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LightningMan
01-23-2008, 02:11 PM
Gazette.Net has a nice article on Tom Doyle, the Maryland Nighthawks, and the PBL. Read it here (http://www.gazette.net/stories/012308/montspo174627_32355.shtml).

The_Whale
01-23-2008, 02:52 PM
Great article.

(By my estimate I didn't think the Nighthawks had 1000 people at their home games, but what do I know)

Sam Hill
01-23-2008, 03:38 PM
‘‘I don’t think that people have analyzed minor-league sports properly,” he said. ‘‘Traditional revenue streams [attendance, concessions, etc ...] will always be a failure. You just don’t bring in that many people to the games. To generate revenue, you have to take a non-traditional look at the product.”

Online gaming? Selling pay per view games to Thailand? That's what he thinks is going to generate enough revenue to support a team? Man. I don't know about that. If your core product can't generate revenue, you need to re-think what you're doing. If you want to do online gaming, do online gaming. I'm not sure about mixing the two.

TheStandard
01-23-2008, 03:52 PM
Online gaming? Selling pay per view games to Thailand? That's what he thinks is going to generate enough revenue to support a team? Man. I don't know about that. If your core product can't generate revenue, you need to re-think what you're doing. If you want to do online gaming, do online gaming. I'm not sure about mixing the two.

sounds so newmanesque and borderline abaish

a1sports
01-23-2008, 04:16 PM
The landscape of minor league basketball is a disaster ( of course a part of that is attributed to the ABA) but its time to try other revenue streams in conjunction with the product. ALL minor league basketball teams lose money, yes they do, NBDL, CBA included. Dont try to tell me they dont, I know, trust me on that one.

If Doyle wants to try another approach, good luck and lets see what happens.

In the day of satellite TV, X-box and internet, its a tough sell to go see Minot play Great Falls Tuesday and wednesday night. The family dollar will only go so far.

Minor league basketball has to do a self examination, No games weekdays and no 30 -40 game schedules would be a start. The model so far has and is a failure. The rich owners get a tax write - off and some ego stroking.
The PBL has a chance to maybe fix that with a short schedule and weekend games. The ABA doesnt count. THe NBDL hasnt figured out what it is yet and the CBA is on last legs. A merger would only elevate the landscape, Hopefully the PBL and CBA work it out. The NBDL is cost prohibitive, too many games, in the wrong size cities and the NBA GMs still dont know what it is to send a player down. This summer should bring some changes, otherswise it is status quo.

DazedAndAmused
01-23-2008, 04:37 PM
Herein lies the problem in the business:

If your core product can't generate revenue...

a1 is exactly right. none of these teams in these leagues generate enough revenue with their core product to live long term. this is a basic realization that must be acknowledged. conceptually the aba was not wrong to look at alternate revenue streams to keep minor league ball alive...they just happen to be HORRIBLE at execution and seemed to care more about 10k market reservations.

I don't know if pay per view internationally on the internet is the answer, but I wouldn't dismiss it just because the ABA has touched on the topic. It is not a stretch to believe that good players from overseas niche markets (maybe a Thailand, I don't know) could draw a meaningful number of subscribers. Once the technology is set up and the streamed product is of sufficient quality, it doesn't cost any more to deliver 10,000 units vs 10 units. I see this as staying true to the basketball product.

If the PBL starts promoting Snoop Dogg concerts, then we all ought to start watching our minor league ball in Puerto Rico with Standard.

Pounder
01-23-2008, 06:13 PM
European basketball currently makes a few bucks by selling their YOUNG players (not even the established ones anymore) to the NBA. What we consider drafted for "free" isn't really for free. The NBA pays transfer fees.

Europe, and the rest of the world that has money, AS LONG AS THE SPORT KEEPS IMPROVING OVERSEAS AT THE GATE and otherwise, is willing to buy back as well. Witness Chris Webber's flirtation with Europe last summer... much like MLS kind of wants to (warily, often VERY warily) buy foreign stars, it sounds like teams overseas want to dip their toes (more than they already do) in American talent.

The problem: everyone coming out of college is a free agent, basically. The NBA takes a cartel approach and "drafts" them into the league, but everyone else slips by. If the NBA had youth programs like Europe has, and could sign that talent while skipping college, they obviously couldn't keep everyone they sign... and that's the point. Sell 'em off.

Now, the trick... if the NBA acts on this, so can the lower leagues... theoretically. At some point, one of the minor leagues needs to find a system of taking players right out of high school (and someday realize that they won't wait to graduate HS, eitehr), place them in the development program (not necessarily the first team). Small clubs in England (example) are able to fund a whole year's operation (at least) when they find someone the big clubs want. If this operation starts at the low end rather than the high end, and if (a big if) you can make that system survive, the NBA WILL be paying you for talent. That doesn't mean minor leagues will be flush in money all of a sudden, but there's at least half a chance under this system... a very PROVEN system virtually everywhere else in the world.

