SBD/Issue 232/Franchises

Mark Cuban Spices Up Dan Patrick's 6pm SportsCenter Return

Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban appeared on ESPN's "SportsCenter" last night where he was asked by ESPN's Dan Patrick, "If there was no salary cap, no luxury tax and you were able to spend as much as you wanted, would money be an object to you to build a champion in Dallas?" Cuban: "Sure. ... One thing that people don't pay attention to is [that] our revenues have almost tripled since the day I have gotten here. I work hard to try to keep our costs relative to our revenues. ... I just wouldn't spend over the top, but to me it's a lot more painful to lose games and not win championships than it is to lose money."

BACK IN BUSINESS: Cuban, defending the comments he made about the Kobe Bryant case being good for the business of the NBA, told Patrick, "If there is a crush of media coverage, I believe there is going to be an increase in sampling of the NBA product, and I think we have such a great product that people who sample it, some percentage are going to continue to watch it." Patrick: "But Mark, if sexual assault or rape is involved in a conversation, I don't know anything great that can come out of it." Cuban: "If you ever watch any of the financial news environment, they say, 'Well, we have a war in Iraq. Which stocks are going to benefit?' How do you feel about that?" Patrick: "I'm not on board with that either." Cuban then cited the Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding incident and the subsequent impressive Nielsen rating the '94 Olympic figure skating broadcast earned, adding, "It's not about the tragedy of rape. That's not the conversation at all." Patrick: "You can't separate the two, Mark. Sexual assault, Kobe Bryant, NBA, it's all inclusive." Cuban: "Dan, grow up and understand the business world. When you have something that impacts your business, if you ignore it because it's a sensitive subject, you won't be running that business very long." More Cuban: "I just didn't do this interview to bring this whole thing up again. If I would have known, I probably would not have sat here. Once again, you guys are bringing it up and trying to be opportunistic from it. You're being so hypocritical." Cuban added, "I'd be willing to bet you that there was analysis done at ESPN, ABC and Disney to understand what coverage should be given or not given. ... You try to maximize the dollars you're making from it. So how could you say that there's nothing good in bringing up such an unfortunate circumstance?" Toward the end of the interview, Patrick said, "You want to talk to me about maturing and growing up. You should have been mature and said [to 'Access Hollywood'], 'I shouldn't comment.' ... You shouldn't have said anything" (ESPN, 8/26).

THE INSURANCE QUESTION: Cuban, who has complained of the NBA-approved insurance policy on players playing in off-season competition, wrote in an email to the TORONTO STAR: "International competition is for profit, big business. Why we as a league offer up our most valuable players is beyond me." But the TORONTO STAR's Dave Feschuck wrote, "While Cuban continues to underline the risk of international action, he conveniently fails to mention the rewards. It's no secret that ever since the late 1980s, when the NBA started sanctioning games between NBA teams and club outfits from other countries, basketball has undergone an unprecedented global boom. And it's no secret the NBA has profited immensely from the game's global expansion" (TORONTO STAR, 8/26).

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