Why Stern is basketball's "dope".

Discussion in 'Pistons and Basketball Articles' started by G-man, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    [floatl]http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/3735/stern01290612pv.jpg[/floatl]Forbes recently ran their annual team franchise values. They note that franchise values have jumped up 9% in the last year. Consider this - the average NBA team is now worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $326 million smackers.

    Which begs the question, just what in the world is an average team?


    I went looking for one. I checked everywhere, I went west and I came back east. Finally I settled on Milwaukee. They’re playing .577 ball as I peck away at this, they’re 15-11 and they’re right smack in the middle of our central division in the 3 spot. Doesn’t get any more average than that, (plus it IS Milwaukee).

    So the next step was to look at their payroll, make sure it’s average too.
    Sure enough they're average. They're number 15 in salary (out of 30) and are paying out just a tiny bit more than $60M, which keeps them just a cat whisker under the hard cap.

    18 teams are under the hard cap with Detroit two slots below the Bucks holding down the #17 spot. The Bucks have one guy making 12M a year in Michael Redd and the next nearest is Jamaal Magloire at 8.3M.

    They play at the Bradley Center which opened in 1988 and holds 18,600 cheesehead fans. They sit 17,513 per game which ranks them 12th. They’ve been in the league since 1968. They’ve appeared in the playoffs 24 times and won 1 title in 37 years, that was back in 70/71 when Kareem was still on their roster with Oscar Robertson and Dick Cunningham.

    How in blazes are they worth $326 million? I mean I get it with the Pistons, they’re a real basketball team, but the Bucks? C’mon.

    Are the players of today that much more fundamentally sound than yesteryears? Has Earths magnetic field flipped? Are we tapping that mega-Chinese brotherhood of b-ball fanaticism?

    Nope, it’s all about “Stern Measures”. He measured the league 20 years ago and recognized there was massive room for growth. Two decades ago the average NBA franchise was valued at $15 million. Consider that exactly two decades ago (85/86) an entire teams salary cap was $4.23 million and as recently as ten years ago (95/96) it was $23 million.

    Today it’s $61 million.

    How that happened has little to do with the games fundamentals and whole lot more to do with the "game-masters" fundamentals.

    Gotta give the props to David Stern, and the crowd goes wild, boo-hiss :P

    [floatr]http://img24.imageshack.us/img24/1130/stern01290622ea.jpg[/floatr]No - it’s true. The bi-focaled, blow-dried one should be getting Christmas cards from every player in today’s NBA.

    His marketing of the "product" is so far over the top it’s hard to get your keyboard around it.

    He took what was $10 million in NBA licensed product and grew it in excess of $3 BILLION.

    He wagged his finger at league revenues of $118 million when he arrived in 1984, growing them to almost $800 million. If life was discovered on Mars tomorrow, Stern would be signing NBA broadcast rights with them by next year’s tip-off.

    Suffice it to say you don’t want this guy "noodling" around in your house while you’re away. He’d have sold off all the rights to your (ahem) wedding night videos before you get back from dinner.

    But what horse did this cat ride? Who really wore the saddle?

    It was Michael Jordan. Stern saddled that horse with the league and ran full tilt toward the horizon. You can throw in Magic and the "goofy one" – Bird, but Jordan was the engine.

    Of course you can’t create the good guy, the league ICON, without providing the bad guys or should I say the "bad boys" (you have to some "ying" with your "yang"). Here comes Zeke, Lamb, Mahorn and Rodman. Ready, willing and able to act as foils, even if they didn’t know at the time they were living in Sterns Hollywood set.

    Stern polished, homogenized, shrink wrapped, crated and shipped the goods with the astute eye of a camel trader at the last oasis. He took those colluding owners (my un-official personal opinion) by their collective necks and said "hang on we’re going for a ride". He took teams that were worth 15 million and grew their net worth 20 times over.

    He has people calling the play-by-play in 40 different tongues. He has my DTV package being beamed into over 200 different countries, first they watch Gilligan then they watch Shaq. Or maybe it’s Shaq then Gilligan. Either way the message is the same, the NBA being delivered has his finger prints all over it.

    [floatl]http://img36.imageshack.us/img36/8566/sheed01290612fw.jpg[/floatl]That’s why he should leave Sheed alone. That’s all I’m saying. Dave, you don’t need Sheeds money. Those Malaysian guys are sending you bricks of bundled cash.

    Leave the Sheed.

    Stop "teeing" up my main man. You got your other dope to draw the green from, let my people go! Oops, I digress!

    So, let’s put our hands together for "the man". The guy that made tickets so expensive I’m selling my blood for plasma so I can buy a dog and a beer at the game. The guy that made today’s Milwaukee Bucks franchise worth $326 million.

    No wonder the owners all got behind the dress code. Respect the biz. Cause he’s the dope, the dopemaster, the dopiest of them all... And I like good dope.

