My biggest problem isn’t what happens prior to the game, it’s everything that’s said to happen afterwards. The NBA and all of the proclivities that the league has with regard to its product and how its marketed. No don’t get me wrong, David Stern and the NBA hierarchy has a right to do with as it pleases, with anything within its parameters, concerning the game of professional basketball. This is is now a multi-billion dollar business enterprise ,with revenues across international borders. But herein lies the rub, with diminishing attendances at the games and the mere fact that with several of its franchises in severe financial problems. It begs the question what does the NBA aspire to be ?
$1,000,000,000 – One billion dollars cash. Could this really be what it looks like ? Staggering to think that many of us are not liable to see an amount such as this, up close and personal. That’s unless you happen to be a close personal relative of either Warren Buffet or Bill Gates ?
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up strong to the boards for the dunk over the Miami Heat’s Jermaine O’Neal.The Cavaliers would go on to defeat Miami 111-104 in a game played at the American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida. picture appears courtesy of nbae/getty images/ Isaac Baldizon ……
For all of the inherent problems that the NBA has, much of it being of its very own creation. I now see the NBA falling back into its same old ways and the needless wish to just continue to market its stars, rather than marketing its teams to the public.
Courtesy of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune
By John Reid, The Times Picayune
Despite a sluggish economy still causing concerns for many businesses, NBA Commissioner David Stern said his league is weathering the storm with only a slight decrease in season-ticket renewals from last season.
In his annual tip-off teleconference, Stern said renewals are down by less than three percent from last season’s 79 percent rate. He said a majority of teams have kept ticket prices the same or decreased them slightly.
The Hornets have not released their renewal rate or season-ticket total, but owner George Shinn said at last month’s media day their sponsorship sales are better from a year ago and their ticket sales are running about the same rate as last season when they totaled more than 10,000 season-ticket holders.
“Well, our sport is not in recession compared to the economy, but we’ve been working intensely with our teams, ” Stern said. “We’ve been working with them and their pre-sale of game tickets and their group (sales). We also have been working with them on sponsorships, and we’re seeing signs of renewed movement.
“We know that we’ll be challenged by the economy, as all businesses and sports are, and that our revenues may slightly decrease because many of our teams are reaching out to their communities and moderating their ticket prices. So although we expect a season of robust attendance, probably easily within our top five, our fans will be treated to competition that is really unique. We think, like everybody else, we’re going to have to fight our way through the season with respect to the economy.”
To meet their financial bottom line, Stern said their biggest task is making sure ratings continue to be steady. The league announced that 45 million homes subscribe to its NBA TV network on cable. In addition, Stern said the league is targeting its digital media to attract more fans.
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While I’m no David Stern apologist,with him holding the game’s highest official post,as its commissioner. I think from the outset he’s proven to be a marketing genius ! Even if his rule has become autocratic and almost resembling that of a third world despot dictator. But that’s what the game needs but essentially Stern tends to go overboard in nature. I think if anything he’s become too enamored when he’s front of the camera . Every sound byte uttered, has to be one where he’s heard loud and clear. Were he not older than that pompous ass known as, Donald Trump. I’d swear that they’re kindred spirits. I doubt however, that they’re liable to meet and greet in the same social circle. But I may well be wrong. There are several things most definitely that the two have in common. One of which, is that there’s no camera in a room that they won’t make sure that they make every effort to be caught in-front of. And the other thing, is that, they’re both vastly overpaid for the jobs that they currently do. Trump , even more so, considering the financial state of several parts of his business empire. But then again, he’d have you believe different.
Money and power corrupts ! Absolute power and money makes you … So what ought we to make of NBA commissioner, David Stern ? Is he the most powerful man in all of sports ?
Ask an NBA fan what they’d do with one billion dollars ? That’s the number one, with nine zeros for the uninitiated. And I’d dare say you’d be greeted with a wide variety of answers to that pertinent question. Ask David Stern what he and the NBA would do with a billion dollars ? And he’d no doubt reply that the money would be used to safeguard the franchises within professional basketball. Well, considering that over the last decade the NBA has been the recipient of $1,000,000,000 , at the behest of Stern,through the willingness of the banks on Wall St and beyond to loan the league money. I guess that several amongst you would be surprised by this revelation ? Or perhaps not ? I mean what other sports other than basketball, football, stock car racing can their governing bodies be afforded such largesse at the taxpayers' expense ? Meanwhile they can still facilitate their business operations while still opting for financing from the commercial and investment banking system ? Isn't life grand for the hierarchies of the NFL,MLB, NASCAR and the NBA ? And isn’t it somewhat asinine to hear people en masse complain about the very fact that they’re afraid their taxes will be raised that the government shouldn’t be interjecting itself in the business practices of companies ? What they seem to forget that many of the problems faced by those companies were self inflicted. And for the NBA it is no different !
