NBA PM: Schedules Remain a Mess
Staples Center general manager Lee Zeidman gave Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times a snapshot of the chaos that will ensue if the lockout is resolved sometime soon.
“I’ve heard talk that the players and owners would look to add games past the drop-dead date of the NBA Finals, June 21 – I know they are tinkering with,” Zeidman said. “It can never happen here.”
Not only is the Staples Center home to the Lakers and Clippers, but it would be one of the country’s busiest arenas without the NBA. The NHL, WNBA, concerts, boxing matches, movie premieres, award shows, the circus, the Harlem Globetrotters and Disney on Ice are just some of the things that pull spectators into the building, which is why it’s nearly impossible to add more games during the usual regular-season months or beyond the June 21 drop-dead date.
“On June 22, 23 and 24 I have tentative concert holds, and at 4 a.m. on June 25, I’m contractually obligated to allow ESPN to start loading [the arena] for the X Games, that start June 30,” Zeidman told the Times. “Then, right after that, I have Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus coming in July 9-15.”
The lockout ending presents one set of problems for arena owners. For instance, if the league were to add games, Madison Square Garden’s summer renovation schedule would change dramatically and possibly prevent the building from being finished for the 2012-2013 season.
Of course, if the lockout doesn’t end, arenas will be scrambling to pull in any acts that can sell some popcorn. The Staples Center, writes Pugmire, is looking at new concert series, roller derby and beach volleyball to fill the NBA’s missing dates, should the season get cancelled.
“We don’t need sellouts at this point, but we’d like to bring in 4,000 to 7,000 people on these nights we’re losing,” Zeidman said. “We need to keep the building working.”
The Staples Center has around 4,000 part-time employees who depend on the NBA, but the league has been largely silent on how it plans on altering the remaining schedule. Naturally, Zeidman is running out of sympathy.
“We fulfilled our contractually, adhered to the dates the league set for us in March,” he concluded. “Contractually, we’ve taken care of all the dates they asked us to.”
To avoid another public embarrassment following the lockout, the NBA would be wise to simply cut its losses. The games that are being lost can’t simply be rescheduled because no professional sports league exists in a vacuum. Any presumption otherwise would be another example of the league’s hubris, which is kind of what brought us to this point in the first place.
76ers Sale Approved
Joshua Harris is now the owner of the Philadelphia 76ers after the NBA’s board of governors approved the sale to the Apollo Global Management founder and his partners David Blitzer, Art Wrubel and former player agent and Kings executive Jason Levien. Kynetic CEO Michael Rubin as well as Will and Jada Pinkett Smith also have a share in the team, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.
“Over the last 15 years, a number of different individuals or entities have inquired about purchasing the Sixers, and to be honest, I was not looking to sell the team,” former owner and Comcast-Spectacor chairmen Ed Snider told the Associated Press. “But in discussions with Josh and his partners, it became clear that this was an offer that made sense for the franchise and for the future of Comcast-Spectacor.
“This is one of the hardest business decisions I’ve ever had to make,” Snider continued. “The Sixers are family, and it is very difficult to say goodbye to an organization of great people with whom we have worked so closely over the last 15 years.”
Comcast SportsNet will continue to broadcast 76ers games through 2029 and Comcast-Spectacor still owns the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.
“On behalf of my partners, I genuinely want to thank Ed Snider and Comcast-Spectacor for choosing us to steward the Philadelphia 76ers, a storied NBA franchise,” Harris said. “We are excited to be writing a new chapter in Sixers lore. I also want to thank Comcast-Spectacor for their gracious assistance during the transition.”
According to Kate Fagan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Harris plans on cutting ticket prices. That means lower bowl tickets could be purchased for as little as $29.
Stefanski is Out in Philly
With the new owner in place, general manager Ed Stefanski has been relieved of his duties, the Sixers announced during Tuesday’s press conference. President Rod Thorn will continue to handle all basketball decisions and Harris told the press that the team has “no plans” to replace Stefanski. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News speculated that Levien, who worked as an executive with the Kings, will take part in personnel decisions, as well.
Sources close to the situation tell HOOPSWORLD that Stefanski is likely to land in Toronto as the Raptors’ GM under President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo.
Check Out: Shaq
Shaquille O’Neal is from Newark, NJ. He was born in The Brick City in 1972 and claims to have stolen candy bards from a local bodega in his childhood. But O’Neal is just as connected to Texas, where he went to high school, Louisiana, where he attended LSU, Orlando, where he began his NBA career, California, where he won three titles, and Miami, where he became a volunteer police officer and pocketed another title to boot. However the global entity known as “Shaq” was feeling particularly nostalgic when being questioned by Joe Brescia of the New York Times basketball blog Off the Dribble.
When asked about owning a team, O’Neal didn’t hesitate to give his preferred destination.
“I’m looking forward to bringing a team to Newark,” O’Neal said. “I haven’t spoken to Mayor (Cory) Booker about it yet, but I’m working on it. I know Newark can support an NBA team. And I’m going to be one of the guys that’s going to bring a team there.”
Booker has remained confident that Newark will bring the NBA back after the Nets leave for Brooklyn and the city has the nice, new Prudential Center to attract a team. Of course, this would mean the New York City area would have to support three teams, which hasn’t worked all that well for the NHL (see the Islanders’ last 15 years).
Anyway, Shaq is always interesting and touches on a great number of other subjects as well.
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