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Broadcasting fees for NBA way too high

By By Stan Torgerson
April 25, 2002
Whomever convinced the television networks to pay a gazillion bucks for the right to broadcast NBA basketball and major league baseball must be among the greatest salesmen of all time.
The current rounds of the pro basketball playoffs are totally boring. Watching a bunch of overpaid, play only if they're in the mood athletes participate in what is supposed to pass for the highest level of the sport is something the average sports fan can, and does, do without and the ratings show it.
When it gets down to the two finalists the audience will likely increase somewhat but never to a size that will justify the fees being paid for the "privilege" of broadcasting the games.
As for major league baseball, game in and game out it it moves so slowly that the noise in the average den is the sound of snoring, not cheering. Yes, it could be fun to watch Barry Bonds come to the plate for his home run specialty, but half the time he walks and I'm not willing to sit through three hours of pitcher's mound conferences in order to watch three minutes of Bonds finally getting to swing at the ball.
Sport fans tastes have changed. They have come to like, and expect, action, continual action which is why the NCAA Basketball Tournament is a much better show than the NBA and why pro and college football have long since replaced baseball as the American Pastime.
It's also why NASCAR has found an audience while baseball is losing its. Paying ball players an average of about $2 million a season to play 162 games makes you wonder how the owners had the smarts required to make a fortune in order to buy one of these teams. Ticket prices are way up. Hot dog prices are way up. Cold beer prices are way up.
The money has to be generated to pay these outrageous salaries and what better way than for the owners to stick their collective hands deeper in their customer's pockets. Sooner or later the goose that laid the golden eggs baseball players take home twice a month is going to die off or, at the least, get very sickwhether the union and the owners believe that or not…..
On the subject of other village idiots, did you notice the prices that were posted this week for the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis alleged world heavyweight championship fight in Memphis June 8.
If you missed it, the sliding scale per ticket is $2,400, $1,400, $900, $500, and $250. The promoters say it could be the most lucrative bouts in the history of the sport with a gross in excess of $100 million. Each fighter is expected to take home $20 million.
Since the casinos in Tunica are nearby, each fighter will headquarter there. No one knows what the take will be at the tables but it will be enough to make the casinos very happy indeed. The motel owners, the restaurant proprietors and the night club operators in the area will be as well.
It makes you wonder what the cable TV companies will charge for the closed circuit broadcast. Does $50 sound about right? If they get $35 for a run-of-the-mill fight card why not $50 for the "Fight of the Century?" Why not more? And if the fight ends in round one and you've gotten only two minutes of entertainment for your money, simply kiss the television screen and tell yourself you've been had again. Isn't a kiss mandatory after something like that is done to you?….
Nolan Richardson has made one of the most ungraceful exits in sports. When he was fired as the Arkansas basketball coach it was amazing how much sympathy there was for a man who was paid $3 million to take a walk. Thousands of people bought his "Yes, I said I hoped they would buy me out but I really didn't mean it." statement.
How much sympathy do you think there is now after his recent outburst?
And when interviewer Bryant Gumbel asked Richardson if he thought Broyles was a racist, the former coach responded, "Somewhat, yes."
If he really wants to continue coaching, and he says he does, there is very little market for loose cannons in the college basketball business. Schools prize loyalty second only to a winning record. Grab your $3 million and take up fishing, Mr. Richardson. You've got to do something to stay busy from this point on….
In this man's opinion, the New Orleans Saints had a heck of a draft. They got the people they wanted in the early rounds and lucked into some diamonds in the rough in the later ones. How the newcomers will blend with the free agent signees and the holdover players remains to be seen but no one can say the Saints stood still.
My sentimental favorite in the draft was Will Overstreet, the former Jackson prep star who played at Tennessee. He was drafted in the third round by Atlanta and time will prove he was a real steal. No one works harder or smarter than Overstreet. Don't tell me he's smaller than he should be or slower than the scouts like. This kid's heart is the biggest part of his body and he will be a star.
At least that's one man's opinion.

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