The Upside Newsletter
The Upside Newsletter
🔥Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University, Ex NBA/NCAA Exec on the 2023 NBA Summer League, Wemby, Messi, NBA's New CBA, ESPN Layoffs & Investment Into the MLB Draft, and More.

🔥Upside Chat: Dr Ron Dick, Duquesne University, Ex NBA/NCAA Exec on the 2023 NBA Summer League, Wemby, Messi, NBA's New CBA, ESPN Layoffs & Investment Into the MLB Draft, and More.

This week we had the honor to interview again Dr. Ron Dick, associate professor of sports marketing at Duquesne University in the school of business. Ron also worked for 20 years in sports, including 15 years in the NBA with the Sixers and the Nets, and then five years in the NCAA.

📝Show Notes: Through this interview, we touched on the 2023 NBA Draft and summer league. Then we discussed the latest ESPN layoffs, the NBA's new CBA agreement, and ESPN's big Investment Into MLB Draft. We also touched on the NIL, and Messi's arrival to the MLS at Inter Miami fc.

🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Ron:

  • On the recent 2023 NBA draft and NBA Summer League, and the most likely best NBA rookies of the year:

    • “It seems like your Frenchman Wemby is number one as far as who's going to be the best rookie of the year. When we look at the betting nods, the player Scoot Henderson, who's with the Portland Trail Blazers, is pretty high up on the list too”.

    • “And then let us not forget last year's top pick from the Gonzaga player, Chet Holmgren. He now plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but I think he blew his knee out in the Vegas League a year ago. And a lot of people think he could be the rookie of the year. His body frame is. I would say, pretty close to what your guy Wemby is”.

  • On the new ESPN layoffs of prominent NBA analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Steve Young, among others:

    • “I think they're swimming in red ink. They're losing money. When you say ESPN, you also have to say ABC, and you have to say Disney. They're all the same company. And cable has been cut more than ever before. People are buying it kind of a la carte and they got a lot of overhead. And this isn't the only industry where, I'm not going to say overpriced, but let's just say highly priced talent is being squeezed out when their contracts come up”.

    • “And we can get the next young 22, 23, 25 year old fresh face out of Syracuse who is in front of the camera for a third of the price, half the price. This has happened in Comcast, SportsNet in Philadelphia. And it's not uncommon, and it happens in a lot of industries. Some people might call it ageism. 40 and over usually is considered ageism”.

    • “But at the same time, you give other people another chance. I don't think it's surprising at all when you're losing money. And It's not about the commentators, right? It's about the players, the coaches. And I know some of these guys, Stephen A. Smith and some of these others try to make it about them. Yeah. It's not. It's the players, it's the coaches. It's about following your team”.

  • On the new NBA’s CBA agreement which enables NBA players to invest in independent WNBA teams and sports betting operators:

    • “I think that the NBA, whatever they can do to support the WNBA, it is great. And if the NBA players want to get behind it, then they should. There seems to be a couple things that are worth mentioning. The WNBA women players do not get paid as much as the guys and there's some infusion. Why? And then when you look at the $40M+ contracts, which basically some of the players are making half a million dollars per game if they played all 82 games, right?”.

    • “Does that happen and how are the women capped at $200,000 or $250,000 for the superstar players? Well, it's because the revenue's not there in the WNBA, the attendance is down, the TV ratings are down. And if some of the players in the NBA want to support it which is fine”.

    • “But this is not a mystery on why these NBA players are making so much money since 1983. Here we are. 40 years later, there's been something called BRI also known as Basketball Related Income. And this percentage fluctuates per negotiation, but roughly 53% of all gross revenues for the NBA have to be used on players (…) So, how do we develop that more in the WNB? Until their basketball related income goes up, we are not going to be able to share as much with WNBA players”.

  • On the NIL:

    • “We just entered the third year, and July 1st of 2021 was the first year. And it is definitely about people that had social media, both male and female. They're doing well with TikTok. They have followers and they are star players. They're really raking it in. If I had to pick one school to figure this thing out better than any other school, I would pick the SEC school, LSU. They seem to really be on top of it”.

    • “The University of Miami also seems to be on top of it and it's definitely going to move talent toward those schools. The whole transferring thing has gotten a little bit mysterious. So let’s take a 18 to 23 student that seems to have an insatiable need to be wanted, and they're always curious. The grass is greener on the other side of the fence. They think there's a better deal out there”.

    • “We've had college basketball players transfer three times in three years. Three times (…) I thought the ruling was that you get to transfer once, then you'd have to sit out another year. But there seems ways of circumventing that. And the other thing is, some of these guys that are transferring or going into the transfer portal aren't finding a home. They're not finding a team in division one. And then they have regret and they want to go back. But then the previous team says, look, we already gave your scholarship”.

  • On Leo Messi’s move to the MLS at Inter Miami fc:

    • “Well, 16 years ago we had something very similar to this happen with the arrival of David Beckham into the MLS. David Beckham probably had less in the tank than Messi does. Back then he signed with the LA Galaxy for five years and him and his wife moved the whole family to LA”.

    • “You can even go 19 years before that, with Wayne Gretzky going from the championship team, Stanley Cub Champs, the Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles with McSorley His protector”.

    • “So this has happened before. So I think it's going to have a great impact on the MLS. Messi will sell out obviously every place he goes. And when he scores a goal, people will go crazy. Now I don't know that it makes the league better with him in it or significantly better. You would know this better than me, but in this country, we're used to having the best league of everything”.

    • “This hopefully will lead to other star players coming and wanting to play in the MLS. And if that happens and the league can go maybe to the top five best league in the world, not in the Premier League level, that will be nothing but great for the ownership and for the value of these teams”.


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