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Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« on: July 22, 2008, 09:12:04 AM »

Offline SShoreFan 2.0

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With the Olympic$ due up in a few weeks, I thought it would be interesting to post what Mark Cuban's thoughts about the Olympic$ and the NBA.  Like him or not, you have to admit the man is interesting.

Read what he has to say and (if so moved) let me know what you think.


The following is taken from Mark Cuban's blog site.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The NBA and the Olympics

Jun 22nd 2008 12:33PM
This is my original post on the NBA and the Olympics. One thing I will add to it is for each and every blogger who so desires to undertake a simple test. On your blog, add a picture of the Olympics 5 Rings and a picture of your favorite player in their Olympic uniform. Underneath the pictures, add the caption, "My Official Olympics Update" and then chronicle that player in the Olympics with pictures from the official Olympics website. Show your patriotism and pride... that is until the you get a takedown letter or a Cease and Desist ordering you to take it down.

Thats how much about country and pride the Olympics is these days....

A 2nd item to generate some thought is the concept of players and coaches "And 1ing" their nationalities in order to be able to participate or to better market themselves. Whats "And 1ing" ? Being born and/or raised in one country but leveraging a ancestral link to another country where your odds are better to make the team. So for instance, your great, great grandfather was born in Upper Slobobia. in order to play on the Upper Slobobian basketball or handball team, you get a passport from there. Thats "And 1ing". Adding a nationality so that you can play on their team.

Or what about giving up citizenship from your native country to come here and play on our team. Is that what we want to root for as we face an onslaught of commercials on one of who knows how many cable networks that GE will be filling with Olympic programming ?

Are we sure the Olympics is about patriotism and pride ? Or is it about commercialism ? Im certaintly not against GE and the US Olympic Team making as much money as they possibly can on the game. More power to them. But lets not lie to ourselves about what is going on.

Here is my original post from more than 4 years ago.
NBA and the Olympics

Apr 7th 2004 10:54AM

Once again I was asked about my position on NBA players and the Olympics. One question from 1 reporter usually leads to followups form 100 more. So in the interest of disclosure, fairness and time, I decided to post the response here and save myself some time.....

In the sports marketing world, advertisers usually have a set sports marketing budget. Each advertiser gets pitched by all the different sports entities competing for those dollars. Among those competitors are both the Olympics and NBA. One of the beauties of the NBA pitch is that our athletes are so recognizable, personable and respected. The ability for an advertiser to connect their products to KG, Tim Duncan, Shaq, Dirk, etc, individually, or by buying sponsorship or commercials in game, is a huge selling point for us. It should be a huge selling point exclusively available to the NBA, but unfortunately that is no longer the case.

When the NBA was broadcast on NBC, it was far less of an issue. With NBC as the home of the Olympics and the NBA broadcast partner, there were a ton of cross promotional and selling opportunities. NBC could promote the Olympics in NBA games, and promote the NBA in the Olympics broadcasts. NBC could require advertisers to buy NBA advertising in order to get Olympic advertising,or vice versa. There were untold win - win scenarios by having both the Olympics and the NBA together at NBC.

That obviously is not longer the case. The NBA is now on ESPN/ABC and TNT. They are paying us a lot of money in a deal that has been working well for all invovled. What in the world are we doing helping our partners competition ? Why are we giving our most valuable manpower to a huge business, the Olympics so they can try to take revenue away from the NBA and our partners ?

Lets put this in basketball terms...Would you trade KG, TD, Peja, Jermaine and 10 more all stars , and pay their salaries in case they get hurt , for ..........nothing.

In exchange for providing our best players to the Olympics, the value we are supposed to receive is increased visibility and demand for the NBA, its players and merchandise. The value of which can be quantified as the total revenues received annually by each team from international TV and merchandise sales.

I wont tell you what that number is,but I can tell you it wouldnt pay the salary of a player signed for the million dollar exception this year.

So we are subsidizing the US Olympic committee by:

- Providing players that we pay for

- Reducing the amount of advertising dollars available to the NBA and our broadcast partners by allowing advertisers to use our players via Olympic broadcasts and programs

- Putting our most valuable players at risk, with the possibility of having to pay their salaries even if they are unable to perform,or to perform at the previous levels

- Potentially cheating our fans and customers who make investments in our league, teams and products, with players who are worn down or injured from their Olympic experience

- Whats even crazier is that the USA fans who buy our tickets and pay the players salary probably wont even get to see our stars in more than the Gold medal game. If that !

Where is the logic in any of this ?

