The Iowa Energy of old have changed names to match their NBA affiliate, and they will now be known as the Iowa Wolves. After the NBA franchise announced in January that it would be purchasing the then D-League affiliate (now known as the G-League), Des Moines now will be the place for Minnesota to develop young talent. Luckily for those in DSM, you’ll be able to follow the Timberwolves even closer than ever before.
The Iowa Wolves will pick up right where the Energy left off, engaging the fan population in Des Moines as much as possible. The Iowa Energy boasted one of the single highest attendance totals for a D-League game in 2007 with 8,842 people. Though this is nothing like rebranding an NBA franchise, it will still take some time for Iowans to adapt to the new name. However, it may not take as long as in other places.
The Iowa Energy is not the first Des Moines franchise to have a branding makeover. In fact, the only Des Moines teams to never have changed names throughout their existence are the Des Moines Buccaneers (hockey) and the Des Moines Menace (soccer)! Even Des Moines’s biggest lower-professional team, the Iowa Cubs (AAA), used to be the Oaks. Granted that was in 1981, before the Bucs or Menace was even created, but the point has been made nonetheless.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have taken on many changes over the last several years – many personnel decisions – but alterations to the Wolves as a franchise, and as a brand. With his second year in Minnesota approaching, head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau is ready for his team to take the next step in the Western Conference. By rebranding their development team, management believes that it will assist the franchise in creating a bigger fan-base than just within the state. Thibodeau believes that synergy is going to be a key for them in the future, so this would be a great start to that trend.
So, what is really changing about basketball being played in the Wells Fargo Arena next year? Well, to start, they are now the Iowa Wolves, and they play in the G-League. Will be playing the same teams, in the same space, on the same nights, but with different colors, and inevitably, players. What could be the difference in years from now with this team compared to its predecessors? Well, firstly, I believe the branding of this will rival that of the Iowa Cubs to a degree. Secondly, this team could be heavily followed with the progression of the Timberwolves in Minnesota going as it is. While the big-boys try to improve in Minneapolis, Des Moines will play host for the development team in the meantime.
Finally, the reason why this team will succeed in Des Moines is because the city is looking to establish its own identity as well. With the two working in-sync together, there are endless possibilities for this team.
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