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SBD/February 4, 2014/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
New NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has "selected seven team governors to advise him on the league’s coming media talks, providing the surest sign yet that those negotiations are about to become much more intense," according to Lombardo & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. The seven-member committee includes Thunder Owner Clay Bennett, Knicks Owner James Dolan, Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck, Spurs Owner Peter Holt, Wizards Owner Ted Leonsis, Jazz CEO Greg Miller and Bulls President & COO Michael Reinsdorf. Sources said that an exclusive negotiating window "for the NBA's current media partners does not open for another year." However, the league "has told ESPN and Turner executives that they plan to start negotiating a new deal in the second half of the current season." Silver's decision to "create a formal media committee pegged to the upcoming deals represents a more inclusive approach from past negotiations that he led with former commissioner David Stern." Also noteworthy is that the group is "called a 'media committee' and not a 'television committee,' as the NBA is expected to add other digital rights as part of its new deal." A new media deal "stands at the top of Silver’s to-do list as he begins his tenure" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 2/3 issue).
FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: SPORTS ON EARTH's Shaun Powell wrote Silver in his first week on the job is "ready to get the ball moving," as the transition from Stern to Silver "couldn't have gone any smoother." There is "no tremendous rush to create change" because Stern "left the game in great shape." But the game eventually will "require his touch." Silver over the next five years will "meet several challenges, none bigger than the TV contracts, and look to improve the quality of the game." His tenure "needs to be about polishing the product and making it more satisfying to fans, especially those who find the game less enjoyable than ever and began to tune out in the post-Jordan era" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 2/3).
BIGGER OFFICE: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote under Silver there "definitely will be an increased international emphasis with the league and perhaps other changes including more involvement by NBA owners." The question is whether Silver will "make the valiant attempt to form a division in Europe." Meanwhile, with "the rash of injuries in the NBA and an 82-game season that begins in October and carries into April," there have "been murmurs that the season could be shortened." Some players and team execs were "pleased with the 66-game, lockout-shortened schedule" in '11-12. However, Silver has indicated that he "will not reduce the number of games" (BOSTON GLOBE, 2/3). In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote while Stern "made sure underlings knew they worked for him," Silver will "be more a 'come work with me' boss." Silver "can be decisive and assertive, as he demonstrated during labor negotiations," but he "won't come across as the bear Stern often projected" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/2).
TRIBUTES CONTINUE TO POUR IN: Stern's departure from the NBA Commissioner position after 30 years generated myriad responses over the weekend. THE DAILY has compiled some of what was said on television and written in newspapers on its On The Ground blog.
There is "much more unknown than known about the coming WNBA season," but everyone "does still seem to believe there will be" one, according to Mechelle Voepel of ESPNW.com. Several questions hang over the '14 season, including the date of the WNBA draft, "how many teams will be in the league" and whether there "will be any change in the roster size." The league's CBA expired in September, and the "chief hope" of the players appears to be increasing roster size from 11 to 12. Even if a deal for a new CBA is struck, it is unknown "how many jobs will be available" in the league this year. That is "still dependent" on whether the Sparks "remain in business," either in L.A. or elsewhere. Fever F and WNBPA President Tamika Catchings said it is a "fair question" as to whether a deal would be reached. However, she added, "I am very optimistic that when it comes down to it, everybody wants to see the best for the WNBA, on both sides. Going down that path, I'm optimistic we'll get an agreement … soon." Voepel noted the Sparks are a franchise that is "seemingly in limbo, with no information coming from the league as to what is next" for them. Catchings: "You look at what L.A. stands for in our league -- being one of the founding teams. I wouldn't say necessarily that I'm worried, but it's more, 'What do we have to do to figure this out?'" Voepel wrote in talking to Catchings, Dream GM Angela Taylor and various other coaches and GMs last week, the "overall feeling" she gets is "no one thinks the sky is falling." Still, there is a "resignation that the league's loose ends are not tied down" (ESPNW.com, 1/31).
Formula E, the world's "first fully electric racing series, has committed to paying" at least $24.3M to the FIA over the next 10 years, according to Christian Sylt of AUTOWEEK. The series' launch this September "comes at just the right time for the FIA," as the governing body's latest accounts "show that it made a net loss of $3.4 million on total revenue of $81.5 million" in '12. Formula E's payment includes a $4.2M "share of the proceeds from an estimated $21 million investment in December in Formula E's Hong Kong-based parent company Formula E Holdings (FEH)." The investment "was made by Causeway Media Partners," an investment fund founded by venture capitalist Bob Higgins along with Celtics Managing Partner & CEO Wyc Grousbeck and Celtics investor Mark Wan. The group joins Spanish businessman Enrique Banuelos and Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag, the "majority shareholders of FEH." A summary of a '12 agreement between the FIA and Formula E also "reveals that the FIA will receive fees of $67,000 from each of the 10 teams and $135,000 per race which 'should generate an additional revenue of $2 million for the FIA in 2014'" (AUTOWEEK.com, 2/3).
THE HEAT IS ON: In Miami, Douglas Hanks reported Formula E is "pursuing Miami for an updated version of the Grand Prix races that used to roar through downtown." FEH is "rolling out a series of races for the Formula E’s debut season, and Miami has been tentatively slated for March 14, 2015." However, FEH first "must win city approval for the event" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 2/3).