SBD/December 20, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

David Stern Says NBA Is Seeing A Big Growth Spurt, But Best May Be On Horizon

NBA Commissioner David Stern said he is "looking forward to the continued growth" of the league following his retirement on Feb. 1. Appearing on CNBC's "Closing Bell," Stern said the NBA is "in the midst of an extraordinary growth spurt." Stern: "But the best may be yet to come. We've got the digital world, where the NBA is at the top. We've got globalization where our games are seen in 125 countries and 43 languages. And we've got a new network television negotiation coming up. So it's just going to keep getting better." Stern said of new revenue streams, "I think we're seeing a move to digital distribution." He discussed the rising ticket costs for NBA games and said, "The average fan has been provided for in the less-expensive seats and the average fan now can get every game on television. Here's a secret: Most fans don’t go to games, they watch them on television. We felt the imperative was to make sure our games were distributed to the widest possible audience." Stern also was asked how sports gambling affects the NBA and whether sports betting should be legalized across the country. He said, "I don't think that institutionalizing (gambling) will have an influence one way or the other. I think the broader issue is that because the states and the federal government are so hungry for additional resources that there is this movement towards legalizing gambling on sports. How that ultimately comes about, if it does, is a subject of great interest to me because you can't have 50 states rushing out to tell their citizens that they should bet the grocery money to make a bundle on sports" ("Closing Bell," CNBC, 12/19).
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