Basketball Wiretap

March Madness Beat 2016 NBA Playoffs In Ad Revenue By $200M

Mar 23, 2017 10:29 AM

March Madness generated $1.24 billion in advertising revenue for CBS and Turner in 2016. The two networks pay a combined $800 million per year to broadcast the NCAA tournament and that figure will increase to more than $1 billion beginning in 2024.

The advertising revenue generated for CBS and Turner was about $200 million more than the 2016 NBA Playoffs for ESPN/ABC and Turner with their figure hitting $1.031 billion. The 2015 NBA Playoffs generated $944 million. The MLB Playoffs generated $569 million in revenue in 2016, while the NFL Playoffs hit $1.318 billion.

The NBA Playoffs last almost twice as long and feature professional athletes.

The NBA is in the first year of a nine-year, $24 billion deal.

Rodger Sherman/The Ringer

Tags: NBA, NBA CBA, NBA Playoffs

Adam Silver Warns Teams Of Resting Players

Mar 20, 2017 9:29 PM

Adam Silver has called the practice of teams resting marquee players "an extremely significant issue for our league" in a memo to league owners Monday.

In the memo, Silver informed teams that the issue will be a prime topic of discussion at the next NBA Board of Governors meeting April 6 in New York and warned of ‎"significant penalties" for teams that don't abide by the league's standing rules for providing ‎"notice to the league office, their opponent, and the media immediately upon a determination that a player will not participate in a game due to rest.

Silver said that it is unacceptable for owners to be uninvolved or defer decision-making on this topic to others in their organizations.

On Monday, ESPN released a statement about the teams resting their star players during nationally televised games.

"As always, our aim is to serve NBA fans with the best matchups involving the league's top stars and we share the fans' disappointment. We understand this is a complex issue and we're working closely with the NBA to best address it going forward from a media partnership standpoint, " the statement said.

Ramona Shelburne/ESPN


NBA, NHL Reportedly Supportive Of Key Arena Renovation Plan

Mar 16, 2017 6:49 PM

Tim Leiweke suggested Thursday that the NBA and NHL are aware of his efforts to renovate or rebuild KeyArena, and are supportive.

"I completely understand how they think. I completely understand their view and their opinion of Seattle. I completely understand how they want us to proceed. And I completely understand their feelings as to what this building should be and the timeline that we need to hit in order for them to look at a potential for Seattle to join one or the other, or both," said the sports business veteran. "We are following the lead, the direction and the input of Commissioner Bettman and Commissioner Silver."

Leiweke, the head of the Oak View Group, is the former head of AEG and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. He talked at length in Seattle on Thursday about the potential for the project and how it would be financed.

Leiweke brushed aside suggestions that he wouldn't be able to work with potential NBA or NHL tenants, if he's the building operator, saying OVG has had conversations with potential NHL franchise owners.

"We are prepared and have had conversations with people that are interested in the potential and opportunity of bringing an (NHL) team here. And we've been asked by those people to join them in the ownership, so that the building and team owner are 100 percent aligned," he said.

"We're prepared to be equal partners with anyone that owns a team. They can share the arena with us. We will be 50/50 partners."

This was Leiweke's way of responding to SoDo investor Chris Hansen's comments last month that KeyArena developers may only be interested in concert business.

"I admire Chris and his entrepreneurial spirit, and I think it's fantastic that a native son has fought so long, so hard, spent the money and taken the risk," said Leiweke. "But this is not about us versus him."

Despite city claims a redevelopment project could take five years, a project could be completed quicker.

"Our guess from the day a decision is made, and a deal is signed and approved by the city, you're probably three years more in the process. That will not cost us an opportunity."


Chris Daniels/KING


Pelicans Committed To New Orleans Despite Struggles

Mar 12, 2017 5:48 PM

The New Orleans Pelicans are in the midst of an arena lease agreement with the state until 2024 and have shown no desire to break the contract.

Despite losing seasons in four of the past five years, the Pelicans said they sold more than 11,000 season-ticket accounts for the 2016-17 season. 

“You will never hear us say, ‘If we don’t get to 10,000 season tickets, the team is moving,’ ” Pelicans team president Dennis Lauscha said. “You’ll never hear that from us.”

Tom Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the Pelicans in 2012 from the NBA. There is a perception that Benson favors the Saints and part of that thought stems from the fact that Mickey Loomis is involved in basketball operations.

