Winning and business don’t always work
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban loves competition and wants to win championships. Cuban, a billionaire according to Forbes magazine, also understands business.
Winning titles and making money do not always follow the same path, as Cuban knows well, having lost money for years as the Mavs’ owner and having won a championship in 2010-11.
Like so many thoughts that have emerged since the NBA fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to rest healthy players against the Miami Heat, Cuban saw both sides with clear-eyed vision.
“Everybody who planned to watch San Antonio vs. Miami on TNT, we’ve got disappointed customers all over the place,” Cuban told reporters Saturday. “When I say our biggest customer, TV is our biggest customer.
“So I’m not saying San Antonio did the wrong thing. I’m just saying I understand exactly why the league did what they did.”
In this debate, it’s possible to agree and disagree with both sides without sounding wishy-washy.
Cuban said he looked for ways to disagree with Stern’s decision, “But I do know who pays our bills,” he said. “That is the driver for all things financial in sports. Period. End of story.
“I’m not saying I wouldn’t do the same thing if Coach (Rick Carlisle) came to me and said we should rest these guys. But I’d willingly pay the fine knowing what’s at stake.”
Owners have the same ultimate goal as coaches, players and general managers: win a championship. But from that point, goals branch out in different directions with the owner’s objective is not always aligned with the initiatives of GMs, coaches and players.
A diluted product – whether in the eyes of fans or big-dollar corporate partners, both of whom contribute significant to the revenue pot – weakens the product.
The NBA and owners need to keep TV partners and fans from souring on the game. One NBA owner who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic told USA TODAY Sports that he sided with Stern’s decision and called the fine fair.
While it may not have played a factor in Miami last week, owners in general want an … [For more on Winning and business don't always work together in NBA, click here.]