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Archive for the ‘Team Transactions’ Category

David Beckham to buy an MLS franchise

Posted by ZA on March 10, 2009

Saying that he is “passionate” about developing soccer in America; David Beckham announced that he plans to buy an Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise when he retires from playing.  This announcement comes after months of wrangling between Beckham and his MLS team, the Los Angeles Galaxy, about whether he would play a whole season for the Galaxy in 2009.  Apparently Beckham enjoyed his European football renaissance with Real Madrid so much that he wasn’t ready to return to his team in America.

Becks currently flip-flopping aside, it would be a huge plus for MLS to get such a high profile athlete supporting their league.  Even in retirement Beckham is sure to garner a lot of attention (think Mark Cuban, but only 1,000x more) from the media.  That media attention is always key for a burgeoning league like the MLS.  If the MLS is getting featured in People, USA Today and celebrity tabloids next to Beckham, then it should only raise the league’s profile in the United States.

SportBusiness reports that the most likely home of the franchise would be Las Vegas or San Diego.  If I were MLS soccer I would approach Steve Wynn or the Maloff brothers about co-owning a Vegas soccer team with Beckham.  The Maloffs own the NBA’s Sacramento Kings and the coolest hotel in Sin City (the Palm), so the relationship could be a perfect fit.  It could be a pairing (Beckham + Maloffs + Vegas) that could bring a lot of glitz and glitter to the MLS.  Maybe Wayne Newton would agree to be their Public Address announcer.

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King Kong takes job 5th Avenue in NYC

Posted by ZA on May 4, 2008

David Stern, are you listening?
Do you hear the City of Seattle telling the World their feelings towards you?

The fallout in Seattle about Clay Bennett’s plan to move the Supersonics to Oklahoma City continues.  This month’s issue of Sports Northwest magazine has a cover illustration that is a parody of NBA Commissioner David Stern as King Kong swatting away the Supersonics.

Sports NW Magazine
David Stern as King Kong on Sports NW Magazine (image courtesy NW Sports Mag)

David Stern has been dragged into the Supersonics fiasco because of his poor handling of the situation.  Stern was involved in getting Bennett’s ownership group approved, but has fumbled things since it became obvious that Bennett’s group has always planned to move the Sonics to OKC.

Because of his mismanagement, Stern has been persona non grata in Seattle.  Rightfully so, I say.  The Commissioner of the NBA has a responsibility to the league and ownership, but he also has one to the fans, the game and the history of the game.  Stern is allowing 40 years of NBA history to be ripped right out of the league he is responsible to promote.  The Supersonics are part of the fabric of the league and should not be leaving their home in Seattle.  The Sonics history won’t go with them to Oklahoma City, because that history was made in Seattle; by the people in Seattle.

So although the jerseys in Oklahoma City might say Supersonics, it won’t be the same team that was born, raised and nurtured in the Pacific Northwest.  The Oklahoma City squad will be a new team, placed there by a group of conniving businessman who (obviously) duped Commissioner Stern.  The real history of the Sonics will die the day they leave Seattle, and Commission Stern is allowing that to happen.

Posted in NBA, Team Transactions | 2 Comments »

Loyalty rare within professional sports

Posted by ZA on April 28, 2008

I was browsing through some NBA rosters today and was astonished by what I discovered. There were numerous players who had changed teams, and I had no clue they had moved. If I asked you about the players listed below, can you tell me what team they play for right now? I bet no one, this side of Marv Albert, can get the exact whereabouts correct for all of these players.

Antoine Walker
Darrell Armstrong
Juan Dixon
Tony Battie
Jake Voskuhl
Tyronn Lue
Loren Woods
Bobby Jackson
Bassy Telfair
Dan Dickau
Morris Peterson
Brian Skinner
Gordan Giricek
Eric Piatkowski
Lorenzen Wright
Shelden Williams

Before you say that it is natural for lesser players, or past their prime players, to move from team-to-team, consider these megastars in the NBA have also changed squads recently. And that is after some of these superstars have already changed uniforms numerous times before.

