The Oneonta Octane is calling it quits.
Octane founder Cam Hayes told The Daily Star the team will not be returning for the 2020-2021 American Basketball Association season, citing a lack of community support.
“I’m not planning on having the Octane back again just due to lack of community support, not nearly as much to do with the coronavirus,” Hayes said in a message to The Daily Star. “Last year I made it completely free and had hardly any turnout and didn’t receive any business sponsors. So I did my last community service endeavor last season.”
Hayes said the Octane, which played its inaugural season during the 2018-2019 campaign, was plagued by low attendance throughout its two seasons. He said most games had 15 to 20 spectators, with the highest-attended game drawing about 125 people. Online views of the games averaged around 1,200, per Hayes.
Without the support of ticket sales or local sponsorships, the Octane struggled to pay their home-game court fees. In its two seasons, the Octane played games at Stamford High School, Hartwick College, SUNY Oneonta, the Oneonta Armory, the Oneonta Boys & Girls and several other local gymnasiums.
The Octane also faced challenges traveling to games.
“It was really just community leagues going out and playing each other,” Hayes said. “(The team would) have to drive probably four hours to play an opponent for a game that’s not guaranteed because some teams flake out last second.”
The Octane finished the season with a 6-11 record that included three forfeit losses and a win by forfeit. The team also tallied victories over the No. 23 Philly Raiders and the No. 5 Binghamton Bulldogs.
Hayes said he hopes to rebrand the Oneonta Octane name and get involved with the area AAU basketball scene.
“I don’t even necessarily want to have an AAU team, but I want to host AAU tournaments,” he said. “I think Oneonta is a prime location, especially with my basketball connections, to bring in teams from Binghamton, Syracuse, Buffalo because it’s a central place.”
He said he was aiming for the program to begin with high school-aged teams before branching out to other age groups.
“I think Oneonta has tremendous basketball potential and I wanna help be a catalyst to help bring community basketball events here,” Hayes said.
Blendos, the summer basketball league founded by Hayes, is on a hiatus because of COVID-19.
“I have shirts ready; I have referees ready; I would start tomorrow if I could,” Hayes said.