As I mentioned last week, I have recently begun dabbling in the forex market. More specifically the EUR/USD. This forces me to be up to date on European politics and financial news. Lately, the buzz has been revolving around the failed economies of, like, half of Europe. One of these states is Greece. It is on the dubious tipping point of small-enough-to-bailout-without-too-much-consequence, while having an economy so shitty that sentiment of "what's the point" holds a small stake in the debate.
This week the ECB laid out guidelines for a potential bailout. Basically, it demands Greece to make unpopular, government driven, fiscally responsible concessions in order to receive a bailout package from Europe's bank. Greece shot it down with "All Guns Blazing". Greek leaders have potentially chosen an all-out collapse over austerity.
On a much smaller scale, the NBA was in a similar situation as Greece. Under David Stern's watch, the NBA made critical missteps that led to its own "failing" economy. Stern's biggest goal was to expand the brand across the globe. He has succeeded. Unfortunately, he overvalued its strength in North America. The NBA has placed teams in a number of markets that cannot support franchises, agreed to the former 57/43 BRI spit and, most recently, decided an owner lockout was the best move for a league reclaiming its place of relevancy with Americans.
The owners (Stern) shouted from camera to recorder that they could not maintain their franchises over the long-run under the old CBA. That the "current system [was] broken". These claims, of course, completely ignored the ridiculous appreciation of NBA franchises over time. Year-to-year-profits are not necessarily guaranteed with these kinds of investments, but at sale there is a rather large profit from appreciation (roughly 70-80% over the last ten years).
The argument says that the players make too much money, and NBA teams are no longer a worthwhile investment. That a team like the Philadelphia 76ers -- which paid $69 million in player salaries in 2010 -- can't make a profit with the $111 million in revenue it brought in, and it's the players' fault that $42 million in surplus revenue turned into a loss. The NBA doesn't want us to care that the 76ers were just sold for a $150 million profit over the initial 1996 investment. Nope, we're all supposed to focus on the $1.2 million the Sixers reportedly lost in 2010. (Via)
Much like the ECB did with Greece, the players agreed that the owners needed financial help to rescue them from their bad fiscal decisions. Also like the ECB, the players offered to bailout the owners. Not make concessions like Stern loves to say, but to bailout. Their offer: $2.2 billion over the run of the new CBA. Greece and the NBA -- even including appreciation -- are broken. Not by faults of the ECB or NBAPA, respectively, but by their own hands. Yet, the ECB and NBAPA agreed to help.
However, both failing bodies refused aid, instead demanding relief on their own terms. Greece wants limited austerity regulations, while the owners want more money (about $950 million more or the difference between a BRI of 52.5 and 51). Each seems to be choosing a nuclear winter over prosperity for reasons that seem more to do with power than reason.
It's bad enough that David Stern and the owners have successfully made something like a million dollar loss more relevant than a $150 million profit, but now the players' refusal to sacrifice $950 million overshadows the $2.2 billion they've already sacrificed. It's disgusting. So disgusting that it was actually worth it for me to look up the numbers and pore over a financial reports and get out a calculator and stuff -- just to see how disgusting the whole thing is. (Ibid.)
Without question Stern and the owners have won the PR battle. NBAPA Executive Director, Billy Hunter, and President, Derek Fisher, inability to coherently present the facts has been absurd. It has allowed Stern to run rampant, giving him license to say and do whatever he pleases. The truth doesn't matter when people believe the lie. That truth may have been said best by Bobcats majority owner and Chicago Bulls legend, Michael Jordan, when addressing Wizards owner Abe Pollin during the 1998-99 lockout:
"If you can't make it work economically, you should sell the team."
Major props to Michigan State's men's basketball team for opening up their season against the #1 ranked Tar Heels -- on an aircraft carrier no less -- and the #6 Duke Blue Devils (and Coach K's record setting 903rd win). Not many coaches will allow their team to almost certainly fall to 0-2 to open the season AND become the answer to a Trivial Pursuit question for life. "What team did legendary Duke coach, Mike Krzyzewki, beat to become the all-time winningest coach in NCAA men's basketball history?" That takes pretty big balls.
I am, however, very conflicted about this. I do not like Sparty. Like, at all. But it seems Izzo isn't so bad. So maybe I can like him and hate the school? I can do that, right? Oh, I can do that.
J.R. is the best.
South Park, gets all South Park-y on the Penn State alleged rape-of-small-children-coverup.
It seems Bud Selig will get his way in 2012 and the MLB will allow two more teams to make the playoffs (one in each league, obviously). Well, sort of. You see, this will be a new and exciting second wild card team. The original wild card team will face the new and exciting second wild card team in a one game playoff to decide who will go onto the League Division Series. Exciting stuff.
This, of course, is a new revenue stream for the league and teams involved. All that is great. But what I like about it is that it makes winning your division even more valuable, in theory, of course. A one game wild card "lose or go home" scenario will most likely force teams into using #1 starters, as well as go deep into their bullpens, giving them a distinct disadvantage going into the League Division Series. Righteous. More value needs to be put on 162 games of baseball. This potentially does that*.
Sometimes I think Selig isn't so bad, but then I remember we decide home field advantage for the Fucking World Series by who wins an exhibition game voted on by the fans after less than half the season and I realize he's the worst.
*I'm not clear on the deets, but this will probably mean three AL East teams in the playoffs. Gah.
Have a great weekend, friends.