Well David Stern and his members would have you believe that many of the league’s problems stem from the very acute economic climate. Truth to be told, the hierarchy wasn’t about to change its business template of spending extravagantly. Instead of stemming the tide of outlandish behavior in terms of their spending.
They just proceeded ahead, as if , all was well. Now we know that in excess of 40 % of the league’s franchises are experiencing some sort of financial difficulty of some sort. And that would include such franchises as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets , New Orleans Hornets and the Charlotte Bobcats, to name but of the few franchises in question.
Orlando Magic owner, Rich DeVos, seen here shaking hands with the
team’s All Star center, Dwight Howard. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/ R. B. Hapgoode …….
This last fiscal year , saw the league financed through a bank loan, to the tune of $250 million , to be shared amongst 14 NBA franchises. And with these being private business entities. Their books aren’t opened or called upon to be opened for public or financial scrutiny. But yet as is more often than not, many of these very same franchises look to the local communities by way of the local, county and state levels to make sure that they’re well taken care of. Much of this comes about with the so called discretionary broadening of the tax base. Wherein, taxes and service charges are raised in order to facilitate the building of new venues for the benefit of the owners of the various franchises. Meanwhile , much needed services within a community are either overlooked or placed on the backburner for a later date.
City of Orlando Mayor,Buddy Dyer, looks out from his office unto the horizon of the downtown Orlando area. Dyer was one of the main facilitators in getting a new arena built for the NBA franchise, the Orlando Magic. picture appears courtesy of orlandosentinel/ Jason Arnot ………
If you doubt my word, then consider the situation of the Orlando Magic and that of city of Orlando, itself , the county government of Orange County,Florida. And that of the very Sate of Florida , the backdoor maneuvering that took place, primarily at the behest of the city of Orlando Mayor, Buddy Dyer. And that of those, up in the higher echelons of the county and state governments. Their sole purpose has been the building of state of the art facility for the NBA franchise. While at the same time using the pretext that this will bring about much needed revenue at all levels and the creation of jobs within the city and the community at large.
Granted , the infrastructure of the downtown Orlando is due for much needed development. But one hardly thinks that an NBA venue is of the highest order for a county whose unemployment rate is in line with the national average. And where at the same time budget shortfalls, has meant the cutting or derailing of much needed services and the furlough of government employees- as well as seeing services within education , and community safety (police and fire department) being cut with certain employees being relieved of their positions. Somehow, one doesn’t equate as a benefit to the community. When at the same time you’re enabling the building of a sporting arena , that many of the residents will hardly be able to afford the price of admission for a Magic game . Much less any other event that’s liable to take place there.
And while the Orlando Magic (6-3) seeks to place itself amongst the elite of the NBA and in particular within the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. Is it me , or is it my imagination ? But isn’t this the franchise owned by one of the richest men in the state and by last count the 91st wealthiest individual in the United States ? That indelible mark belongs to none other than Magic owner , Rich DeVos , co-founder of Amway Global Inc. DeVos, a multi-billionaire (estimated worth $3.4 billion) and benefactor to the central Florida area , has gone out of his way to make sure that political favors were called in – in order to facilitate the quick vote insuring that an arena would be built to house his basketball franchise. That being said, how can one explain this to the working man who struggles to make ends meet by keeping his family fed and a roof over their heads ? Especially, in light of what is allegedly going on between the franchise’s owner and that of the Mayor of Orlando. It creates the scenario, that as long as you have the money and the contacts, anything can be done for the right price.
A billion dollars to you or I , could go a long way in alleviating a community’s problems. In the NBA , it’s just mere pocket change when measured against their ceaseless revenues from various endless entrepreneurial schemes that they’re in command of- in conjunction with various partners across the globe. Somehow, when I listen to David Stern speak about the game and all of the pleasure he believes it brings to the fans of the NBA. Why do I get the impression that while he’s giving the speech, he’s also laughing all the way to the bank ?