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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Simmons’

Why the NFL Owners & NFLPA are fighting?

Posted by ZA on March 16, 2011

As a sports fan, I’m not happy that the NFL owners and NFL Players Association were unable to resolve their differences through mediation or otherwise.  I want them to play football in 2011.  As a taxpayer, its a shame that our courts are going to have to spend time to settle the dispute between the Millionaires and Billionaires.  Nothing we can do about that now, aside from hoping the two sides come to their senses (not likely) and we get this situation resolved quickly.

If you are wondering about what led to this situation, there are lots of good articles floating around.  Here is a good one by Kristi Dosh on why the NFL players walked away from the negotiations.  One of my favorites on the current NFL labor situations is the parody The Sports Guy (aka: Bill Simmons) wrote on ESPN’s Page 2.  Simmons column titled “Greed is good in NFL labor talks” is tongue in cheek, but does help to show the real issue at play here.  NFL owners are concerned their profits will not be growing at the pace they’ve become accustomed to, so they are looking to renegotiate their deal with the NFL players.  Take a few minutes and read both, you’ll appreciate that you did.

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ESPN’s “30 for 30” is worth watching

Posted by ZA on October 8, 2009

I don’t usually promote on behalf of the Worldwide Leader (mostly because they don’t need me to) but I think their new “30 for 30” series is worth watching.  And not just because Bill Simmons (aka: the Sports Guy) was responsible for getting the series made.  ESPN  launched this new series of sports stories that detail important sports moments over the past 30 years.   The concept was to select a subject that was well known, but then tell the unknown story behind that topic.  Each of the documentaries will be directed by feature films director.

I watched the first one this week called King’s Ransom which was directed by Peter Berg.  Kings Ransom was the story of the trade that sent Wayne Gretzky from Edmonton to Los Angeles.  Director Peter Berg really got into the behind the scenes dealings and emotions that helped to pull off the deal.  He also focused on the pain, anger, anguish that Edmonton fans felt after their star player was traded.  He exposed the role that Gretzky played in making the deal happen.  He even wrapped it up neatly in the end with most agreeing it was a trade that had to be made.  Even thought the deal hurt the Edmonton Oilers and their faithful, it was still a trade that had to happen.

The ratings on this first installment were not stellar, but I think it’s a series that is worth watching.  As sports fans we often only hear the big stories in the media.  This program, modeled after HBO Real Sports, tells the less known story.  That’s personally something that I love.  Here are a few of the future episodes that I’m looking forward to watching:

* Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL – airs October 20th
* Muhammad and Larry – Oct 27
* The Legend of Jimmy the Greek – Nov 10
* No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson – 2010
* Jordan Rides the Bus – 2010
* June 17, 1994 (story of OJ Simpson’s run from police in white Bronco) – 2010
* Steve Bartman: Catching Hell – 2010
* One Night in Vegas – 2010
* The Best That Never Was – 2010
Complete list here at ESPN’s 30 for 30 website.

My only complaint about the series is that they are going to make me wait 9 months to see all of these great features.

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Will the NBA & NHL be forced to cut teams?

Posted by ZA on March 24, 2009

There is a saying that “once is chance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern.”  If that saying is true, then we will soon see a pattern of conversations about the NBA and NHL being forced to shut down teams due to the economy.  That is because a couple of knowledgeable sports columnists have recently written articles about the dire situation for certain teams due to the current economy.  It is only a matter of time until more of the mainstream sports media begin to harp on this subject.

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My initial reaction was surprise at reading in Bill Simmon’s “Welcome to the No Benjamins Association” column that he and his sources guess that between “three and eight” NBA teams will be sold, move to a new city or turn over operations to the league.  I had not thought about this possibility because I naively assumed that all of these owners or ownership groups had sufficient capital to ride out the current economic storm.  But I heard a similar story, confirming what Simmons has heard, when I talked to a friend of mine who works in the front office of a prominent NBA team.  My friend specifically pointed to the Memphis Grizzlies as an example of a team that is riding on fumes and said everyone in the league knows it.

Simmons went on to say in his article that the situation in the NHL is probably worse than the NBA.  Simmons writes that contraction of teams in the NHL is likely, whereas NBA Commissioner David Stern will probably refuse to cut NBA teams, even if he should do it.  Simmons said Stern’s stubborn nature that would probably be the reason the NBA doesn’t eliminate failing teams.  Wow that is a lot to absorb; it’s hard to fathom multiple NHL teams closing up and the possibility of the same in the NBA.

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But Bill Simmons makes a compelling case in his column; he mentions the declining attendance, corporations who cannot afford their luxury suites and fans that are choosing to stay home.  Combine those factors with the escalating salaries in the NBA and you start to see a recipe for disaster.  And just when I think I’m starting to get my head around it, then another respected media member comes 0ut with a similar story that adds credibility to the dangerous situation the league’s face.

Darren Rovell, who is master of all things sports and business for CNBC, wrote a column about the trouble owners needing to sell might find in trying to locate a buyer.  He says that some of people who own pro franchises are not nearly as rich today as they were when they bought their club.  That downturn in their net worth may cause some of those owners to be forced to sell their team.

Complicating the matter, says Rovell,  is the fact that the days of debt financing the purchase of a professional sports franchise are done.  That means the only people who have the means to buy a franchise are those with loads of cash; like $300 million dollars or more in liquid assets.  Rovell says at this point that it is probably more feasible for a team to be taken over by their league than sold on the open market right now.

The question then becomes how many teams can the NBA & NHL afford to operate on their own dime?  If the rumblings turn out to be true, and there are a handful of teams in each league that cannot afford to continue on their own, then how can the leagues help them?  The simple answer is that they cannot save them; the NBA and NHL would have to instead shut down some of their teams.

I believe it is beyond theory now, it is going to happen.  The NBA & NHL will have to shutter some of their teams, or make otherwise drastic changes in order to save them.  Fans should get accustomed to this idea now, because it is only a matter of time.

Again, if I had just read it once I might shrug it off as a theory that might not come to fruition.  But this story is out there and being told by people who are “in the know”.  So in my mind it is no longer a matter of “if” the leagues are going to shut down teams, it is “when” they make the decision and how many teams will be affected.

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