Business Rumors

There have been no formal negotiations as yet, but teams, the union and agents are making preparations for these vital talks. Various stakeholders who spoke to ESPN described the basics of a plan that could create a consensus in the fall. The starting point is the inverse of the “cap spike” that hit the league in 2016, the influx of new television that caused the salary cap to balloon and famously enabled the Golden State Warriors to sign Kevin Durant.
Currently, 10% of players’ salaries are held in escrow during the season to balance any discrepancies between the projected and actual revenue for the year. In recent seasons, players have recouped the entire 10% escrow and even got additional payout as league revenue climbed. In 2017, that payout was $355,000 per player. One option, according to sources, would be to increase that escrow amount, perhaps to 20%, for one season. This would allow for a cash reserve at the end of the season when determining the league’s financial equilibrium.
3 days ago via ESPN
Facebook believed Overtime was the right brand to help it grow in the space, thanks to what Mahadevia called its community-first approach. Founded in 2016 by Dan Porter and Zack Weiner, the social-native sports network primarily shares amateur highlights and lifestyle entertainment. Overtime has raised more than $35 million from investors, including NBA star Kevin Durant and the late David Stern.
From a business side, in terms of selling tickets or anything like that, can you make any plans? Where does that stand? Ryan Tanke: No different than a lot of businesses and industries right now, the amount of contingency planning that you do and the amount of work you put in that in the end never sees the light of day is really significant because you have to be prepared for a whole bunch of different scenarios. Initially were we going to be included in the restart of the season? Were we not going to be included? From a basketball standpoint, we obviously would’ve loved the opportunity to compete, loved the opportunity to see our guys together in competition, from a business standpoint, there is a little bit of an opportunity right now for us to turn the page and start to look forward to 2021. We know it’s going to start late.
“We want to do everything we can to recruit new development in downtown Benton Harbor and that’s why we invested in this building,” said Rob Cleveland, Cornerstone Alliance president. “And ultimately, this is one small piece in the larger development of Main Street and downtown.” Chandler’s proposed dispensary is called Greenstone Wellness, and Cleveland says it’s expected to bring jobs, people and more investments into the area.
3 days ago via ABC57
The NBA’s professional basketball teams have recently moved into a “isolation bubble” at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Reunion, Fla., where they will live, practice and play without outside visitors or fans, in an attempt to avoid the coronavirus. As part of that isolation, the NBA has partnered with six restaurants to provide delivery meals to staff and players. All six of those restaurants, which include Morton’s Steakhouse, Oceanaire and Joe’s Crab Shack, are owned by billionaire restauranteur and Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta, according to NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Officials with Spurs Sports & Entertainment confirmed Wednesday the company has laid off an unspecified number of employees due to the pandemic. “While we all understand the tremendous impact COVID-19 has had on our economy, staff reductions are devastating, regardless of the circumstances,” R.C. Buford, SS&E’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We have made difficult decisions that we believe will put Spurs Sports & Entertainment in the best possible position to remain financially sustainable today, tomorrow and into the future.” Buford did not disclose how many staffers were let go or the departments in which they worked. Before the layoffs, SS&E had 250 employees, according to the website for the AT&T Center.
An avowed gym rat, Crawford is famous for his year-round participation in pick-up games. Though he has a famously slick handle—his Twitter handle is @JCrossover—he has said he never did ball-handling drills and didn’t practice his shot much until 2012. A Seattle native, he is still living there with his family. A February trip with his 10-year-old son and nephew to a Shoot 360 gym in nearby Kirkland prompted him to become an investor in the company. Fellow NBA veterans Fred Jones and Rodney Stuckey already own and operate their own Shoot 360 gyms, which use shot-tracking technology and interactive video interfaces to engage fans in ball-handling and passing drills.
NBA champion, Hall of Famer and cannabis entrepreneur Isiah Thomas was recently appointed CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the publicly traded, Colombian hemp and cannabis producer One World Pharma, replacing the company’s founder, Craig Ellins. The basketball legend isn’t new to business or investing. In fact, his holding company, Isiah International Inc., has a diverse portfolio that includes cannabis oil and CBD companies, as well as the legendary Cheurlin Champagne, which he acquired in 2015.
As Thomas explains, a series of tragedies in his own family would enhance his interest in medical cannabis. “I had one of my brothers pass away from cancer, then my mother died, and finally my father died from cancer. And I remember, at the end, all of them were struggling with their appetite,” said Thomas. “And not eating was hurting them terribly.” When his mom got sick, her appetite just wasn’t there and the doctors who were trying to get her to eat wanted to prescribe cannabis. However, as many others in her generation, Mrs. Thomas still thought of the plant as a dangerous drug — and her response was to succinctly decline the prescription. “Well, I’m not smoking no reefer!,” Thomas recalls his mother’s stern response to the doctor’s offer.