The_Whale
01-23-2008, 06:22 PM
Online gaming?

my spidy-sense tingled at that too...

The_Whale
01-23-2008, 06:23 PM
That doesn't mean minor leagues will be flush in money all of a sudden, but there's at least half a chance under this system... a very PROVEN system virtually everywhere else in the world.

I hadn't thought of that.

SignGuyDino
01-23-2008, 06:32 PM
First of all, people will get sopcasts of any game on a PPV feed.

Second, I have heard from countless wannabee startups that gate isn't that critical to revenue. First dead givaway the league isn't going to last or even start.

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

If people didn't want to watch the league in a hometown, what makes anyone think people will pay and listen to static webcasts to generate enough revenue?

EVERYTHING is tied to ticket sales. You can't get sponsors without some evidence you'll get fans. Why do people think they make copies of season ticket forms? Give me a break. "Well, we haven't sold tickets yet, but give me $5,000 for a quarter page ad on a program we haven't designed yet." Yeah, sure.

Euroleague people will pay for. Hell I'd love to see Euroleague games regularaly on my Dish Network because the atmosphere at those games are light-years ahead of NBA games.

Sam Hill
01-23-2008, 09:40 PM
I'm more than willing to be convinced.

But unless this is the Bizarro Planet, it ain't gonna happen.

Now, if you say "We can't make it as a basketball entity," then the solution is simple: don't be a freaking basketball entity.

We've talked about this before: of all the minor league sports, basketball struggles the most. Basketball is a popular sport. College basketball is not as high a level as the NBA, yet there's no lack of interest in college basketball.

In fact, college basketball is probably one of the main reasons (I think, anyway) that minor league basketball traditionally struggles. I'm sure there are others.

But you can't tell me that minor league hockey teams can make a go of it as hockey teams and a minor league basketball team is so different that it has to be an online gaming portal.

But at the end of the day, if you want to export basketball games on pay-per-view to the ends of the Earth, then do that. Don't blame the fact that you can't sell freaking tickets on some supernatural circumstances or act like you're some sort of savant because you've hit on the way to make this work.

DazedAndAmused
01-24-2008, 08:25 AM
Sam, I think that in the "perfect" world (eg, the opposite of Bizarro Planet), I agree with everything you say. The problem here though is that the BEST drawing minor league basketball teams are losing money every year, even with their sponsorship, merchandising, and concessions. (Please show me ONE, JUST ONE team even breaking even!)

So, doing extra things consistent with the core product to possibly generate additional revenue is not a bad thing. The alternative is to just hope that enough of a1's rich guys are around to keep funding the whole thing.

I admittedly blew through article but is the "on line gaming" that is being referred to being discussed in the right context? I was thinking video games to draw some kids to the site rather than gambling.

bdaly
01-24-2008, 08:37 AM
Yeah, sounds more like an online video game to me where they'll sell advertising space and be able to market the league through having its teams involved. With Second Life and its success, there are lots of companies trying new, innovative business models with games. I'm not going to hold my breath, but you never know. I never would have guessed Second Life would do what it's doing...

I agree DazedAndAmuzed--virtually everyone is in the red. Repairing minor league basketball's reputation and slowly bringing it to a viable level is critical, but it won't happen overnight. So examining complementary revenue streams is key. Otherwise, it's up to rich people who just want this to be a hobby on the side.

Pounder
01-24-2008, 11:19 AM
Now, if you say "We can't make it as a basketball entity," then the solution is simple: don't be a freaking basketball entity.

This got me to thinking about FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The basketball teams, who, yes, are arms of the football teams. Total athletic clubs, so to speak. It seems like folly to think you could combine baseball, basketball, and hockey managements and NAMES under one roof, and not every country does this. It's a thought.

Before Real Salt Lake, there were the Utah Blitzz. That team actually managed to get a contract with Salt Lake County- as well as rather distant Box Elder County- to manage recreational soccer programs in both places. I believe, oddly enough, that this helped the Blitzz get the best crowds in what is now USLSD. It would be awfully easy, BTW, for someone like the Blitzz to take that operation private (which is what's happening in Boise with some of the youth soccer clubs).

The conception is, say, Wilmington sponsoring a rec basketball program from ages 6 up where people pay (hopefully a small fee, not a large one) to play, while the development program the team ought to have recruits from the rec programs. That's essentially the "pyramid" approach many soccer teams (not necessarily most, BTW) use these days.

SignGuyDino
01-24-2008, 11:31 AM
Remember when the NAFL was looking to an indoor league a couple of years ago? I am following what Pounder said, only I think they could look at basketball in the spring to be followed by outdoor football in the summer and fall. Yeah, it's all semipro but the concept is always keep the brand name in people's minds.

The problem is these owners devote 52 weeks a year for ONE sport that covers 8-12 weeks. IF they had 2 or 3 different leagues, the players and coaches would change, but the staff would be the same. This invites year-round ticket deals, year-round sponsorship deals, etc.