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I admit I don't watch much NBA on TV, but the recent allegations made by the disgraced NBA official who admitted to "fixing games" are not a surprise. David Stern's manipulation starts way back when the New York Knicks wound up, somehow, with the NBA's first pick, Patrick Ewing.
The suggestion that NBA officials did not call fouls on the league's top players is only a strong recognition by the commissioner that fans want to see the top stars play, and they can't do so if they're sitting on the bench or in the locker room when the game is still on.
Would movie fans go see a Summer blockbuster film if Will Smith . . . Adam Sandler . . . or Mike Myers were not in it? The likelihood is probably not. So, don't be so hard on David Stern. He's just trying to do his job and earn the NBA the highest possible rights fees from the multitude of TV networks that compete to broadcast the league, not only in North America, but across the entire planet. Let's face it, the NBA derives about 75 percent of its total revenue from TV rights fees and the best way to keep the ratings high enough to warrant the billion dollar payments is to have the stars out on the court.
David Stern is being accused of doing his job well. I don't see anyone going after Vince McMahon and the WWE. Okay, maybe, that's a bit strong. But sports TV revenue is SO BIG that there is tremendous pressure on the leagues' Commissioners to deliver the projected ratings so that the advertisers will continue to pay inflated rates for not only :30 spots, but the Billboards and on-screen sponsorships of the line-ups, player profiles and on and on.
Perhaps David Stern may not get out of this one so clean. And I hope Tim Donaghy doesn't have a one car accident near his Florida home anytime soon.
Till next time.