    Your comments?
  2. MotownPride

    MotownPride Starter 2x Fantasy Champion

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    Great read G-Man.

    Commissioner Stern, despite his acknowledgement in Forbes, probably still does not get enough credit for how remarkable of a job he has done bringing the NBA to prominence. Time has shown that a league will not thrive simply by existence (ex:NHL, Baseball).

    The NBA is unquestionably the leading sports franchise in the world, second in popularity only to soccer. I have always been amazed with the fact that despite the poplularity and marketing appeal of basketball, Commissioner Stern's NBA has not seen any direct competiton since the ABA went defunct. I think that Commissioner Stern's strangle hold on the world's top basketball talent has contributed greatly to his success. No proffesional sports commission does a better job at marketing its premier athletes than the folks who run the NBA. Funny how the quality of the basketball was taking a downward trend while the revenues continued to increase at an astonishing rate. Now, that's one helluva marketing job!
  3. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    The guy that really "got it" and tried to get some of "it" was Zeke.

    His whole grand plan in buying the CBA was about taking some of that dope off the table. He knew that the NBA's only competition had to come from within itself. He knew that to beat it, he had to take it from those that own it. He knew that Stern and the owners were most vulnerable when the next CBA contract would run out.

    He bought the Continental Basketaball Association and all of it's infrastructure which included arenas, parking, food & beverage sales, local media rights and a fan base. He planned on using that league as leverage to pry some of the NBA from the NBA. He was also negotitaing to buy and merge another b-ball league that had some Canadian teams.
    He was planning so far down the road, no one else could see the horizon. No one except Stern.

    Zeke was prepping the market. He wanted a league that NBA ballers could use to strike the NBA. He thought the players would walk away during the next CBA negotiating round, would join his league and break the NBA ownership stranglehold. He knew the players are victims of their own success. They have unreal personal expenses and can't wholly walk away from those big checks for a sustained time. That is unless they had a viable alternative, a viable league to use as leverage. A league to break a league.

    Had that happened, he and the players could have leveraged those 30 owners cause the ballers had another place to take their games. Another competing league. Which, had it happened, would mean that Zeke by himself would'a suddenly owned the majority of all the teams in it....

    But in the end, Zeke couldn't keep his minority owners (the ones he was buying out) in lock step long enough to gather the green and pay them off (10M). He was playing chicken with a freight train and they didn't have the nads to hang together.

    When the writing was on the wall, Zeke tried to sell the league to the Players Union. Had they bought it, they would've owned their own competitive league, their own ABA. They would control their own leverage. In the middle of negotiating with the Union, Stern announced that the NBA was considering starting it's own developmental league. He fired a broadside right across the bow of Zekes floundering little ship.

    It totally unnerved the guys under contract to Zeke and his house came tumbling down around him. The media pounced on the whole thing but their story had no back-story. It was shallow and full of Zeke bashing, they simply dredged up his Toronto exit, mixed in some sound bites from the scattering Continetal League owners and re-wrote the whole thing as another "sneaky Zeke" story.

    But Stern got it. The 30 owners got it. They immediately started the NBA owned NBDL (National Basketball Development League) to strip anyone of the capability to ever take their expensive toys, their cash-registers away from them...
  4. Abe Froemen

    Abe Froemen First Round Draft Pick

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    Gman way to put the whole pic in place. Stern wanted everyone to love the nba and wanted nobody to step in its way. Stern is more of a basketball dictator than commish in my book.
    I am surprised that he has not told NBA owners to pursue a NBAEuro deal kinda like the NFL has done. With all that moola the teams have made they should easily be able to buy the majority in the euro leagues and in essence have 2 dleagues. Oh well great articles keep them coming.
  5. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Stern is already working on a European plan. I read an article on it during the offseason. You'll see exhibitions played there more and more over time. He's trying to warm that market up to "star power", a market that is traditionally based around cheering for the local squad (even if they are terrible).

    The one barrier he will face that he might not exist on other continents, is that (based on my personal experiences) Europeans resent being told that the American product is superior to their own. Some countries hold strong anti-american sentiments. Not "attack the americans" but rather, "we'll watch our b-leaguers over Americans anyday".

    If anyone can break it down, it will be D. Stern. He's a lawyer by trade, a salesman by occupation and ruthless diplomat by necessity.
  6. TheeTFD

    TheeTFD All-Star

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    G/man, thanks for answering a question I asked 2 months ago in a Zeke thread. I never found a good story. Yours makes sence. Zeke is sneaky! But as I understand it Zeke just wanted in as a GM or coach at first. But no one would give him a chance.
    ...What is the value of the Con.BA. now?
    ...Note inflation over 20 years is about 50% easy. So what was $10mil. would be $50mil. with no Stern math. Our economy is out of control!!

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