Shaquille O’Neal (Magic, Lakers, Heat & Suns)
Jason Kidd (Mavs, Nets & Mavs)
Paul Gasol (Grizzlies & Lakers)
Kevin Garnett (Twolves & Celtics)
Ray Allen (Supersonics & Celtics)

So how does a sports fan keep up with all of the changes going on? I consider myself a knowledgeable basketball fan, both college & NBA, and I still can’t keep up with the moves. Sure, everyone hears about the big personnel moves. But there are dozens of little moves being made every week that fly under the radar. And the rosters of teams in all professional sports leagues turnover many times throughout the year.

So is it a good thing that sports team rosters turnover so quickly? While I think it does help to experiment with the chemistry and try to find effective combinations. I feel alienated by a sport where the players are “here today and gone tomorrow”. It is easier to form an emotional attachment to college athletes, even knowing they are going to graduate (or leave) within a few years, than to try to embrace professional athletes as “yours”. Because in professional sports there is little loyalty to the team OR to the players. As a consequence, sports rosters shift faster than the sand in the desert. And we, as fans, just have to keep up.

So what causes the lack of loyalty in professional sports?  Professional sports are big money.  And as the saying goes “money is the root of all evil”.  Well maybe it’s not quite “evil” in professional sports (unless you’re talking about new Sonics owner Clay Bennett), but it does dictate the behavior.  Owners want to field winning teams and make money. General Managers and Coaches jobs depend on them winning.  And players entire livelihoods are decided by how they perform on the field.  So teams are going to show loyalty to players who help them win and players are going to play for teams that show them the money.  Money is often a bigger influence than winning…and the reason that loyalty goes out the window in professional sports.

Answers for the top section. These are the teams for each of those players listed.

Antoine Walker (Twolves)
Darrell Armstrong (Nets)
Juan Dixon (Pistons)
Tony Battie (Magic)
Jake Voskuhl (Bucks)
Tyronn Lue (Mavs)
Loren Woods (Rockets)
Bobby Jackson (Rockets)
Bassy Telfair (Twolves)
Dan Dickau (Clippers)
Morris Peterson (Hornets)
Brian Skinner (Suns)
Gordan Giricek (Suns)
Eric Piatkowski (Suns)
Lorenzen Wright (Kings)
Shelden Williams (Kings)

Posted in NBA, Sports Marketing, Team Transactions | 2 Comments »

New sheriff in town for the Miami Dolphins

Posted by ZA on February 27, 2008

Just when it seemed like the tumultuous offseason for the Miami Dolphins had finally come to a close…another bombshell.  And this big news will certainly have the longest term affect on the storied franchise.  Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga agrees to sell a 50% stake in the team to New York real estate guru Stephen Ross.

The deal had Ross paying a half a billion dollars to obtain an equal ownership stake, with Huizenga, in the Fins.  Ross also gains an equal share in Dolphins Stadium and are around Dolphins Stadium that can be used for development.  Ross is a sports fanatic, who has made huge donations to his alma mater, Michigan University.  Ross has pledged over $100 Million to the Wolverines, and the business school at UM is named after him.  Ross also tried to buy a minority stake in the Dolphins in the early 90’s, but was defeated in his bid by current Dolphins owner Huizenga.

What will the new ownership mean to the Dolphins?  Probably not much over the next few years.  Huizenga already brought in Bill Parcells over this offseason to control all of the football operations.  Parcells will control the direction of the team over the next 2-3 (of his 4 year contract) before retiring to leave the rebuilding to someone new.  And Huizenga will be the face of the Miami football team to the NFL and other 31 owners.  But the move definitely signals a changing of the guard, and I expect Huizenga to ‘exit stage left’ in 2 years and turn over total control of the team to Ross.

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