October 26, 2011
Back in June, fresh off enduring an NBA-worst 17-65 season and knowing a lockout was looming, my fiancee and I inexplicably became Minnesota Timberwolves season ticket holders.
Well, here we are, within a week of what should’ve been the start of the NBA season, and there’s no end to the lockout in sight. We bemoan the mediocre Minnesota sports scene aplenty here at the Peepshow, but what I wouldn’t give to see the T-Wolves back in action.
So, what did I give? Just a mere $193 to catch 41 games at Target Center this season, should it ever happen. Few people know basketball is my favorite sport. The NBA gets a bad rep with its endless regular season, sluggish defense and me-first players, but I see it as a showcase of the world’s best athletes. Come the postseason I’m amazed players can still bring it given the rigors of an 82-game season. It’s impressive.
I’m getting anxious for the lockout to finally end, but I wonder if it’s really been the worst thing that could happen to the NBA from a marketing standpoint. Look past the obvious negatives — no one likes sniffling millionaires comparing the NBA to slavery — and you’ll see many players who’ve used the lockout to grow their brand internationally:
No contract obligations? No problem.
A conspiracy theorist could suggest the NBA lockout is all part of league commissioner David Stern’s goal of growing the game globally. If that’s the case, the players have taken the bait – hook, line and sinker. For every domestic fan the NBA has during the lockout, it has probably gained a dozen more overseas.
The risk of any lockout is disenfranchising the fans and setting the game back several years. Coming off one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory, I couldn’t resist buying season tickets. I knew the lockout was coming. I knew it could even compromise part or all of the season.
So, has this lockout been detrimental to the NBA?
As a first-time season ticket holder, I don’t think so. I bet I’m not alone.