I understand that players want to represent their countries. Thats great. Lets put toegether an NBA organized and sanctioned international competition that we can control and profit from. We can allow any country to enter a team, and let NBA players represent their country.

If its that important, lets also expand the exhibitions the NBA plays in and against other countries. Im all for international play as long as its in the context of an NBA program that gives consideration to the core NBA fan, customer and partner first and foremost.

If you agree, call your favorite team and tell them you dont want your players participating in the Olympics. You want them getting ready for the next season. And then order your season tickets :)
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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2008, 09:30:22 AM »

Offline ChampKind

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Cuban goes off on a lot of tangents there.  First he calls out the Olympics for squashing patriotism for going after blogs - fine, that's justifiable.  But then he essentially rescinds that by saying that he doesn't want America's best athletes to compete.  I understand the worry, and the possibility of losing the return on your investment, but this ultimately should be up to the player to decide, or at worse a contract clause which determines Olympic eligibility.  I don't think teams should have the right to keep their players from playing in the Olympics.

By placing the emphasis here on the financial side, Cuban is missing the point of the Olympics.  In fact, we probably all are, since there's very little rivalry to drive our patriotism anymore.  We don't have a Cold War opponent, or a USSR to go up against, so the impact of winning gold medals just isn't the same.  As a result, issues like marketing and branding have come to the forefront.  We all subsidize the Olympics, and athletes wearing our colors are our team - they represent us on a worldwide scale in the most respected competition in history.  To me, that's worth the investment, to Cuban, whose stakes are much higher, maybe it's not.

But I'll be watching every night, from handball to archery, just because the Olympics are still something special, and a cause to get excited and make exceptions.  Unfortunately, I may be part of a dwindling population that feels that way.
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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2008, 10:07:02 AM »

Offline Who

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I had no problems with this when international competitions were short and sweet. Just the Olympics every four years for a couple of weeks. Fine. Take the players and enjoy being part of a sacred tournament.

But what we have now? This is just ridiculous. It's every summer now. It's just too much. There's no way international committees should get the players without playing compensation. The burden on players nowadays is also ridiculous, they need to start sitting out some of these competitions and let their body rest. They're hurting their careers.

Most NBA teams do suffer adverse consequences from players playing in international basketball. They should be compensated for that.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2008, 02:30:39 PM »

Offline Amonkey

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First of all, how much does the US Olympic really make?  I was at the mall and there was something there where when we buy a card, one dollar goes to the US Olympic Committee or something like that, so if these guys are taking donations tell me that theyre not making that much money in the first place.

Also, I wonder how the other leagues do it too.  Its not like the NBA is the only one sending players out there.  Actually, most of the players come from Europeans leagues, so are they complaining, adapting?  How do they deal with this?

Personally, Mark Cuban is just a ****.  I understand his argument, but its ultimately up to the players decide.  If the players have enough national pride like his own player Dirk does (which I wish it would improve here in the US) then just let them play.  I mentioned Dirk because it appears that Dirk was crying like a small child when his team qualified for the Olympics.  Maybe Cuban is just mad that his best player doesnt care as much about the NBA as he does with international basketball, as Dirk was crying just for the fact that he can compete in the Olympics.
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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2008, 02:33:00 PM »

Offline zerophase

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I had no problems with this when international competitions were short and sweet. Just the Olympics every four years for a couple of weeks. Fine. Take the players and enjoy being part of a sacred tournament.

But what we have now? This is just ridiculous. It's every summer now. It's just too much. There's no way international committees should get the players without playing compensation. The burden on players nowadays is also ridiculous, they need to start sitting out some of these competitions and let their body rest. They're hurting their careers.

Most NBA teams do suffer adverse consequences from players playing in international basketball. They should be compensated for that.

okay, first of all, the players were INVITED to the program. they asked them for a yearly commitment and none of them were required to enter.

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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2008, 02:36:17 PM »

Offline SShoreFan 2.0

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My simplistic version is the professionals should stay home.  I loved the 1992 Dream Team, but since then it's been a debacle.  Send the kids, let them get roughed up if the have to. 

The part that made the 1980 Lake Placid win over the Soviets so great was that it was our kids vs. their professionals.

I'd rather watch Cinderella at the Olympics and the best of the rest in the NBA.
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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2008, 02:50:34 PM »

Offline Redz

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My simplistic version is the professionals should stay home.  I loved the 1992 Dream Team, but since then it's been a debacle.  Send the kids, let them get roughed up if the have to. 

The part that made the 1980 Lake Placid win over the Soviets so great was that it was our kids vs. their professionals.

