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Sports Business

When most hear about a story in sports, they think of how it affects the team's ability to win games. For me, I think about how the move affects the franchise. I think about the changes in the team's marketing campaigns, season tickets sold, and attendance at games. This blog is a direct representation of my point of view.

A look back at David Stern's term as NBA Commissioner

Thursday night's NBA Draft was the beginning of David Stern's farewell tour as NBA Commissioner, so to speak.  In February, Stern will retire from atop the League's office, giving way to deputy commissioner Adam Silver.  While he maintained several positions within the League office, we were first introduced to David Stern at the 1984 NBA Draft.  In what began with a handshake with then number one selection Hakeem Olajuwon, it was only fitting for Olajuwon to kickoff Stern's 30th year.

Of the 30 NBA franchises, 28 of them are playing in arenas constructed during Stern's tenure.  The two teams that aren't, the Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks, are in the process of building an arena or renovating their current one.  Stern also oversaw 7 NBA expansion teams, along with 6 relocations, including the Seattle Supersonics moving to Oklahoma City and becoming the Thunder, a bold move at the time. 

In media, the NBA has started the NBA Television Network, as well as NBA Game Time, an opportunity for fans to watch all NBA games live.

In addition, David Stern had a hand in the creation of the WNBA.  While the league pales in comparison to other major sports, it has been popular their target demographic, women.  Players like Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes, and most recently Brittney Griner have headlined the league.

However, it hasn't all been positive for the NBA and David Stern.  Since his reign as commissioner began, there have been four NBA lockouts, with the most recent delaying the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season.  In 2000, the Minnesota Timberwolves were found to be tampering with Joe Smith.  As a result, the last year of Smith's contract was voided, the franchise was fined $3.5 million and had their next three first-round draft selections revoked.  The NBA Draft Lottery still remains as one of the most complicated events in all of professional sports.  There have been several major brawls, most notably the 2004 fight between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons that included Jermaine O'Neal and Ron Artest fighting with fans in the stands.

Even with the negatives, the feats and popularity that the NBA has accomplished over the past 30 years are truly remarkable.

Brian Lamb is a writer for 365 Sports Report, covering Sports Business, the NFL Draft, and many other topics.  You can visit his website at 365sportsreport.com 

Just how much did the Stanley Cup Playoffs help the NHL?

Nine months ago, we were roughly a week and a half into the NHL lockout, the league's third such occurrence since the 1994-95 season.  While a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was agreed upon in January, it still did some heavy damage to the reputation of the league.  Fast forward to Monday night when the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Boston Bruins to reclaim Lord Stanley's Cup.  Early indications appear as though fans forgot about the lockout, due to a 3.3/10 Nielsen Rating of Monday's Game 6 among the 18-49 demographic.  But how long will the NHL be able to ride the wave that the exciting Stanley Cup Playoffs finish delivered?

First, let me describe the Nielsen Ratings.  Some of you may be unfamiliar with how these numbers are put together, or what they mean all together.

The 3.3/10 rating actually has two different meanings.  3.3% of households with a television set tuned into Game 6 at any given moment.  This is what we call our RATING.  Meanwhile, 10% of households watching television on Monday night tuned into the game.  This is what we call our SHARE.  To break that down even further, the 3.3 rating tells us that 3.3% of the 18-49 population, with a television set in their household, watched the game.  The 10% share is designed to go a step further, it still takes the total number of people watching the game, but is measured against the total number of households actually using their TV at the time.  In other words, if you are one of the few to have your data collected by the Nielsen Company, and you were reading a book or watching Netflix, your data is still collected, but unused when determining the share number.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's move on.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals had 8.16 million viewers, as compared to the 4.93 million that watched the series clinching game 6 last year.  However, it should be noted that due to the NBA lockout in 2011, the NHL was forced to battle head-to-head against the NBA during the first 4 games of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Still, if you compare the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Finals 5.48 million viewers to Monday's game 6, there's clearly a significant boost.

Unfortunately, those numbers are still no comparison to the NBA Finals, specifically game 7, which saw 8.7/26 among the 18-49 demographic and 21.56 million viewers.  But if you look more into the NHL, those numbers should be a bit more clear.  For instance, several NHL Stanley Cup Finals games were shown on the NBC Sports Network, while all of the NBA Finals were on ABC.  So unless you upgraded your television package, you weren't able to watch some NHL Finals games.

So just how much of the damage caused by the NHL lockout was wiped away after the Stanley Cup Finals?  Well, if other leagues are any indication, there shouldn't be any damage going forward.  However, as I stated earlier, this is the NHL's third labor dispute since the 1994-95 season.

Brian Lamb is a writer for 365 Sports Report, covering Sports Business, the NFL Draft, and many other topics.  You can visit his website at 365sportsreport.com

Is the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to blame for short-term NFL contracts?


It's been a week since Free Agency started in the NFL.  This time last year, we saw huge contracts for players like Mario Williams and Vincent Jackson.  Peyton Manning and Cortland Finnegan also agreed to huge long-term contracts as well.  However, this off-season has seen smaller short-term contracts.  We have still seen some long-term contracts, but not on par with recent years.  Is the new Collective Bargaining Agreement to blame for this?  Let's take a look.

Since the uncapped year in 2010, the NFL Salary Cap has averaged around the $120M range.  For those of you that are curious, the Salary Cap for 2013 is $123M.  That's up from the 2012 season when it was $120.6M.  If you're still curious, the first Salary Cap in 1994 was only $34.6M.  So what changed?  Well, quite honestly nothing has changed.  But we are now seeing more and more teams restructuring long-term contracts to make it more cap friendly.  For instance, Calvin Johnson signed an seven-year, $132M contract extension with the Detroit Lions last off-season.  Johnson's contract was also worth $60M guaranteed.  This off-season, the Lions restructured Megatron's contract making most of his salary this year a signing bonus, which could then be spread out over the next few years.  It's my opinion that we see more of this to come, especially with the large long-term and hard to manage contracts.

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