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Tuesday, August 01, 2021

in spirit
The 30-team National Basketball Association divvies up its television revenue 31 ways each month — 30 checks to each franchise, and one to Ozzie and Dan Silna.

Who are the lucky guys? The former owners of the long-defunct Spirits of St. Louis from the long-defunct American Basketball Association. And their cut is the result of what’s turned out to be a sweetheart deal that facilitated the merger of the ABA and NBA thirty years ago.

In 1976 the ABA reached a merger deal with the NBA. The NBA agreed to take four of the six teams from the dismantling ABA. The Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels were not invited to join the league. However, the ABA owners needed to reach unanimous approval for the merger to take place.

John Y. Brown, owner of the Kentucky Colonels, quickly accepted a $3.3-million buyout as compensation. That deal was also offered to the Silnas.

But Ozzie Silna kept haggling for more, and he finally reached a deal in a swank Massachusetts hotel room. The Silnas would get $3 million, plus a share of the TV revenue from the four teams entering the NBA.

“When we accepted the arrangement, the big thing was that the NBA had television” and the ABA didn’t, said Silna. “But still, the TV revenue was minuscule compared with baseball and the NFL.”

Initially, the contract netted the Silnas about $300,000 a year as the NBA struggled with spotty attendance and weak TV ratings until the ’80s, when Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan catapulted the league to a higher profile.

As the NBA’s popularity rose, so did the league’s TV contract and the Silnas’ cut. For the NBA’s last contract, they averaged $15 million a year.

“The process never even entered our minds of how high it would get,” Ozzie Silna said. “We just wanted a piece of the action.”

They are due an even larger jackpot from the NBA’s current contract, which began in 2002. That six-year, $4.6-billion deal with ABC/ESPN and TNT could earn them upward of $24 million annually, according to Silna.

Without having to dole out salaries or money on stadium leases, the Silnas earn more each season than most NBA teams.

As close to hitting the jackpot as you can get in the business side of pro sports.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/01/2021 11:50:16 PM
Category: Basketball, SportsBiz
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boom goes the rang
I ordered it via Amazon this weekend, and today it arrived: My new boomerang, pictured above.

A boomerang?

Yes, a boomerang. I had one in college, a pickup from some museum giftstore. It was one of the more fun outdoor toys I recall getting for myself. Once I got the hang of the proper throwing motion (like a football toss — overhand downward motion, flicking the wrist as you let go), it was a thrill. Not the least because it was usually a gamble as to whether or not the thing would fly back in a catchable motion, or else in a menacing wobble that would end up bouncing off your head (or other unfortunate body part).

This one looks sturdier than the one I had back then. Good thing, as the old one deteriorated rather quickly from all the wear and tear. Hopefully I’ll get some mileage out of it.

Now the question is, where am I going to throw it? New York’s not the ideal setting for a potentially injurious throwing stick that needs at least an acre of flyzone. I’ll have to take it with me to a nice, open green space somewhere out in the country.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/01/2021 11:20:02 PM
Category: General
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out of pocket
Well, my biggest fear as an urban commuter has come to pass:

Somehow, I lost my MetroCard today, the first time I’ve ever done so. And yes, as luck would have it, I had a significant dollar amount loaded onto it — I think it was at least $12. So basically, I dropped twelve bucks somewhere in the NYC subway system.

I blame the pants I was wearing. Yeah, that’s it. A more treacherous pair I never did wear.

It’s not earth-shattering, but it’s kinda galling. If I’d lost it with a balance of a mere four dollars, I wouldn’t think twice about it. Although, aside from this post, I’m not really thinking twice about this. I’ve already gotten a fresh MetroCard, and loaded it with twenty bucks. Life goes on.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 08/01/2021 10:50:10 PM
Category: New Yorkin'
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