I'd rather watch Cinderella at the Olympics and the best of the rest in the NBA.

If she had any game she'd be there.  It's those [dang] glass slippers she insists on wearing holding her back - slip slidin' all over the court.  Plus there's that whole curfew thing that gets confusing when she's in different time zones around the earth.

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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2008, 02:51:35 PM »

Offline Amonkey

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Quote
My simplistic version is the professionals should stay home.  I loved the 1992 Dream Team, but since then it's been a debacle.  Send the kids, let them get roughed up if the have to.

The part that made the 1980 Lake Placid win over the Soviets so great was that it was our kids vs. their professionals.

I'd rather watch Cinderella at the Olympics and the best of the rest in the NBA.

The thing is the Olympics have events that are the best of best, and others that are not so important.  For example, for track, swimming, gymnastics, the Olympics is the absolute top.  For soccer and some extent volleyball, its the competitive, but not necessarily the best.

The World Cup has the absolute best players playing for national pride, which excels any league championship, money and team pride that may come from other tournaments.  Thats why its so beautiful!  You see players from an African country toe to toe with any european countries and to know that both nations are equally relying on these players for national pride.  Thats why teams like Australia can come up with cinderella stories and all these awesome stories come from.

The point?  I think the Olympics is trying to make basketball as relevant as that.  Right now theres the World Championship and the Olympics as premiers international tournaments.  I think theyre trying to bring the national pride out and have the best players competing to make every tournament a great story.  Some places already feel that way.  Unfortunately USA is behind that.

Then again, I would be a little concerned if we had an injured Celtics player playing.
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Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2008, 03:29:57 PM »

Offline guava_wrench

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The players are under contract. They cannot play for other professional teams while under contract, but it is considered OK for them to play for their national team in the Olympics.

Cuban has a valid point in stating that these players who are under contract with NBA teams are making tons of money for sponsors and networks that pay nothing to the players nor to their bosses.

It is silly to discuss wear and tear itself, since the player can decide how he chooses to play out his career. The only problem is that they are under contract and have a commitment to their team. Owners and sponsors should not have to honor contracts if a player damages his career through an injury in the Olympics playing for a team that doesn't pay them wearing the uniform of a sponsor that also doesn't pay them.

The players are clearly not the bad guys in this, as they just want to be part of something big and help teams win, regardless of the possible effect on their careers.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2008, 03:53:05 PM »

Offline cordobes

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Cuban should sign with his players contracts that would allow him to fire them if they play international tournaments. Or contracts that simply don't allow them to play international basketball. I'd like the Celtics to do it.

But it's this simple, nothing else to add. If he doesn't do that, or doesn't want to, I can't even understand what is he complaining about.

Soccer clubs had, and have, reasons to complain. They are being compensated now, but probably it's still not enough.

I had no problems with this when international competitions were short and sweet. Just the Olympics every four years for a couple of weeks. Fine. Take the players and enjoy being part of a sacred tournament.

But what we have now? This is just ridiculous. It's every summer now. It's just too much. There's no way international committees should get the players without playing compensation. The burden on players nowadays is also ridiculous, they need to start sitting out some of these competitions and let their body rest. They're hurting their careers.

It's pretty much the same as ever, no? Olympics, World Cup, Eurobasket (or other continental competitions), each of one every four years. What has changed?

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2008, 04:07:43 PM »

Offline Who

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Cuban should sign with his players contracts that would allow him to fire them if they play international tournaments. Or contracts that simply don't allow them to play international basketball. I'd like the Celtics to do it.

But it's this simple, nothing else to add. If he doesn't do that, or doesn't want to, I can't even understand what is he complaining about.

It's illegal under NBA contracts, not allowed to tell players they can't compete.

I had no problems with this when international competitions were short and sweet. Just the Olympics every four years for a couple of weeks. Fine. Take the players and enjoy being part of a sacred tournament.

But what we have now? This is just ridiculous. It's every summer now. It's just too much. There's no way international committees should get the players without playing compensation. The burden on players nowadays is also ridiculous, they need to start sitting out some of these competitions and let their body rest. They're hurting their careers.

It's pretty much the same as ever, no? Olympics, World Cup, Eurobasket (or other continental competitions), each of one every four years. What has changed?

It's not the same as ever. NBA athletes didn't take part back in the day. More international players who play more competitions like Eurobasket. More qualifying games than before. More ... more ... more more more.

At the same time the NBA season keeps getting longer, the Celtics taking 26 games to win the title last season.

