the RGV and currently play at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. The team will fulfill its current contract with State Farm Arena before moving to Bert Ogden Arena in the fall of 2016.
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers were established by RGV Basketball, LLC in 2007. The Vipers were originally affiliated with three teams during the first two seasons- the Houston Rockets, New Orleans Hornets and Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2009, the Houston Rockets basketball operations staff and Vipers owners pioneered the idea of single-affiliation, a concept that has since been adopted by 17 NBA organizations. The Vipers basketball operations area is managed by the Houston Rockets, while all business initiatives are managed locally by the team’s owners. The Vipers are coached by Nevada Smith.
The Vipers are one of the most successful franchises in the NBA Development League, boasting two Division Championships (2010 and 2013) and two NBA Development League Championships (2010 and 2013). RGV has also produced one Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year, current Houston Rockets assistant Chris Finch (2010), and two Most Valuable Players, Andrew Goudelock (2013) and Mike Harris (2010). Along with numerous awards, the Vipers hold the longest winning-streak in NBA Development League history with 19 regular-season games from March 16-Dec. 1, 2013, 25 straight games including the 2013 Championship run. Additionally, 31 Vipers players have received GATORADE Call-Ups and four former staff members are now part of NBA coaching staffs.
About the RGV Vipers and NBA Development League
The two-time champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers are the NBA Development League affiliate of the NBA Houston Rockets. The Vipers won the NBA Development League Championship in 2010 and 2013. In 2013, the Vipers were also named the NBA Development League Development Champions, which recognizes the team that best embodies the NBA D-League’s goals of developing NBA-caliber basketball talent via call-ups and assignments. The NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, preparing players, coaches, officials, trainers, and front-office staff for the NBA while acting as the league’s research and development laboratory. Featuring 18 teams with direct affiliations with NBA franchise for the 2014-15 season, the league offers elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. One-third of all NBA players at the end of the 2013-14 season boasted NBA D-League experience. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. Fans can watch all NBA D-League games on nbadleague.com.