Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The New, New NBA

Its clear that many NBA players (and fans) have the idea to put on exhibitions in order to make some money and stay sharp against elite competition. We have seen summer league teams go at it, NBA players making cameos in Asian exhibition games, and even guys showing up in playgrounds. Since there doesn't seem to be an end to the lockout in sight, here at The Black Converse, we have decided to take matters into our own hands. We call it the Rolling Thunder Basketball Revue. It is a completely crowd-funded, traveling basketball league, funded by those who care - The Fans.

The Premise:
A traveling league of teams made up of NBA players. Teams are chose playground style with the captains being selected from the All-NBA teams this past season. Captains would be Durant, Kobe, Rose, Howard, Wade, Westbrook, Gasol, Dirk, Amare, Joe Johnson (LeBron opts out so he can play with Wade so Joe Johnson becomes the last team captain...just because you're not on the All-NBA team, doesn't mean you can't get paid like you are) Each team must have at least 5 players, but they can pick as many as they want. This is where it gets interesting. Players aren't guaranteed a salary, but rather they earn their paycheck by winning games each weekend in this traveling basketball circus. The money that comes from the crowd-funded campaign goes into a big pool and it is divided up to be distributed after each game. Winners get 65% of the pool and losers get 35%. This means that the guys are actually playing for something each game. And it also means that team captains can control how much they can earn. Less players on their roster means less of a split.

The Season
It's a 25 week season, with teasm traveling to a new city each weekend. A potential list of cities has been put together and the top 25 cities in terms of crowd fund-raising will be chosen to host the games. All teams travel at the same time, to the same city and play two games each between Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Maximizing TV Viewers) Thats 50 games per team for the season. There is a tournament at the end of the season for the top 8 teams. This tournament takes place in Las Vegas and will be a single elimination tournament (yes this means less games, but higher reward...you'll see in a minute)

Each game has a purse that is divided up from the crowd-sourced funding, with the winners taking a mojority share. A large chunk of the money is set aside for a winner-take-all tournament in Las Vegas. The top 8 teams play each other, single elimination style, for a chance at the big prize. Presumably this sum of money would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million. We want it to be appealing. This would be a 4 day tournament. First day has 4 games, second day has two. The third day is like All-Star Saturday; three point contest, dunk contest, H-O-R-S-E, two-on-two tournament. Then the fourth day is the championship game.

If this is successful, we could add new wrinkles in future campaigns. Wrinkles like "Winner Stays" where the team that wins the tournament gets to keep all their players for the next year. Or they get to decide who the other team captains are, thereby splitting up potential dominant teams. Another fun wrinkle would be managing roster moves in a more fun-to-watch way. Roster moves could be made Real World/Road Rules Challenge style.*

Now to the funding tiers.

Base Level: $10 donation
Satisfaction of knowing that professional basketball will be played. And you get to follow along. Think of how much you enjoy two $5 footlongs. Now think about how much you will enjoy this. A much more fulfilling way to spend $10.

Fan Level: $150 donation
This guarantees you a seat at one of the games. It might be a good seat or it might be a nose-bleed. All tickets aside from the first couple rows will be put into a lottery. Donating $150 will buy you a ticket into that lottery.

Real Fan Level: $1,000 donation
This is where you buy the courtside seats. Only you can't buy them for yourself. Sure it's fun to see Spike Lee barking at the refs, or Jack Nicholson being Jack Nicholson. But if you're a true fan, you'll buy these seats and give them away to Make-A-Wish kids, veterans, cancer survivors, widows, other people who deserve a courtside seat.

Official Sponsor Level: $100,000 donation
This gets your logo somewhere on the court, in the stadium, in the telecast, or wherever else we can come up with for logos. Obviously the more you donate, the more visible it will be.

Godfather Level: $80,000,000 donation
This essentially buys you the entire weekend to sponsor how ever you want. Let's say Facebook wants to do something in San Jose, well this is the cost of getting everyone for that weekend. Let's say Google wants to broadcast this on YouTube, this is the cost. Fan Level donations will still be honored. This isn't a private party.

Godfather Part II Level: $160,000,000 donation
This gets you the Vegas Tournament. If you want it and think you can handle it. Don't disappoint us. Fan Level donations will still be honored. This isn't a private party.

Godfather Part III Level: $2,000,000,000 donation
You get to run the entire league, pick the cities, design the uniforms, and make it entertaining. Basically you get to be the Mark Cuban of the entire league. We realize this is a lot of money and probably shouldn't happen. But The Godfather Part III shouldn't have happened either, so it seems only fair that the option is available. Fan Level donations will still be honored. This isn't a private party.

There you have it. Now get out your wallets and lets see some basketball this fall.

*No voting occurs, but there is a faceoff to stay in the league. (televising this could also provide additional revenue) A free agent could challenge a player on any given team to a one-on-one battle. If the free agent wins, they are on the team. If these lose, they are off and cannot challenge again for that leg of the season, nor can the player that was challenged be challenged again for that leg. For example: Team Kobe has Mike Beasley. Well Derrick Williams thinks that he can take Beasley in a one-on-one match. He challenges him and wins. Williams is now on the team. Team Kobe also has Rudy Gay. Brandon Roy has been nursing his knee back to health and thinks he can take Gay. So he challenges him and loses. Gay remains on the team and has "immunity" for the remainder of that leg of the tour. Roy is not allowed to challenge anyone else for that leg of the tour as well. So you have to pick your battles. Hopefully these types of battles wouldn't just be between the guys at the bottom of the food chain. Maybe Gilbert Arenas thinks he can take Kobe and he wins. Kobe is out and has to sit out the remainder of that tour leg. So Kobe is a free agent now and decides to go after Wade, and he wins. Now Wade is out. (This could be kind of exciting, right?) trade could happen the same way. If a player wants onto another team, they must challenge someone and win. If they lose, they are off their team. If they win, the players swap teams. Another example; Pau Gasol decided he wants to play with his brother Marc, but they are on different teams. So Gasol challenges Joakim Noah and wins. Now those two swap teams. Then Bosh decides he wants to get on Wade and LeBron's team. So he challenges Kevin Love and loses. Bosh is now out of the league until the next leg and his team gets to pick up someone else.