The Golden State Warriors advanced to the NBA Finals last night sweeping the Blazers and earning the team a bit of rest before facing either Milwaukee or Toronto out of the Eastern Conference. This makes 5 consecutive Finals for the Warriors and the last time the NBA had that happen was back in the 60s when the Celtics were playing with the likes of Bill Russell, Tommy Heinsohn and Bob Cousy. Teammates, Steph Curry and Draymond Green both posted Triple Doubles in the game and that is the first time in NBA history that ever happened in a playoff game. Draymond Green had an outstanding game doing just about everything one could want from a player. Stats do not always tell the story, but these stats will give you a pretty good idea of the impact Green had on the game:
- 18 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists – – PLUS – –
- 2 blocked shots and 3 steals.
The Bucks and Raptors will continue their playoff series tonight in Toronto with the Bucks leading 2 games to 1. The oddsmakers opened this game with the Bucks as a 1-point favorite but that spread has expanded to 2.5 points most everywhere and to 3 points at one of the Internet sportsbooks.
I understand that hyperbole and self-congratulation are staples in the announcements that accompany sports and network deals. Those deals are always superb and heavenly and the like; so, I was not shocked to see that the WNBA TV deal with CBS Sports Network TV was hailed as one of the great achievements of Western Civilization. From the CBS side of the table we learned from Sean McManus:
“This partnership is one of the biggest and most impactful women’s sports programming arrangements ever at CBS Sports, offering national exposure of 40 games per year. This agreement provides great live content throughout the summer in primetime and on weekends, and aligns two great brands in the WNBA and CBS Sports. We look forward to working with the WNBA for many years to come.”
That is pretty standard fare for events of this kind and so we now turn to Adam Silver – the NBA Commissioner – who still fronts for the WNBA 23 years after it came into existence:
“Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, the WNBA is joining an elite lineup of premium sports programming. We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women’s basketball and for providing another platform to showcase the world-class athletes of the WNBA.”
“An elite lineup of premium sports programming?” Seriously? CBS Sports Network simulcasts sports-talk radio programs for much of the day but here is the elite lineup of sports they will present to you for the next several days – until the first WNBA telecast – during prime time:
- College Bowling
- PWBA Bowling
- British Touring Car Championship
- Blancpain GT World Challenge (White Bread? Is this a cooking show?)
- Supercars Championship
- PBR Bull Riding
- Collegiate Bass Fishing (Do they give athletic scholarships for fishing?)
- Major League Rugby
- WNBA game (Sky versus Lynx)
- Lion Fight 55 (It’s some sort of MMA event)
That is the family of elite/premium sports programming the WNBA has joined. If that is elite, I am pleased to be a plebian…
Speaking of TV deals, the XFL 2.0 has reached 2 TV deals – each of 3-years in duration – with Disney and with FOX. The league will begin play in February 2020 and these deals will put every XFL game on television – either on cable or on over-the-air network TV. About half the games will be on network TV; that is important because that means fans will have a better chance of finding the games and then choosing to watch them or not. [Aside: The lineup above on cable CBS sports TV does not afford the WNBA such a luxury.] And as the Bard of Avon might say here:
“Aye, there’s the rub…”
The XFL product on the field must be accepted by the viewing public as an interesting and acceptable way to spend a few hours a week because there will be a laser focus on the ratings that the games attract. The audiences have to be “of a certain size” AND the audiences must continue to show interest in the product. No one is going to dig deeply into the demographics of the WNBA game (Sky versus Lynx) next weekend to read any kinds of future tea leaves. The ratings for that game will be down in “infomercial territory” and most everyone knows that from the start. The XFL 2.0 will not enjoy such a lax overview.
The good news for the XFL 2.0 TV deal is that the league is not buying the TV time from the network as did the AAF. Rather, the networks will absorb all the costs of producing the games for telecast and the networks will keep all the advertising money that comes in. The networks’ coverage of production costs is a plus for the XFL 2.0; it means they will burn money at a lower rate. The lack of any split in the advertising revenue that comes in is not a plus because the XFL 2.0 must have incoming revenue to survive and getting money back from the networks as part of the rights package is one of the big revenue streams. The AAF business model did not work; we shall see about the XFL 2.0 business model…
Finally, Dwight Perry had this comment in the Seattle Times recently:
“Colts owner Jim Irsay forked over $718,750 to buy John Lennon’s famed piano.
“Hey, Jim, when the player-personnel people said they wanted Peppers, they meant Julius, not Sgt.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………