Thursday, July 30, 2009

NBA allows practice jersey advertisements

Future NBA Jersey Style?

USA Today - NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver says in the 2009-2010 season, teams will be allowed to sell ads on their practice jerseys (not in-game jerseys). Says Silver, "We are operating a diverse business all around the world. (The sponsored game jersey) is a well-established practice in other countries. Ultimately, I think our fans will come to accept it."

Read between the baselines:
The economy. You've heard it before and it comes up again. Teams are struggling to make money and jersey ad space is another way to bring in some revenue. It's doubtful that in-game jerseys will have ads this year, but the practice jersey ads are certainly a stepping stone for such a situation.

Traditionally speaking, this is a sickening idea for the basketball fan. Old clips from the NBA archives show Bill Russell, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson doing their thing representing one name: their team. Not All State Car Insurance... and the Celtics, Bulls, or Lakers. Silver's belief that "fans will come to accept it" is a little far fetched and doesn't seem validated.

Economically, this is a goldmine of an idea. Teams have already named their arenas after corporate sponsors (Staples Center, Pepsi Center, Quicken Loans Arena) and have in-game commercials with Miller High Life plays of the game, and the scrolling announcer tables that change ads throughout the course of a game. The actual game jerseys that the players wear would make sure that EVERY fan sees the ad.

Commercials - With Tivo, games being viewed online, and people simply leaving the room or changing the channel when commercials are on, the NBA fan does not see commercials as often as the advertiser would like.

In-game advertisements - The NBA fan sees the advertisment but is far more interested in the sponsored highlight it's showing.

IN-GAME JERSEY AD - Imagine some company... Billy Bob's Sushi Cuisine for example, on the front of Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Laker jersey. Already the most purchased jersey in the world right now, an ad on Kobe's jersey would be seen by basketball fans from LA to China. Youtube highlights, photos on the front page of the sports section (or googlenews' sports section), and fans purchasing the jersey thus becoming walking advertisements, would all feature Billy Bob's Sushi Cuisine ad. The ad becomes famous, and the Lakers cash in for adverstising.

Of course Soccer jerseys are well knwon for their corporate sponsored jerseys. One thing that you notice is that hte ad is far bigger than the tiny team patch on the breast of the jersey. Arsenal Gunners players look like they're instead playing for the Flying Emirates. But the Arsenal Gunners make money by selling this ad space on in-game jerseys.

It's unknown how basketball teams would feature their ads in terms of size, color, and placement. But two WNBA teams have already started this practice, here's the before and after.

Again, this season will only feature ads on practice jerseys but who sees and/or buys the practice jerseys? What are we talkin' bout? Practice?! This is a stepping stone for in-game jersey ads, cheapening the traditionality and purity of the game. However, it seems necessary for some low market teams who can barely make money. Forbes put out a report in December of 2008 showing the most profitable teams. 10 teams were in the negative category in operating income (Bulls, Lakers and Pistons were the top 3). It's doubtful that big name markets (at least initially) would do this, such as the Celtics, Lakers or Knicks. For crying out loud, the Madison Square Garden is still called "The Madison Square Garden," not the McDonalds Square Garden. But lower market teams such as the Wolves, Grizzlies, Thunder, and Clippers may have to do so just to stay in business.

It's possible that the players union can discuss the situation a tthe next Collective Bargaining Agreement meeting but if it's their boss' who are trying to make money so they can PAY these players, what kind of argument will they have?

As a fan, you hope your team doesn't cheapen their name by slapping "Billy Bob's Sushi" on their jersey or become sell-outs and put General Motors on there instead. I can only imagine these teams becoming the butt of some rap lyrics: "You're a sellout like the Wolves sponsoring McDonald, you make me sick, I stay true to the game like the New York Knicks" ... or something a little cooler than that.

Those are the facts. And that's one way to read between the [base]lines.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Goldenstate Warriors trade Marco Belinelli to Toronto for Devean George

The facts:

Belinelli, 23 year old SG, Going into 3rd NBA year
George, 32 year old SF, Going into 11th NBA year

Belinelli owed $1,547,640 in 2009-2010, Team option for $2,380,270 in 2010-2011
George owed $1,600,000 in 2009-2010, FA in 2010

Read between the baselines:
The contracts are matched up and the YEARS are almost the same. George will be a free agent next year and it will be up to the Raptors to decide if they want Belinelli for a 2nd year in Toronto; if not, they can turn him lose to the hyped free agent class of 2010.

Belinelli is a SG and could probably start alongside Jose Calderon, Hedo Turkoglu, Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani. Other players who can play SG on Toronto are: Demar DeRozan (Rookie from USC), Hedo Turkoglu (A Guard/Forward), and Roko Ukic (2nd year player form Croatia). Scouting reports from HoopsHype on Belinelli: "Great outside shooter, good athlete, great leaping skills, good ballhandling skills, very coordinated, should attack the baseket more, not very strong." Barring any other pickups or trades, I'd say Belinelli has a great chance at being inserted into the starting lineup.

George is a SF and if you know the Goldenstate Warriors, they have a lot a lot a lot of swingmen SG/SF type players. These players include: Kelenna Azubuike, Stephen Jackson, Corey Maggette, and Anthony Morrow. The Warriors usually play a lot of swingmen at once and have Brandan Wright, Anthony Randolph in the mix as well. I can only assume that with a starting lineup that may look something like: Monta Ellis, Steven Jackson, Corey Maggette, Anthony Randolph, Andris Biedrins with any of said athletic swingmen, Devean George will get minimal playing time and may get lost in the shuffle.

HoopsHype's take on George: "A good role player, plays good defense and is a decent rebounder for his position. His outside shot lacks consitency. Mediocre ballhandling skills."

The Warriors could always use more defense. Last year during the season, they ranked 28th out of 30 in Defensive Efficiency giving up 110.1 points per 100 posessions. Compare that to Orlando who ranked first giving up 98.9 points per 100 possessions. Devean George could provide some above average defense on some of the opponent's better offensive threats. Devean George was known as a good defender in his championship Laker days, but that was 7-9 years ago. Does he still have it? In his last two years on Dallas, he's average only a little bit over 15 minutes a game. He'll probably get the same amount of minutes on Goldenstate. That being said, he WILL be an upgrade in defense over Belinelli.

Some more facts: The Warriors have a lot of guards/shooting guards with the addition of Stephen Curry and Acie Law to go along with Monta Ellis. Perhaps they decided that Belinelli was the oddman out but I can't help but think they could have gotten something more than Devean George. Unless of course, they honestly think he can help their defense on the wings.

Those are the facts. And that's one way to read between the [base]lines.

Getting started

It's the off season now with signings and trades in full effect. This blog will be reporting just the facts with some between the [base]lines analysis for your reading pleasure.