NY Sports Day

Economy Hitting Nets and NBA

It’s pretty interesting to see how most of the time professional sports operate above many of the constraints that plague its fan base. However, it seems that the economic problems destroying the middle-class in this country are starting to affect the NBA as well.

Here’s a snippet from the Herald’s Al Iannazzone yesterday that I found pretty interesting:

The Nets had three picks in last year’s NBA draft, worked out more than 50 players and it cost them well over $100,000.

This weekend, 36 players will visit their facility over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and it will cost the Nets between $2,000 and $3,000. The difference is about 20 other NBA teams, including the Knicks, will watch these prospects and share the expense.

Welcome to the new NBA, where the economy is forcing teams to cut costs yet still do their jobs.
Commissioner David Stern has encouraged teams to be more fiscally responsible. One way, they decided, is having mass workouts and every attending organization helping defray the costs. Nets president Rod Thorn said to expect more of them.

“I think you’ll keep seeing it,” he said. “From my perspective it’s a heck of a lot of cheaper and you get to see everything you want to see.”

Not a bad idea if you ask me. There’s no reason to spend more than someone makes in a year to have players come down and workout. Sure these guys have to be transported in and taken care of while they’re there, but 100,000 smackers is a bit nuts if you ask me.

That same kind of rational thinking has affected the Nets potential new home as well, as they have changed designs and architects, which has caused a bit of controversy form the New York Times and others who feel the new design is a “colossal, spiritless box.”

Nevertheless, the Nets have to do whatever it takes to get an affordable building up in time before their lease runs out at the Izod Center.

“Unfortunately the world we live in today is very different than what it was three or four years ago when we hired Frank, [Gehry, the original architect for the building]” Nets chief executive Brett Yormark said Wednesday at Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal’s conference on sports facilities and franchises.

“The world is more simplistic. It’s not as grand and glitzy. And I’m not sure that design would have been appropriate right now, as much as we all loved it. I think the design that we have now is very appropriate. It speaks to Brooklyn.”


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