I am normally a very peaceful man.
But, over the years I've been involved in a dozen fights or so. Bar brawls and street fights. I've lost some and won some, but I've learned how to throw a punch with the best of them.
And the next punch I throw is going to be at the next guy who comes up to me and says "who cares if the NBA lockout goes on. It's a dying sport, anyhow and fans don't care."
There's an old saying. "Ignorance is temporary. Stupid is forever." This one is to the forever club.
Just because you saw some games where the stadium wasn't full, just because you didn't get jacked up every time a game got played and just because you sometimes drifted off while watching a game in your man cave, doesn't mean this sport is dying.
From a spectator and fan standpoint, the NBA has never been healthier.
Last year the ratings for NBA games were great. They were up 42% on TNT, 38% on ABC and 28% on ESPN. Attendance at games was almost 17,500 per game, a measurable increase over the previous year.
Those in the forever stupid club suggest that those attendance numbers are skewed by the big, romantic teams like the Lakers and the Heat. Well, let's just take a close look at the local situation.
If you use multipliers to create relatively equal attendance bases, then the Milwaukee Bucks, who had a forgettable season, drew only about 3,000 fewer fans per game than did the Milwaukee Brewers, who had the most memorable season in the club's history. If they played in the same size stadium, the Brewers averaged about 37,000 fans a game and the Bucks would have averaged about 34,000.
Fans were going to those games in the dead of winter.
People talk about the exorbitant prices of basketball tickets. Sure, courtside seats cost a lot. But you can take a family of four to a Bucks game and spend less money than the lowest price for a Brewers' game.
The NBA business model is screwed up. No doubt about it. Somehow they need to have some way to bring salaries into the realm of reality. Somehow they need a way to get out of contracts that pay huge amounts to players who are injured or whose ripe date has passed (Michael Redd, last year, $18 million). They need to share revenues.
They need to look at the NFL. The most successful sports league in history got that way with one word. PARITY! Pete Rozelle convinced everyone that the league would truly be much stronger as long as every team had a relatively equal chance to win. He didn't think, and the NFL owners agreed, that money should be the determining factor when it came to the race for the title.
I'm not really on anybody's side on this. About the only thing I'm against is the people, including a bevy of sportswriters, who grab onto the low hanging fruit and write and talk about the apathy that afflicts the NBA. Your neighbor may feel that way. You may feel that way. But to actually say it out loud, as if it's a fact, ignores the real facts in this issue.
Basketball is a great game and the NBA is the greatest basketball in the world. We are lucky to have a team in this town and we should cherish that sport.
Like the man said. "Ignorance is temporary. Stupid is forever."
Look at the Packerstake parity away and they are irrelevent and possibly doomed. Look at baseballthis is an unusual year because the Yankees and Red Sox somehow managed, despite the zillions they spend, to miss the post season. When it all comes down to money, and money only, the fans are the biggest losers.
Ummm....where are you getting your numbers from? How did the Bucks almost draw the same number of fans as the Brewers? In a different universe? Bucks have 41 home games, Brewers have 81. Bucks average about 13,000 (ticket totals, not actual butts in seats) per game and the Brewers average about 35,000 per home game. I'm the biggest Bucks fan I know amongst all of my friends. Back in 2001 when we were winning we'd get together to watch games. Now, they laugh at me even when I have free tickets unless Kobe or Lebron/Wade are in town. Bucks killed a huge fan base by trading away Ray Allen that they never recovered from. Bogut hasn't been able to live up to the expectations although he is talented and a Top 5 center in the NBA, he hasn't taken us past the first round. Jennings looked like a superstar until the book was out on him. Now, I'm not even sure I can call him a Top 15 PG in the NBA. You can't make people care about something that they don't like and the bottom line is, many are just plain turned off by the NBA and it's going the way the NHL has gone. A few notches below the two big sports of NFL and MLB. I have hope for small markets after hearing about many details of the lockout, but I am nervous for a market like Milwaukee's that may never recover the casual fan base. Especially when we are still playing baseball when the Bucks home opener should've been on the horizon in about two weeks. I've been to every home opener for the last 10 years and this one will pass...and it doesn't really bother me that much.
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