NBA Commissioner David Sten said the league's Global Games are "usually marginally profitable," but the intent of the international presence is to "grow the game so people can see the game in action and the events around the game and to give support the markets we play in and the surrounding markets in the same time zone," according to Jonathan Feigen of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. Stern: "We’re serious about bringing the sport to the greatest number of people." Stern, who was is in the Phillipines for Thursday's Rockets-Pacers preseason game, added that he expects the NBA to return to that country and "other nations in Southeast Asia, but said that the distance rules out the possibility of regular season games so far from home" (CHRON.com, 10/10). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Jason Jones writes it is "only natural to wonder when the Kings might play in India" considering team Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive was born in the country. Kings coach Michael Malone said that he "would not be surprised to see the Kings play in India in the coming years." He said Ranadive has indicated "many, many times he wants to be a global brand." Malone: "With his background in India, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Sacramento Kings playing a game there in the foreseeable future" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/11).
OVERSEAS GAMES ARE TRENDING: CNBC.com's Mark Koba noted the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB all have played overseas in recent years, and the "shuffling of pro teams to far-off places may seem out of order to American fans, but the moves are part of a growing trend to globalize U.S. sports." Analysts said that it is "not likely to abate anytime soon." Univ. of Indianapolis marketing professor Laurence DeGaris said, "The main reason for them staging more events overseas is because the U.S. sports market is very mature and cluttered, so the real growth opportunities lie outside the country." MLB Senior VP/Int'l Business Operations Paul Archey said, "If you want to be a global sport, you have to play in the overseas markets." Analysts said that if one league is "slightly ahead of the others in reaching a global audience, it's probably the NBA." The NBA "has some 14 offices overseas and has a long history of being the most global of sports leagues." An NBA spokesperson said that by the end of the preseason games, the NBA "will have staged a total of 146 games in 20 countries" since '78. Ketchum Sports & Entertainment VP Shawn McBride: "The exposure the NBA has in other countries has helped it attract players. You're seeing players from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia play in the league on a regular basis" (CNBC.com, 10/9).
NBA Commissioner David Stern on Thursday while in Manila for the Rockets-Pacers preseason game "put in a plug for the NBA Development League while taking a shot at his league’s critics" from within the ranks of the NCAA, according to Fran Blinebury of NBA.com. Stern said, "One of the things we've done, which I’m equally proud of, and it’s importance will emerge in future years as the discussions about the NCAA and its relation to the NBA heat up, is that we have a full-fledged development league. NBA Development League has 17 teams now and my guess is by 2015 it’ll be 20 teams." Stern added, "I hear about our colleges not liking what they refer to as 'one-and-done,' we have a league in the NBA Development League that will accept players when they are 18 and will do, I might say, a better job of educating than the college programs in which they are." Stern "paused dramatically, then added, 'Take that'" (NBA.com, 10/10). In Houston, Jonathan Feigen noted Stern after making the comment "looked to two Western reporters in the front row and winked." He said, "You know, this will be a headline in the U.S. because the world is a very small place. It doesn’t matter where I say anything, I can get in trouble" (CHRON.com, 10/10). FOXSPORTS.com's Nick Creegan writes the comment about educating players is "a bold statement by Stern, who doesn't have a big sample size of elite NBA players who came straight from the D-League as opposed to going to college." The question is whether salaries are "going to be [raised] for these young athletes." Creegan: "If they aren't getting adequately paid by the D-League -- and right now they aren't -- why skip out on a free education?" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/11).
NASCAR is allowingdriver Travis Kvapil to participate in weekend activities, including Saturday night's Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500, after being arrested Tuesday on "misdemeanor charges of assault on a female and false imprisonment following a domestic dispute with his wife," according to Bob Pockrass of SPORTING NEWS. NASCAR issued a statement on Thursday that said the organization "takes this matter very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation as it moves forward." BK Racing co-Owner Ron Devine in a statement said, "We feel it's important to let the system take its course." Pockrass reported Kvapil's No. 93 Toyota was going to include a "decal of a ribbon for domestic abuse awareness," but that was "not on the car Thursday prior to Cup practice." Kvapil knows the arrest "could impact his ability to land future rides." He said, "I'm sure there's certainly sponsors, the manufacturer, everybody is going to have to take a close look at this. Obviously I represent a number of supporters for BK Racing, and I'm the face of that. Certainly there could be an impact there" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/10). USA TODAY's Nate Ryan writes under the header, "Kvapil's Arrest Is Latest Stain On Sport's Image." He writes a "solid case could be made" that NASCAR should take disciplinary action against Kvapil. The fallout "could have a negative impact on the NASCAR brand," as Kvapil's arrest is the latest episode in a season "pockmarked by incessantly unfortunate plot twists that sometimes feel akin to death by a thousand cuts to NASCAR's reputation" (USA TODAY, 10/11).
NBC's Bob Costas said he is not worried about the "under-30 fan base" in MLB as much as others critics of the game. Outside national TV ratings, baseball is not "just ahead of where it used to be -- and way ahead of the so-called 'Golden Age' of the sport -- in every measurable way it's past of those eras in quantum leaps in attendance, in marketing revenue, in total viewership." Costas said of baseball being "culturally irrelevant" today, "Nostaglia and retro are an aspect of baseball's appeal. They shouldn't apologize for it, they should embrace. But to say that it's a disproportionate aspect of it is wrong" ("The B.S. Report," GRANTLAND.com,10/7).
CALL FOR A BAN: In N.Y., Jeff Klein reported researchers at a Mayo Clinic conference on concussions in hockey have called for a "ban on fighting at all levels of the sport." Conference organizers said that "although no direct link has been established between fighting in hockey and long-term brain trauma, pathological studies indicate that fighting could lead to serious brain damage." The NHL in recent years has "gradually legislated against particular circumstances around fights, and the rate of fighting has slowly dropped." Wednesday's meeting was "attended by researchers and hockey officials from across North America and Europe," and was the Mayo Clinic's "second conference dealing with hockey concussions" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/10).
NO DEAL YET: In Hartford, John Altavilla reported talks on a new WNBA CBA have "essentially been going on since the All-Star break," but it could take "several months" before a deal is reached. That is especially true if the players "feel put upon by ownership to give up things they don’t want to give up." One likely change will see an extra player added to each roster, and it is "quite possible" the All-Star Game format for '14 "will be a repeat of the national team vs. WNBA All-Stars not on the national team" (COURANT.com, 10/9).
BEEFED UP BEAT DOWNS: In San Diego, Dennis Lin wrote under the header, "UFC Faces Growing PED Problem." In UFC, "slaps on the wrist prevail" when it comes to PEDs, while "not being sufficiently entertaining can put you out of a job." In governing his own domain, UFC President Dana White "follows a less linear path" than MLB. Maybe White "is simply content to tackle each mini-crisis as it arises." Never mind that "the mini-crises are coagulating into a mega-mess." Lin: "The UFC's drug policy lacks substantial punch. Shamed fighters have returned in blazes of pay-per-view glory." White appears to take a "do not get caught" approach to PEDs, deferring to athletic commissions on testing and punishment (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 10/8).