In 1994, the NBA entrusted him to essentially start the globalization of the basketball business in Canada with the Toronto Raptors franchise. That, Thomas says, was his first international business experience, and it was game changing. “For someone who had just left the playing floor, for the NBA to really give you that major responsibility of going to Canada and introducing their first franchise outside of the United States… it was a huge responsibility, but it was also a huge compliment.” Today, Thomas is especially proud of being Co-Founder of the Raptors. Twenty-five years later, the Toronto Raptors became the first international franchise to be crowned NBA Champions. “It warms my heart to know that the proper foundation was laid by the work that we did there early on,” said Thomas.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum is known for his ankle-breaking crossovers and a smooth jumper on the court. Just like the state of Oregon is known for having a unique and rich soil that makes for a tasty pinot noir red wine. But now, McCollum is getting ready to release his very own signature pinot noir wine called Heritage 91 this fall through a partnership with Adelsheim Vineyards in Newberg, Oregon.
First experience drinking wine: “I didn’t like it the first time. I felt like it was bland. I’m a guy that enjoys lemonade. Part of the reason why I didn’t like it was because of my lack of wine experience. We weren’t really drinking great wine, so to speak. You come out here in Oregon and it’s so diverse. You have so many different types of grapes, you have so many different vineyards who provide pinot noir from different types of soil. We’re actually spoiled.” — CJ McCollum
Operating the three-month completion of the NBA season at the Walt Disney World Resort will cost the NBA more than $150 million, sources told ESPN. The league is housing 22 teams plus support staff at three resorts, has arranged for seven practice courts and is playing games at three arenas during the quarantine. It is also providing meals, daily coronavirus testing and other medical support, security, transportation and entertainment for more than 1,500 people during the height of the event.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
In a recent podcast, ESPN sportswriter and commentator Brian Windhorst spoke on the cost of building and maintaining a self-contained “bubble” within Walt Disney World for the resumed 2019-20 season: “This is something I don’t think everybody understands. The Orlando ‘bubble’ is costing the NBA more than $150 million. More than 1.5 million dollars a day to put on. Not to mention all the lost revenue they have from not being able to sell tickets…”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
According to the data, media giants Disney and WarnerMedia logged some of the steepest ad declines last month due to a delay in the NBA playoffs, which typically take place in May and is broadcast by Disney’s ABC and ESPN and WarnerMedia’s TNT. The lack of the playoffs caused WarnerMedia ad revenue to fall by 45.5 percent during the month while Disney saw its ad sales dip by 39.6 percent, the data said.
As the coronavirus keeps the Milwaukee Bucks sidelined, the team is turning to layoffs, furloughs or reduced pay for some staff members. The NBA franchise, which employs more than 300 people, said in a statement Monday that the cost-saving measures were necessary for the business. The coronavirus pandemic has halted play for the Bucks and canceled all events at Fiserv Forum since mid-March.
Jamal Crawford didn’t have a gym with interactive tools to help hone his basketball skills, but he wants his children – and others in the Seattle area – to have that advantage. Five years ago, the 19-year NBA veteran heard about Shoot 360, a gym concept employing technology to help improve basketball skills, from a friend while on a road trip. Crawford was tired and didn’t make the trip to check it out, but it stayed on his mind. “Fast-forward a few years, and I see everything they’ve been doing, and I see [former NBA player] Rodney Stuckey has one, so I took my son and nephew out there and didn’t tell him, and from the second I walked in, it was like basketball heaven,” he said.
Surprised to see another NBA veteran, Stuckey put Crawford’s boys through workouts. The interactive technology employed features both games and more traditional drills for shooting, ball-handling and passing, all while tracking players and giving them instant feedback. “I saw the looks on their faces and how excited they are; they enjoy working out, but it doesn’t look like that,” he said. “When we left, my son said he’d come to work out twice a day.”
“From my point of view, Shoot 360 can grow across the country, but from there, growing it internationally,” he said. “Basketball is a universal language. You can go to China, and I might not speak the language, but we know how to play together, and it ties people together.” While the three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year has worked to diversify his investments and off-the-court dealings, Crawford foresees Shoot 360 as his most passionate project. “I have camps all the time, seeing kids get better; of all the things I’m invested in, basketball is the most near and dear thing to me,” he said. “I’ve had opportunities to do other things, but I’ve never said there’s something else. The main thing is the main thing, and that’s why it’s so important to me – improving and having a good time.
The NBA will also be able to use the lower space of the Arena, the Field House, and Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for advertising space. It’s similar to what the National Football League is planning to do by placing tarps with ads over the first few rows of seats around stadiums. “There will also be corporate advertising and partners, both by the local teams and national partners, as well, which you would see nationally and locally televised games,” said Tatum. “We are working with our corporate partners to ensure that they have the appropriate placements on the court and different marketing and advertising opportunities.”
