NBA Commissioner David Stern Credits Twitter For League's Rise In Popularity
NBA Commissioner David Stern at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference yesterday "credited Twitter, technology and the Internet with his league's increasing popularity," according to Andrew Travers of the ASPEN DAILY NEWS. Stern said, "I do think that social media has something to do with it." Stern said that he and league officials, "early on, encouraged players to use Twitter rather than try to control or censor them." Stern: "What we decided to do was to say to our players, 'Hey guys, go at it. Can we help you sign up?'" He added that the NBA is "attempting to use technology to improve the game itself, with expanding instant replay." Stern said that the league also is "interested in technology that would instantly decipher the top of a ball's arc on the way to the net, to definitively call goal-tending violations." While some "other conversations at the conference have centered around protecting online video content, Stern said he encourages fans to take video content and re-post it, or re-edit it for YouTube." Stern: "We do want to empower the fans. ... I'm not going to spend time taking them down" (ASPEN DAILY NEWS, 7/17).
FREE AGENT FRENZY: In Florida, John Torres writes, "Welcome to the NBA's version of Monopoly." Only a "few weeks old, this has been the strangest, silliest, richest, most exciting off-season in recent memory, and it's devilishly fun." The offseason has "been about wheelbarrows full of 'make-believe' money thrown at players teams don't even want as they try to block rivals from signing players they really do want" (FLORIDA TODAY, 7/17). CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger wrote in the first 72 hours of the NBA's "first, full-fledged free-agent negotiating period of the new collective bargaining agreement, owners handed out approximately $400 million in contracts -- roughly the amount of revenues lost as a result of the lockout." It is "only Year One of the lockout-induced reset, so it's too early to conclude the rich are getting richer." The "best that can be said is that the new rules haven't made them any poorer -- yet." League salary data shows that the NBA "collected the lowest amount of tax revenue last season since the dollar-for-dollar tax was implemented in 2002-03, and the top-spending team had the lowest payroll in 10 years (the Lakers at $85.7 million)" (CBSSPORTS.com, 7/14).