Thursday, June 19, 2008

A few random and unrelated observations

The NBA has recently had to fend off accusations that it actively worked to ensure that large market teams like the Los Angeles Lakers advanced in the playoffs. Even if the new allegations are false, the league has long been suspected of assigning specific referees to playoff games in an attempt to subtlety influence results and ensure that big market teams did as well as possible. There have even been whispers for years that the league has rigged its draft lottery to ensure that teams in big markets have an advantage.

Major league baseball currently has a salary system that greatly favors large market teams, virtually ensuring that several teams from markets like New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles are contenders every year. Fans in small markets complain, but nobody in ownership or the players union seems to mind.

The NFL recently opened the door to dropping its suspension of star cornerback Adam 'Pacman' Jones. Jones had been suspended indefinitely while playing for the small-market Tennessee Titans, but the league softened its stance shortly after he was traded to the league's flagship franchise, the Dallas Cowboys. The NFL also raised eyebrows by declaring the Spygate scandal investigation closed, in a move that many saw as an attempt to protect the big market New England Patriots.

Meanwhile, Gary Bettman and the NHL have taken a break from actively obstructing the Maple Leafs pursuit of a big-name general manager to announce that they are going to court in an attempt to remove the New York Rangers owners. When not making trouble for their biggest market teams, Bettman and friends appear to spend all their time trying to keep the small market American teams happy.

In completely unrelated news, the NBA has set attendance records three years in a row, MLB business is at an all-time high, and the NFL is the most powerful and successful sports league in North American history.

Meanwhile, the NHL struggles along. Revenue is up thanks mainly to the Canadian dollar, but business in the US is flat and the league continues to need to pad its announced ticket sales with freebies in order to claim that attendance is rising.

So good work, Gary. Keep working hard to pick fights with those big markets. You obviously know something that all those other league's don't.

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