Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mixed Messages

The NBA welcomed a record 108,000 fans to the All-Star Game this past weekend!
The NBA claims $400M in operating losses this year!

There could possibly have been a better time to announce the latter. Doing so at an event that highlights the league's resurgent popularity and ability to sell tickets gives it the whiff of mathematical monkeyshines. At this point, I'm skeptical of any pro sports league's claims that its owners - who enjoy ridiculous tax breaks, see their assets steadily rise in value, play accounting games that make Madoff's routine look like Candyland, and play in publicly-built castles with sweetheart leases - are losing money. but this one definitely comes with a side helping of "you're kidding me, right?"

Of course, the real thing they're going for here is to stir up anti-player sentiment among the fanbase. How can those players ask for so much money? How can they demand such a high percentage of gross revenues for playing a game? It's a time-tested PR strategy, and it works.

Left unsaid, of course, is that if the players aren't getting that money, the plutocrat owners are. Ticket prices won't drop. Concession prices won't drop. Parking prices won't drop. But hey, at least those greedy players won't be getting the cash!

Right? Right.
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