Thursday, February 14, 2008

NBA: European Expansion

Sports Illustrated is reporting that David Stern is planning to expand the NBA into Europe. This idea surfaced for the first time back in 2003 when Stern stated that it would happen within the next ten years. It is five years later, and apparently he is planning on keeping his word. With a pending announcement on the exact plan to franchise into the European market it looks likely that up to five teams will make up a European Division. This will not be a separate entity like NFL Europe, these teams will compete against the existing franchising in a full 82 game season in search of a Championship. I’m hoping that Stern has thought this out to every single angle, because it’s going to completely change the game. Off the top of my head I came up with a number or reasons why I wouldn’t want this to become a reality:

  • Travel Distances which then effect the following
    • Jet Lag = Fatigue
    • Extends the Schedule to Accommodate Travel Time
    • Long Road Trips. Do they come over for weeks at a time, or do my Cavs have to take a European Vacation to hit series with the clubs. Also, with only five teams there are teams going to get shafted on the number of games they must play overseas versus teams that don’t have to spend much time over there.
  • Money
    • Obviously it will always be the main motivation for a move like this in terms of the business aspects.
    • The Euro versus The American Dollar
    • Are European Owners going to have to throw insane amounts of cash at players to get them to play for those teams? If so, then what will that do to the sport in terms of contract sizes and the salary cap?
  • TV Coverage
    • Time Differences. Think about how annoying it will be to watch your team, having to stay up too late or get up too early.

I think that there is a number of variables to consider, and I will be waiting for them to unveil the plan to tackle such an expansion. Granted it’s not as bad as when there were NBA Asia rumors, but it is still going to be problematic to the sport.

4Real Out….