According to Jazz president Greg Miller, the team will try its best not to schedule home games on Sundays during the playoffs. “Why?” you might ask.
Well, apparently, they draw so few fans on Sundays that it’s not in the organization’s best business interest to operate. Keeping in mind that this is a long-established tradition for the only team in Utah from one of the four major sports leagues, I say the following to Miller and Co.:
Why should you be given special considerations because you can’t draw on Sundays? You are one of the finest teams in the NBA. You stand fourth in the competitive Western Conference, and ESPN’s John Hollinger ranks you third overall in his Power Rankings. And you have two stars in Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer that should remind residents of Salt Lake City of some mildly notable point guard–power forward tandem of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
So the day isn’t the problem. There are enough incentives for fans to show up to a game at three in the morning. Instead, the problem lies with the marketing department.
Change it up or something. Feature new promotions, give discounts, do whatever you can. Just don’t expect the league to bail you out by scheduling your games on the days you prefer. How is that fair?
I remember watching the NBA Finals (the FINALS!) in 2002 and 2003, and the Nets’ home arena wasn’t even close to full. You didn’t see them complaining about it, did you? And they had the Lakers and Spurs, two huge draws, in those series.
This release pairs well with some other news out of the NBA’s office. David Stern said he probably wouldn’t want another team to establish in New Jersey after the Nets leave. He thinks that a team would not be able to thrive economically in what many refer to as basketball Siberia.
However, is the market in Salt Lake City a true issue? It’s not very populated, that’s for sure. But it’s good enough for the Pac-10 conference, which is considering adding Utah amid scrutinizing examination of its market to see if it will be economically suitable.
It all raises an interesting question about the NBA. Should the league allow teams to operate in cities where economic success isn’t feasible? In recent years, we’ve seen the Sonics move from Seattle to Oklahoma City and the Grizzlies move from Vancouver to Memphis.
If teams aren’t making money, should we let them stay where they are?
My initial thinking is no. When teams are strapped for cash, they cut payroll. When they cut payroll, their teams get worse. Meanwhile, teams like the Lakers and Knicks thrive. What does it all mean? A dissolution of parity in the NBA, which no one wants.
But then, are there enough big markets to host all the NBA’s teams? Probably not. Then again, the NBA could benefit from some reduction. Not that it will ever happen, given the pull of the Players’ Association.
In the end, it obviously doesn’t bother me that teams are losing money. But when you ask the league to make concessions and special arrangements for you because you can’t take full advantage of your situation, then I get upset.
Just focus on the game and trying to win. You have the tools, and maybe people will start showing up on the Day of Rest if you bring home some hardware.