Monday October 25 2010 – 11:52am Eastern – Toronto, ON
In recent days there has been a story swirling around NBA circles that the league MAY look to contract a franchise or two when the current collective bargaining agreement expires on June 30 2011. If the league can’t come to an agreement with the players association — or even if they CAN — David Stern has hinted that contraction may be a way to help curb spending and bring player costs down for the owners and general managers throughout the NBA.
Following a conference call with Stern last week, Associated Press quoted the Commish (a story that was even picked up on NBA.com as well), saying:
“It’s a sensitive subject for me because I’ve spent 27 years in this job working very hard not only to maintain all of our teams, but along the way add a few. But I think that’s a subject that will be on the table with the players as we look to see what’s the optimum way to present our game, and are there cities and teams that cannot make it in the current economic environment. I’m not spending a lot of time on it.”
But the Toronto Raptors will NOT be one of those teams.
Though some (many?) folks in the U.S. media treat Canada/Toronto-bashing as some sort of tradition or national past-time, the fact is that the Raptors are one of the more profitable organizations in the NBA. Making the playoffs only 5 times in 15 years is nothing to write home about, but the fan base has continued to support the Raps through thick and thin. The attendance figures put Toronto in the Top 10 – or top half at the very least – of the league year after year. And the TV broadcasts generate Top 5 ratings (though that fact gets ignored here in Canada) when compared with the other markets around the league.
So ignore B.S. stories from folks like BleacherReport.com that try to tell you otherwise.
I’m not here to rip on the folks at Bleacher Report. I’m sure they normally run a respectable, reputable website. I don’t know it well enough to give my own opinion of their overall body of work. However, in this case … with the story above … they’re completely out to lunch.
Two things (if not more) are wrong with their story.
1 – The headline: “NBA Open To Contraction, but No Teams Specified Like Raptors, Bobcats, Grizzlies”
I’ll ignore the fact that it’s just a terrible headline. The headline implies that the Raptors are in trouble or that they’d be on the list of teams that could be facing contraction. But then their article doesn’t even mention the Raptors! So why even throw them out so arbitrarily in the headline?!
That leads me to point number two …
2 – The story doesn’t reflect the headline. The Raptors aren’t mentioned in the body of the text. Though Toronto is foolishly highlighted in the headline, the story uses a list compiled by FORBES magazine to back-up the argument of teams that could be faced with the contraction issue.
Bleacher Report states that the bottom 10 teams in the league – in terms of “VALUE” – as stated by Forbes are as follows:
20 – Portland – $307 million
21 – Atlanta – $306 million
22 – Indiana – $303 million
23 – Minnesota – $301 million
24 – Oklahoma City – $300 million
25 – LA Clippers – $297 million
26 – New Jersey – $295 million
27 – Memphis - $294 million
28 – New Orleans – $285 million
29 – Charlotte – $284 million
30 – Milwaukee – $278 million
Again, the Raptors aren’t mentioned in the story and they certainly aren’t listed in the bottom 10 teams RE: “value”
In fact, a further check of Forbes reveals THIS:
The Raptors are 11th in the NBA … valued at $400 million!
So, according to the Bleacher Report headline, a team that is just out of the Top 10 (in value) in its league is facing potential contraction? A team that is owned be a group that owns the arena they play in, the biggest money-making hockey team in the country (the Leafs), condos, restaurants, and a soccer team … is going to be gone from the league?
This stinks of more ignorance regarding the Canadian market – and Toronto specifically. This is arbitrary accusation – with little research or reason – at its finest.
The Raptors are going nowhere folks. Book it.
For those interested, here is the TOP TEN (in terms of value) in the NBA:
1 – New York – $613 million
2 – LA Lakers – $584 million
3 – Chicago – $504 million
4 – Detroit – $480 million
5 – Cleveland – $477 million
6 – Houston – $469 million
7 – Dallas – $466 million
8 – Phoenix – $452 million
9 – Boston – $447 million
10 – San Antonio – $415 million
* 11 – Toronto – $400 million