The NBA has long tried to monetize its game audio. Former NBA commissioner David Stern advocated for more microphones to be placed around games in 2013, and now could be the time the NBA creates a revenue play with its audio. With Spotify increasing audio’s value after investing over $600 million to acquire various podcast platforms and stars, and Twitter testing audio-only tweets, the NBA could be sitting on a profitable asset as on-the -court chatter could command fans’ interest.
Chesapeake Energy holds the naming rights to the downtown arena the Thunder play in, signing a 12-year deal with the franchise in 2011, set to expire after the 2022-23 season. The agreement cost Chesapeake $3 million the first season and was set to increase by 3 percent each year following. It’s currently unknown how Chesapeake’s bankruptcy will impact the arena’s naming rights agreement. A Thunder team spokesperson declined to comment.
The “early termination” section provides that the Grizzlies “shall have the right, but not the obligation, to exercise The Early Termination Right” if in any season after the team’s 15th season in FedExForum 1) average paid attendance is “less than 14,900,” or 2) “the 64 largest suites are not sold in full,” or 3) “the number of Club Season tickets is less than 2,500.” The Grizzlies do not release average paid attendance, suite sales or club ticket sales. But average paid attendance for the portion of the 2019-2020 season that was played in FedExForum before the season was suspended is believed to be well under 14,900 per game — and dramatically under the 15,857 announced attendance.
Discussions between the parties — which have been largely tabled during the COVID-19 pandemic — have been amicable and geared to finding a mutually satisfactory solution, according to those with knowledge of the talks. At no time have the Grizzlies threatened to invoke the provision to terminate the lease and relocate the team. Grizzlies majority owner Robert Pera has repeatedly stated he is committed to keeping the franchise in Memphis.
The worst could be yet to come because it’s unclear how long the threat of the coronavirus will persist and keep large crowds away from arenas. “We don’t know when we’re going to be able to return,” McGowan told The Oregonian/OregonLive. “If I could say, ‘Hey, by November, we’ll be back up and running,’ that would be one thing. But we have no live events and we don’t know when they’re going to resume.”
Many agents of rising 2021 free agents are telling their clients: choose security. They know that the superstars, as ever, will get paid next summer, but any player looking at the Mid-Level Exception of lower in ’21 may have problems, because they think a) teams will be cutting budgets in response to COVID (i.e., less willing to pay the luxury tax in 2021, with some teams slashing below that number), and b) most teams will only carry 14 players, one short of the maximum 15 allowed, and worry more about re-signing their own players instead of forging out to aggressively sign others.
Storyline: Coronavirus
“Before this year, you knew what that crop of ’21 is going to be,” one prominent agent, speaking on background, said. “It’s going to be even more crowded, because you’re going to have a significantly higher number of players (this summer) doing 1+1s (two-year deals with a player option for the second season). … I’m very lucky that I’m not going nuts going into this free agency. It’s going to be a bloodbath. We don’t know what the cap is going to be, but if it stays the same, how many owners are going to go with more than 13 guys?”
Further clouding 2021 is that COVID-19, far from being off in the wings just because some states decided to reopen, is back center stage, destroying lives with a vengeance in multiple states, which have seen spikes in cases in the last fortnight. So while the plan is to finish this season in Orlando, we can’t say with certainty – yet – that that’s going to come to fruition. And what happens for 2021 in a worst-case scenario, if the virus forces the NBA and union to cancel the rest of this season?
“We don’t know whether they’re going to play or not,” another top agent said. “I know everyone’s assuming they’re going to play, but you see all these things going on, people coming back (testing positive) from football, people protesting, I don’t know the effects of all this. … you can’t tell me that if I’m a 65-year-old executive, with a family, that I’m comfortable being in this bubble? Me, it’s just too much unknown. … it probably makes sense for everybody to sign a one-year deal. Even the big free agents like Davis – sign a one-year deal (this summer) and see what the numbers are for ’21, and sign a contract based off the projections for that.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Dwyane Wade’s got something to cheer about: the reopening of his Wynwood store! He couldn’t be here because of the ‘rona, but he’s still telling Deco about the pop-up. Dwyane Wade: “Yo, I know you guys heard the good news, man!” Dwyane Wade’s The Shop in Pop Up Shop is back in business. The shop was co-founded by D-Wade and celebrity stylist Calyann Barnett, along with NBA star Chris Paul during Art Basel, and it just reopened after being closed for months.
Maybe the statement that best sums up Dinwiddie comes from the bio on his Twitter page: Just a tech guy with a jumper. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a little tongue-in-cheek,” Dinwiddie said of the sly self-description, in a conversation in April while the NBA was on a hiatus caused by the coronavirus. The league is set to resume play at the end of July. “My primary focus on a day-to-day basis is being a great basketball player. … But when I say that, it’s truly because I have a certain passion for tech, and because I understand it. I almost fit in with that community a little more than I do with the NBA.”