“Mickey has an extremely important role in our building, being that we own an NBA and NFL team; it is very unique,” Pelicans senior vice president of communications Greg Bensel said. “He is our primary football executive. All decisions made on the football side day to day run through him. He leaves the day-to-day operations of the basketball team to Dell; however, Mickey ensures that both teams have all the resources they need to be successful. He is the conduit to Mr. Benson to make that happen on both teams, someone that Mr. Benson trusts implicitly to make those decisions.”

Scott Kushner/The Advocate

Tags: New Orleans Pelicans, NBA, NBA CBA

Chris Paul: Players Were More Comfortable Negotiating This CBA

Mar 7, 2017 11:55 AM

This season, Chris Paul balanced his commitments with the Los Angeles Clippers and as president of the National Basketball Players Association. The NBA and NBPA agreed upon a new CBA without any public issues.

“With all of the stuff on his plate, I really didn’t have much of an expectation that he was going to be able to be available,” Michele Roberts recently told The Vertical. “I would say, ‘Guys, give me an hour and I promise I won’t bug you for a week.’ And his thing was, ‘No. Don’t worry about that, Michele. You just tell us what you need from us and we’ll be there.’ Chris was just remarkably available. It would have been perfectly within his rights to say, ‘Look, I ain’t getting paid for this. Let’s keep it to a minimum.’ But he was always there when I needed him. If I said it was critical that I reach you today, it was done.”

Roberts tried to avoid calling him during his morning drives to drop off his kids at school while Adam Silver was mindful not to plan negotiations for when Paul had games. Steve Ballmer gave Paul the freedom to go wherever he was needed.

Paul tried to keep those moments to a minimum but recalls a wild 24-hour period in which he played a preseason game in Sacramento, immediately caught a private, red-eye flight to New York for a critical meeting between players and owners and then returned to Los Angeles.

“[Paul’s] unique,” James Jones told The Vertical. “The rare breed of guy that can focus and perform on the highest level, on and off the court. We all know how seriously he takes his craft, but he takes the job of union president and looking out for the welfare of the game and players just as serious. There were a lot of late nights, late flights, phone calls, just extra energy, and then just going out there and playing 38 minutes a night, I mean, as if nothing happens. It’s a testament to his character and his integrity. Because he knew when he signed up for it that he’d be juggling heavy weights on both sides. But we got a deal done and that’s largely a byproduct of his leadership.”

Paul sat in on the talks in 2011, which were contentious.

“It wasn’t so much about the pressure. Me and [Jones] talked about it a lot, even when we went into the negotiations, that we just felt a lot better because we understood what the players wanted,” Paul told The Vertical. “It’s like when you study for a test. If you’re unprepared when you go in there, you’re like, ‘Oh my goodness.’ But we were prepared. The biggest thing is, when we went in for the last negotiations, we didn’t say much. We talked here and there, but we didn’t really know what to say or how to look across at those owners and really talk. This time, we were comfortable. We were very comfortable.”

The executive committee now has players representing a cross section of the league, but Roberts wouldn’t deny the influence of having Paul, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Stephen Curry involved in the process.

“That’s not to say the non-marquee guy doesn’t make contributions. That’s nonsense. Of course, they do,” Roberts told The Vertical. “[Mutombo] said, ‘Everybody listens to the marquee players. The players do, the fans do, and the owners do.’ They think, if these guys who are making so much money and have so much made, if it’s important enough for them to commit their time and attention to the [players association], then it must be important, and that’s the logic behind having marquee guys not symbolically engaged. … At some point, Chris is going to break my heart and announce that he’s going to leave the executive committee.”

Paul told The Vertical that he “couldn’t imagine” working through this last round of negotiations with anyone but Roberts. His commitment proved to be worthwhile.

“It’s almost like a service position,” Paul told The Vertical. “It’s phone calls, it’s meetings, on top of tackling our own different things. A lot of times, people hear CBA and they think [basketball-related income] numbers and they think all of those type of things, but there are different things, even as far as the tights guys wear, the socks, that’s on a game-to-game basis, where we have to have these conversations and talk about what the fans may not notice.

“Obviously, we’re players in this league, but it’s about making sure the game continues to go on. It’s a great feeling. I feel like we’ve done our responsibilities.”

Michael Lee/The Vertical

Tags: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA, NBA CBA