Their bodies need more rest.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 04:17:40 PM »

Offline cordobes

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Cuban should sign with his players contracts that would allow him to fire them if they play international tournaments. Or contracts that simply don't allow them to play international basketball. I'd like the Celtics to do it.

But it's this simple, nothing else to add. If he doesn't do that, or doesn't want to, I can't even understand what is he complaining about.

It's illegal under NBA contracts, not allowed to tell players they can't compete.

Didn't know, thanks for the info. He should lobby the NBA, then.

I had no problems with this when international competitions were short and sweet. Just the Olympics every four years for a couple of weeks. Fine. Take the players and enjoy being part of a sacred tournament.

But what we have now? This is just ridiculous. It's every summer now. It's just too much. There's no way international committees should get the players without playing compensation. The burden on players nowadays is also ridiculous, they need to start sitting out some of these competitions and let their body rest. They're hurting their careers.

It's pretty much the same as ever, no? Olympics, World Cup, Eurobasket (or other continental competitions), each of one every four years. What has changed?

It's not the same as ever. NBA athletes didn't take part back in the day. More international players who play more competitions like Eurobasket. More qualifying games than before. More ... more ... more more more.

At the same time the NBA season keeps getting longer, the Celtics taking 26 games to win the title last season.

Their bodies need more rest.

I don't think there are more qualifying games. The hosts, the world champs and the continental tournaments winners qualify automatically. Other teams play a 6 days tournament.

International players always played the Eurobasket, the difference is that there are more international players in the NBA. But nobody is going to extinguish Eurobasket because a dozen players, who can't opt not to play, have a long season in the NBA. FIBA won't change their competitions because of the interests of NBA owners. If they're worried, they can short the NBA season or stop hiring players who want to play for their NTs.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2008, 04:27:22 PM »

Offline Who

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International players always played the Eurobasket, the difference is that there are more international players in the NBA. But nobody is going to extinguish Eurobasket because a dozen players, who can't opt not to play, have a long season in the NBA. FIBA won't change their competitions because of the interests of NBA owners. If they're worried, they can short the NBA season or stop hiring players who want to play for their NTs.
Yes I don't think they have any shot at restructuring the schedule and qualifiers for Eurobasket or equivalent competitions.

I think they can make the Olympics and World Basketball Champs more NBA friendly though ... and they can do that by limiting qualifiers to lowly basketball nations and automatically qualifying the regular powerhouses. Remove group games and go straight knock out and the Olympics can keep a similar number of games while widening the field to make up for automatic qualified teams.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2008, 04:36:37 PM »

Offline cordobes

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International players always played the Eurobasket, the difference is that there are more international players in the NBA. But nobody is going to extinguish Eurobasket because a dozen players, who can't opt not to play, have a long season in the NBA. FIBA won't change their competitions because of the interests of NBA owners. If they're worried, they can short the NBA season or stop hiring players who want to play for their NTs.
Yes I don't think they have any shot at restructuring the schedule and qualifiers for Eurobasket or equivalent competitions.

I think they can make the Olympics and World Basketball Champs more NBA friendly though ... and they can do that by limiting qualifiers to lowly basketball nations and automatically qualifying the regular powerhouses. Remove group games and go straight knock out and the Olympics can keep a similar number of games while widening the field to make up for automatic qualified teams.

Yeah, I see your point. But I believe that's pretty much what already happens. 9 teams didn't have to play a single qualifying game. That's 75% of the spots.

Re: Olympic$ / Do you agree with Mark Cuban?
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2008, 04:54:09 PM »

Offline Who

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International players always played the Eurobasket, the difference is that there are more international players in the NBA. But nobody is going to extinguish Eurobasket because a dozen players, who can't opt not to play, have a long season in the NBA. FIBA won't change their competitions because of the interests of NBA owners. If they're worried, they can short the NBA season or stop hiring players who want to play for their NTs.
Yes I don't think they have any shot at restructuring the schedule and qualifiers for Eurobasket or equivalent competitions.

I think they can make the Olympics and World Basketball Champs more NBA friendly though ... and they can do that by limiting qualifiers to lowly basketball nations and automatically qualifying the regular powerhouses. Remove group games and go straight knock out and the Olympics can keep a similar number of games while widening the field to make up for automatic qualified teams.

Yeah, I see your point. But I believe that's pretty much what already happens. 9 teams didn't have to play a single qualifying game. That's 75% of the spots.
Didn't the US have to qualify through playing the America's?

And other nations from similar tournaments? That's 7 places decided by qualifiers.

Then you have the wild card tournament to round it out.

You only have the host and previous Champion automatically qualify. I think that's right, not 100% sure.