HoopsHype Business rumors

April 18, 2014 Updates
April 17, 2014 Updates

Andrei Kirilenko, the National Basketball Association player known as AK-47, is defying Russian antipathy toward U.S. brands by opening the country's first Hooters restaurant. Kirilenko, who plays for billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's Brooklyn Nets, said the first of five restaurants he plans to build in Moscow will open April 28 under a franchisee agreement with Hooters of America Inc., the chain best known for the skimpy tank tops worn by its waitresses. Sydney Morning Herald

April 15, 2014 Updates

A recent story from Forbes revealed that the Raptors have the highest average ticket price for the first round of any team in the NBA, at $370.62. “We took data from hundreds of sellers,” says Forbes contributor Jesse Lawrence, the Founder and CEO of ticket search engine TiqIQ.com, “and in general, found a significant premium over what tickets are being priced at in the box office. In Toronto, tickets sold out quickly, so naturally the prices are significantly higher.” SportsNet

Because why not. The chart below summarizes game length by broadcast network (another readily available field in the stats.nba.com data). As you can see, with the exception of NBA TV, nationally broadcast games take 15 minutes longer than local broadcasts. The extra length is presumably due to additional commercials. An examination of the detailed data verifies this presumption, with the biggest gap in length between national and local broadcasts occurring when NBA rules require mandatory timeouts. Inpredictable.com

April 11, 2014 Updates

The NBA Board of Governors will meet in New York next Thursday and Friday and one of the main topics likely will be the future of the Bucks. There is a distinct possibility a new ownership group will be revealed at that time. The Bucks’ sale process has been cloaked in secrecy. In fact, any bidder who wanted to get into the “Bucks-for-sale” game had to sign confidentiality forms. Because this is a high-stakes game, where the sale of the Bucks is expected to be around $500 million, few people directly involved in the situation have been willing to discuss specifics of the bidding process, particularly Bucks owner Herb Kohl, who has been extremely tight-lipped. Racine Journal-Times

The gentleman orchestrating the negotiations is Steve Greenberg, the managing director of Allen & Company in New York and son of baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg. Greenberg has strong ties with several individuals who have expressed interest in buying the Bucks, including Mark Attanasio, the Milwaukee Brewers owner. Greenberg was an advisor to the Allan “Bud” Selig family when the Brewers were sold to Attanasio. Attanasio has apparently had more than a passing interest in the Bucks for some time. A year ago, the scuttlebutt among NBA officials was Attanasio and former Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley were the primary candidates to become the Bucks’ next owners. Heisley is no longer in the picture after having suffered a major stroke. He has gone through extensive rehab and is in a nursing home. Racine Journal-Times

Greenberg also happens to know NBA super-agent Arn Tellem, who also has shown interest in the Bucks. Tellem, who owns a professional basketball team in Israel, began his career as an attorney in Los Angeles with the firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney. One of Tellem’s mentors was none other than Greenberg. Racine Journal-Times

Another former NBA general manager rumored to be the “face” of another group is David Kahn. He was the president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves before being relieved of his duties last May. A call to Kahn wasn’t returned. Kahn once attempted to bring the Montreal Expos to Portland before the Major League baseball team opted to relocate to Washington. Racine Journal-Times

It’s no secret former Bucks guard Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman is interested in being part of a new Bucks ownership. Bridgeman, whose No. 2 jersey has been retired by the Bucks, is the president of Bridgeman Foods LLC. His company owns and operates more than 160 Wendy’s restaurants in the United States. Racine Journal-Times

Another local figure associated to Bucks sales rumors is Jon Hammes. A Racine native, Hammes is the founder and managing partner of Brookfield-based Hammes Company, which is recognized as the nation’s leader in health care facility development. His company was also involved in the construction of sports facilities, including the Kohl Center in Madison, and the renovation of Lambeau Field in Green Bay. Racine Journal-Times

The latest name to surface on the Bucks’ ownership rumor mill is Tom Werner, once the majority owner of the San Diego Padres. He later teamed with John Henry and Larry Lucchino to form the Fenway Sports Group, which bought the Boston Red Sox in 2002 for $660 million. Werner’s group also bought Fenway Park and 80 percent of New England Sports Network. He is chairman of the Red Sox and Liverpool of the Premier League. Racine Journal-Times

April 9, 2014 Updates

Money wins these arguments and the day is coming, something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Dan Patrick when Silver stopped by on the Dan Patrick Show Wednesday. Patrick asked him if ads on jerseys are “viable” and “inevitable”: “Yes and yes. Maybe it’s because I spent so many years of my two decades here selling the NBA internationally and traveling internationally, but it is so commonplace for soccer clubs around the world and basketball clubs as well outside the United States. In this day and age of non-live programing where people are using their DVR and skipping through commercials it’s just that much more of an opportunity for our sponsors to get that much closer to our game, to be close to our athletes.” NBCSports.com

Also, Patrick brought up Silver wanting to raise age limit to 20: “I’m not sure why it has gotten so much attention in the past few months because it’s been something we’ve been talking about for a while. But I’ve been talking about it. Maybe the only difference in my approach from David’s is I’ve been talking more about the college game. And while we think raising the age limit from 19 to 20 would be helpful for the NBA I think it would do a lot for college basketball as well.” NBCSports.com

April 2, 2014 Updates

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and adidas are on the cusp of finalizing a multiyear, lucrative shoe endorsement deal barring any hiccups, a league source informed CSNNW.com. Once official, an announcement is expected in the coming days. “We’re close,” Lillard told CSNNW.com on Tuesday. “Nothing final yet. I'm excited.” CSNNW.com

As of right now, the ads and markers visible to those watching TV—first-down lines in football, banners on baseball backstops and basketball stanchions—only can be affixed to stationary objects. Or so sources far more familiar with SportsVision, Inc. and its mechanics tell me. But if there's already video technology to illuminate a moving object (like FoxTrax making a hockey puck glow), it seems only a matter of time before the ability to project a logo or company name on moving objects is developed. In the meantime, projecting ads on jerseys during free throws or other moments when players are stationary shouldn't be a problem. Bleacher Report

The added bonus is the flexibility in how often an ad appears and upon whom. Instead of being locked into one advertiser for an entire season—or going through the awkwardness of having a company name on a team uniform one year and a different one the next—the space could be sold on a game-by-game or player-by-player basis. The front of LeBron James' jersey in Game 7 of the NBA Finals obviously should be worth more than that of Casper Ware in a regular-season game, but how do you make that distinction if the ads on both jerseys are permanently affixed? Bleacher Report

April 1, 2014 Updates

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