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LeBron may not have a ring, but he made Heat owners a lot of money

Jun 21, 2011, 1:38 PM EDT

LeBron Sunglasses

Heat fans – well, actually mostly Heat haters — were beating up LeBron James after fourth quarter struggles in the finals. The Internet is no fan of the “don’t kick a man when he’d down” axiom.

But the Heat’s management has been nothing but supportive. In part because they know if they want another banner LeBron is key to getting it for them.

And in part because he is making that franchise a lot of money, as Ira Winderman reported at the Sun Sentinel.

“I know the Heat’s franchise value went up $60 million after signing LeBron,” said Dr. Patrick Rishe, who calculated the LeBron Effect for business magazine Forbes. “You had ticket sales going up, sponsorships and local media deals going up. It’s hard to think of any one athlete whose changing of teams [is comparable]….”

Ratings for Heat regular-season games on Sun Sports were nearly twice as high as the previous season. The Heat-Mavericks Finals helped lift ABC to its best summer week in nearly 10 years. No matter that much of the nation tuned in hoping to see King James defrocked.

(Magic VP Pat) Williams recalled the philosophy of Bill Veeck, the late, great sports promoter: “If you’re going to have a rival, have a heated one. Have a hated one. Do it publicly. It’s good for the box office,” Williams said.

Two notes. One is that for all the talk about how much money LeBron (or Kobe Bryant or Dwight Howard, etc.) make on max contracts, they are still a real value to the team. Those elite players generate way more income for the franchise than they are paid.

Secondly, all that momentum, everything that LeBron — love him or hate him — helped sparked would be undercut by a lockout that costs regular season games.

  1. Justin - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    I just think it is insane how much he shot up the value of that franchise even though they already had Dwayne Wade. I don’t pay too much attention to Miami besides in the playoffs but is Wade under appreciated or something?

    • tiz305 - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Locally Wade is a Hero…he brought us our first championship. LeBron’s addition adds value in the National and Global markets. You cant listen to anything basketball related for more than 5 minutes without hearing a reference to this team.

      • Justin - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        Gotcha. Well those 2 definitely earn their max contracts based on how much money they make for their teams.

      • tashkalucy - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:30 PM

        Of course you hear this nationally and globally!

        What do you think the plan is between the 3 real partners — Lebron, Inc., Nike and ESPN?

        You make super teams. ESPN pushes the heck out of them (is there a “Laker Index? a “Mav Index”?). EPN doesn’t have a local contract, it has a national contract. It wants to fill its TV schedule with sexy teams from glamour markets as it has been doing with the Red Sox and Yankees in MLB for over 2 decades. The all-star players go to 3-4 teams, ESPN primarily televises their games and gets good ratings so they can sell advertising at higher and higher costs, and Nike and he players can more easily market their products nationally and globally.

        This is why there’s a lockout that will kill the 2011-12 season and possibly beyond. While this is all nice for the owners of the selected teams, where does this leave the owners and fans in markets like Portland, Sacraments, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Utah, Minnesota and 10 other franchises? Those team will have no chance to win championships, their purpose to to give young NBA players a chance to gain experience in the NBA and build a name for themselves so they can either play out their ption and go to one of the glamour teams (James, Bosh) or force a trade to them (Anthony).

        The agents and sponsors want the NBA to be like MLB…..where the good players wind up in the large markets, with Boston and NYC being the prime destimations because you bet the most pub.

  2. tashkalucy - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    The Lebron James circus is essential to the NBA.

    Like MLB, most fans tune the league out once their teams season is over.

    But the Lebron James circus — planed stories from his “teams” when they don’t like what’s going on, his opinions on every thing going on in the world, his countless stands where he goes from arrogant to belligerent to apologetic…..the NBA needs this WWF style chest-beating along with the never ending rumor mill of where players are going o play next because the truth is…….

    the fans don’t care that much about the game, they don’t appreciate it, and hey don’t understand it. And why not? The referees calls are subjective and differ depending on who the foul might be on (is he a star, a rookie, or where in between?), if he’s a member of the home team or not, or who knows what else. And the commissioner enforces the leagues bylaws using similar criteria (the bylaws say no coach or player can talk abut another player potentially being raded….during the All-Star extravaganza Lebron James sat next to Carmelo Anthony at a press conference and told a reporter in response to a question that he Nuggets should trade his buddie and get something back…..the proper response was – “I’m sorry I can’t discuss that”. But heaven forbid David Stern tell Lebron James anything.

    The NBA is a 3rd rate league and David Stern knows this full well. it needs this soap opera stuff because it cannot survive if it markets itself only as a professional sport. In fact, instead of just using the Lebron James circus, the league should put Jerry Springer and Howard Stern on the payroll.

    • savocabol1 - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:31 PM

      Your point would come across a lot stronger if you used proper grammar and spelling….

      But I do agree with your overall tone. The NBA, more so than any other league, is all about the drama and less about the actual game play.

      If they cared about the game they would actually enforce the rules. A new drinking game could be take a drink everytime there is a travel call that went uncalled. You would be drunk before halftime.

      • tashkalucy - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:36 PM

        Sorry about the spelling.

        My vision is poor and nothing can be done about it.

    • cosanostra71 - Jun 21, 2011 at 2:44 PM

      As harsh as this post is, I can’t help myself but to agree. It’s unfortunate. As much as I know that I personally love basketball and would follow it just as closely without circuses like LeBron’s, a large portion of basketball “fans” wouldn’t. (not most of the people on this site of course, but more of the general basketball public).

      But David Stern has brought this upon himself (and us) with the marketing campaigns of his era as commissioner.

    • nfl25 - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:10 PM

      I totally agree. But I don’t get why it has to be this way. Is that the NBA doesn’t feel its fans appreciate the game enough so they have to add something? Maybe they feel the fans cant just watch and appreciate the game, the fans needs something more in order to get them to watch. Maybe its cuz there are too many games and too many teams that suck. Or maybe its cuz there are a lot of very young fans and the nba is trying to keep them interested. I would love to figure out why the nba is the way it is

      If they can find a way to make it easier to turn a team around, I think that’s what needs to be done. If your team can suck this year and be really good next year, without getting the #1 overall pick and without signing a lebron james, that’s what needs to happen. You def need a cap and no guaranteed contracts, maybe only the first two years can be guaranteed.

      And most of all a foul is a foul. It shouldn’t matter who the player is. The NFL protects its qb’s that is understandable, the nba picks and chooses when a foul is a foul, that is not acceptable. Nba feels more like Hollywood than a sport, the nba needs to follow the NFL.

  3. tashkalucy - Jun 21, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    “I just think it is insane how much he shot up the value of that franchise even though they already had Dwayne Wade.”

    This are pretty much phony figures, what the team is worth on paper.

    The owner isn’t selling, and when he Big 3 egos start to go downhill (assuming they’re still with the franchise), he owners equity will go back down again.

  4. goforthanddie - Jun 21, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    If leb is that valuable to a franchise, Herr Stern should “in the best interests of the league” and ship leb to one of those money-losing teams.

  5. cordae - Jun 21, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Thats what I dont get. The more they heckle him, the more they tune in to see what stupid thing is gonna come out of his mouth next, the next big stage fourth quarter flop they hopelessly TUNE IN for, the richer they make him. And then they give him even MORE money by coming on blogs complaining about how much of an overpaid over-rated neverevergonnasurpass jordan wannabe. When they’re the idiots that put the money in his pockets, check the ratings…

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