The sports TV extravaganzas of the past weekend were the Daytona 500 and the NBA All-Star Weekend. You could not pay me to watch either of these
things from start of finish on TV any more than you could pay me to watch a pro rasslin' extravaganza from start to finish.
But lots of other people watched; you can be sure of that. And it was interesting when David Stern talked to the media about the league and the future
of the league, he did not mention anywhere that I could find anything about NASCAR. Maybe the reason is that last year the Daytona 500 got a 10.6
rating while the NBA All-Star Game got a 5.1. Stern loves to point out that it is the stars of the league who captivate the public because it is the
All-Star game that draws the most people to watch it. Frankly, I think that's bass-ackwards from a business point of view. Compare the ratings for the
Pro Bowl and for the Super Bowl. Now, which league has the more lucrative/successful business model?
Interestingly, the fans voted 10 starters into the All-Star Game and only two of them come from the NBA's "storied franchises" - and that counts Allen
Iverson from the Sixers as one of the "storied franchises". The rest of the players came from Cleveland and San Antonio and Minnesota and... Should
that make the league nervous having its fan favorites in the "non-traditional cities" or is that a sign that basketball marketing can work anywhere
because the fans will find the players they like no matter where they play? I have no idea, but I'll bet that the league's marketing gurus would
really prefer to have some kind of star power associated with the Knicks and the Celtics.
Marv Albert said that one reason that it wasn't possible to get any of the "star players" to compete in the slam-dunk contest is that all of them are
so heavily involved and tied into the shoe companies that "they don't want the stigma of losing in the slam-dunk contest." That kind of talk isn't
going to get Marv Albert any exclusive interviews any time soon...
Sir Charles Barkley has a new TV deal with TNT and the contract calls for him to do some kind of programming with other Time Warner networks such as
HBO and CNN. Look, I love Sir Charles and I really do appreciate his no-nonsense commentary; but somehow, I'm having trouble picturing Sir Charles and
Aaron Brown in a discussion setting talking about the mechanisms and implications of Third World debt restructuring. That is not "must-see TV"!
Whilst talking about the NBA, we have to keep in mind that the league and the players union need a new collective bargaining agreement because the
current one is running out. Negotiations are "underway" but since there is no imminent deadline, nothing much has happened yet. [Aside: Did they
notice what happened in the NHL negotiations when those very tactics were employed?] Surely, at some point we will have to listen to the story about
how the current structure is insufficiently beneficial to the players whose talents are being exploited. When you hear this story, please remember
these two words: Alonso ... Mourning:
1. He got a huge guaranteed deal to play in NJ - with a team that could have gone to the NBA Finals but was stricken with a kidney disease and had to
sit out. He got paid.
2. After a transplant, he came back to a team that had gone through a set of cost cutting moves and Alonzo wanted out. He still got paid.
3. He complained enough that he got traded to Toronto where he refused to report because he claimed he was sick. The real reason is that Toronto
stinks and they have a hard-ass as a coach there.
4. So Toronto pays him $10M (of the $16M left on his guaranteed contract) just to make him go away and he then miraculously gets cured so he can sign
with Miami where they have a good team. Mourning says that he "left $6M on the table" in Toronto. I say he's gotten paid a lot of money to do nothing
and to pick the team he wants to play for.
5. Tell me again how the rules governing these contracts are so one-sidedly exploitative of the players...
Speaking of getting paid lots of money for not a lot of work, I read that Paul McCartney was paid $3.3M for his Super Bowl halftime performance.
Believe me, I did not watch that performance intently nor did I time it nor do I care to know exactly how long it took from anyone out there who has
it on tape and goes back to time it. But I'm going to guess that he was on-stage for more than 10 and less than 15 minutes. Since 12 minutes makes the
math easier, I'll assume he was on stage for 12 minutes, which is one-fifth of an hour, making his hourly rate $16.5M per hour. Wow!
Now that the Westminster Dog Show is over and they've had time to clean the stench out of Madison Square Garden, I know you'll be excited to know that
you can buy the show's "highlight video" for $24.95 plus S&H. If it were truly a "highlight video" and I got to define "highlight", this would be a
blank tape, but I'm not one of the "doggy people". USA Network just extended its TV deal with the Westminster Kennel Club through 2016 so it isn't
going to go away. This year's show had a two-night average rating of 2.9. Here's a yardstick for you; last year the Lightening/Flames Stanley Cup
Finals averaged a 2.7 on ESPN and ABC. Here's a marketing idea for the NHL. Change the team names when you folks come to your senses and figure out a
way to actually - you know - play games. Why not the Dallas Dobermans and the Montreal Malamutes? Hey, it could work.
In surfing through the channels, I did notice Charlsie Canty interviewing someone involved with the dog show. This looked to be the equivalent of a
"sideline reporter" only it was a dog show and not a football game. I didn't stop to hear what they were talking about because I don't care, but it
did strike me that Charlsie Canty seems to have found a home on all telecasts that involve animals. I wonder if she has or is planning to have a show
on Animal Planet? Or, is she an exec with that network?
Chris Rose has left FOX Sports' Best Damned Sports Show Period. His new program on that network is Arena Weekly, which is a new summary and highlights
show about the Arena Football League. Actually, I think he just took his career in a positive direction because "BDSSP" has devolved into something
Finally, according to a note in the St Paul Pioneer-Press a football recruit named Troy Evangelist paid a recruiting visit to the University of
Minnesota. This is clearly someone who ought to play for Liberty University!
But don't get me wrong, I love sports...
Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon