Steve Ballmer Rumors

Not everyone thought Ballmer was crazy to write that big check. “He got a bargain,” says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the first majority NBA owner who made his fortune in the dotcom boom. (Microsoft’s Paul Allen bought the Portland Trailblazers in 1988.) When Cuban bought the downtrodden Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million, he was merely a speculator, but he became a go-to resource for other owners who were looking toward the future. “The league was always open-minded toward tech but hadn’t really implemented much,” Cuban says. “I got all the questions.”
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Ballmer says the NBA has supported his drive to experiment. Another league, like the National Football League—the $13 billion behemoth that dominates the American sports landscape—might not have. “There’s no local broadcast for the NFL, so how do you experiment?” Ballmer says. “They’re in very good shape, but because everything is national, they have to think about tests and experimentation differently. Baseball has many games and local TV, but most baseball viewers are over 55. That’s maybe not the crowd you want to experiment with.”