Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011



A surprising interview occurred last week in Midtown Manhattan.  A man...who would only identify himself as "Henry"...spoke with a reporter from CNBC.  What was all the hush-hush about?  Okay...it seems "Henry" is a pimp who has fallen on hard times.  You see, his best clients are NBA stars who want a little Overtime fun after playing basketball at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN.  Anyhow, "Henry" charges from $400 to $4,000 a night...depending on the hot-ness factor of the hottie. Thanks to the NBA lockout, he has seen his steady income vanish.  Having read lots of articles about how other "small businesses" had been effected by the NBA lockout, "Henry" empathized with them and wanted America to know his story too!  (Pimps have feelings too.)

Sorry!  For those confused DUNER-BLOG readers outside the US, here's a brief synopsis of the situation:  In a nation where sports heroes are worshiped like demi-gods, no one gets paid more than the basketball stars.  Here are the average annual salaries for professional players in the USA: NBA: $5,150,000.  MLB: $3,120,000.  NFL: $440,000.  Also making lots of cash are the owners.  Here are the average prices for a ticket to a professional game: NBA: $95.10. NFL: $77.36.  MLB: $26.91.  (Do the math...it's a lot of money!) The bottom line is that with absolute wealth comes absolute greed.  324 games have been cancelled while the two sides bicker over billions.

'Ladies of the Evening' in Manhattan are losing money.
Forgotten amongst the heated negotiations at fancy hotels are the little people who depend on NBA games for their income.  It's not just the hookers.  People like the food vendors and ticket takers at the arenas are also out of work.  The aftershocks from the strike resonate much farther than just the venues.  Luxury hotels are also hurting.  The revenue for lodging, food and beverage for fifty NBA players, coaches and prostitutes can net up to $100,000 a night.  And don't forget the press.  Denver Nuggets radio producer JESSE THOMAS said in an interview he's lost $23,500 in salary so far.  However...worst of all...is a Boston-based novelty sports products company.  Owner KEVIN KRUEGER said he's "sold only one 'Beat L.A.' T-shirt all week!"  Ouch! Every one's feeling the pinch.

NOT SO! says DENNIS COATES of the University of Maryland at Baltimore.  In 2000, he conducted a study of the effects of sports labor disputes on local economies. He studied 37 cities and discovered just the opposite to be true.  While there are many 'sob-stories' about a burger joint across the street from the arena going out of business, the overall economic impact on a city is positive.  COATES concluded that "without sports, fans tended to spend their money at restaurants and movie theatres."  This...combined with the gained civic revenue not spent on public safety...outweighed the losses at and around the ballparks.

The forgotten ball boy.
However..for the time being...we here at the DUNER BLOG are going to side with the "little guys" like "Henry." We sincerely hope they can find alternate solutions to their business woes.  (Professional Hockey players, perhaps??)  But...before we go....the most tear-jerking story about the NBA strike is from Philadelphia.  MICHAEL CHERNOW, a ball-boy for the 76ers, was particularly eloquent in his summary of the situation.  Having sat at home for the past five weeks, the teenager bemoaned: "Seeing players complain about millions of dollars is very upsetting for someone who makes only $7.15 an hour!"


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