SBD/Issue 29/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Stern Plays Down Troubles Despite More Teams Losing Money

Stern Touts Attendance Figures, Sponsorship
Renewals As Reasons For League Optimism
NBA Commissioner David Stern Thursday during the NBA's BOG meetings said that "about half of the NBA's franchises are profitable," down from Forbes' NBA team valuations last year that stated 20 of the 30 NBA teams had positive values in '06-07, according to Jon Saraceno of USA TODAY. But Stern said that he "had no concern whatsoever that some clubs might be overleveraged and in potential trouble." Stern: "Our franchises are subject to debt limitations." Stern also "predicted the league would be flat in attendance." Stern: "Which is good news." Stern noted that revenues "should increase slightly, with strong sponsorship renewals" (USA TODAY, 10/24). On Long Island, Ken Berger noted Stern predicted that the NBA will see "slightly better gate revenue, citing a plan to stem potential losses from lower season-ticket renewals with a league-wide program of 1,000 or more seats at NBA games selling for $10 or less." Stern said of sponsorship renewals, "We're pretty optimistic that this will be a season that will be better in our industry than it will be in some other industries." But a team exec Thursday said that the owners "are worried about the economic downturn and might be inclined to let the current [CBA] with the [NBPA] lapse after the 2010-11 season rather than extend it one more year." The exec added that "only 'five to seven' NBA teams are profitable and raised the possibility of a lockout in 2011 if teams face more strain than Stern predicted." The exec: "You're going to have owners pushing for a better deal. This is one of the years the NBA is worried the overall revenues may be a little bit down." But Stern said of owners letting the current CBA expire, "It's premature for me to speculate now" (NEWSDAY, 10/24).

RETURN TRIP: Stern said that while "logistics would make an All-Star game in Europe difficult ... fans there might not have to settle for exhibitions much longer." Stern: "To the extent that we're asked the question, what about a regular-season game, we decided, 'OK, with the lead-up to the Olympics, we'll pop a regular-season game or two or more, I don't know exactly how many, over there by the 2012 Olympics." Stern said that playing in Europe "is good for the league," and added that "even with the current financial crisis....the NBA sold out four preseason games in Europe and two in China earlier this month." He does not expect the economic crisis "to have any real affect on the league's overseas plans." Stern: "We don't think that that's going to impact us in any harsh or painful way other than perhaps our rate of growth. But growth it will be" (AP, 10/23).

NBA To Allow Joe Maloof And Family's
Casino To Accept Bets On NBA Games
CARE TO BET? In Sacramento, Melody Gutierrez reports the NBA BOG voted unanimously to allow the Palms Casino Resort, which is owned by the Maloof family, "to accept bets on NBA games." That marks the "first time the Palms has been permitted to open its sports book to the NBA" since the casino opened in '01. Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof: "Everyone agreed it was an antiquated law. ... It just allows us to be on a level playing field with all the other casinos in the city." Gutierrez notes Harrah's Entertainment "has a similar arrangement with the NBA," as Harrah's Chair & CEO Gary Loveman owns a small stake in the Celtics and "has been allowed to accept wagers on all NBA games expect those involving the Celtics" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/24). Kings co-Owner George Maloof said that the Palms "will begin accepting bets today on the NBA" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 10/24).

NOTES: T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor was unanimously picked to be NBA BOG Chair Thursday, replacing Heat Owner Micky Arison (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 10/24)....NBA Commissioner David Stern will be at the Ford Center for Wednesday night's Bucks-Thunder game, the Thunder's first home regular-season game in Oklahoma City (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 10/24).

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