"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

BIG CITY BASKETBALL AND CANADA HOCKEY TEAMS HEADED TO THE GOLF COURSE

NBA Big Market Void: It's hard to believe that the NBA teams from the largest metropolitan areas in the United States will be watching the playoffs from their living rooms or the nineteenth hole of their favorite country club. If the season ended tonight, both New York teams, the Lakers, Bulls, Rockets and Suns would be eliminated from the post-season. Only the Clippers, the perennial red-headed step child of the City of Angels would be playing into May. How is this good for the league? Okay, I guess you can make a case that even though Golden State plays in Oakland, they represent all of Northern California. But it's a harder sell to say that the Boston Celtics carry the torch for the entire Northeast. Add in the AAU team impersonating an NBA franchise in Philadelphia and you have roughly a third of the nations populace without a rooting interest in the NBA playoffs. Charlotte, Indiana, Oklahoma City, Portland, Memphis and Utah? All of them are wonderful cities in their own right and I've enjoyed good times in all but one. However, they're hardly bastions of ratings gold. Even Cleveland with Lebron James, while he carries more of a national following, isn't the population center it was three decades ago. There's no question that a Cavaliers - Warriors rematch would ignite interest. But what about Hawks - Hornets first rounder? Or even the Thunder - Grizzlies, two of the NBA only major cities? Where are the big numbers for the league? If I was commissioner Adam Silver, I'd be concerned. No New York, no Chicago, no Philly, no Houston, no Phoenix, less than half of Los Angeles. Unlike the NFL, whose playoffs comprise a total of eleven games, including the Super Bowl, the NBA stages dozens of games in a format that takes real fan commitment to follow. The NFL doesn't really need to be concerned if the Giants and Bears are left out of the mix. Hell, they haven't even had a team in the nation's second largest market for the last twenty plus years. But the NBA needs to be more attentive as their big ratings franchises fall further into disarray. The casual fan just can't devote the time necessary to make the NBA playoffs viable without fans with a rooting interest.

NHL: Sport without a Country: It's hard to believe that it will be Florida 2 and the entire country of Canada 0 when it comes to teams in the NHL playoffs. If you think Adam Silver has a problem, how would you like to be NHL commissioner Gary Bettman? You're more likely to get a sunburn than a Molson at this year's Stanley Cup playoffs. Teams from Florida (2), Washington, Texas, Tennessee and California (3) give the whole affair more of a college football feel than one that generally features teams from north of the border. Really? What are Canadian hockey fans supposed to do for two months? Oh, yeah, they can watch the Raptors make a run in the NBA playoffs, complaining all the while that Lebron should be called for high sticking. Or maybe gear up for the NCAA lacrosse championships, since that sport is in fact the national sport of Canada. More likely they'll watch anyway, mostly out of habit than support for a particular team. Much like Europeans would tune into a World Cup Soccer final between Brazil and the United States. But on a more serious note, the NHL really needs to be concerned that an entire nation is left out of the playoffs in a sport that is nothing short of a religion in Canada. Americans just don't watch hockey on television, as evidenced by the inability of the league to keep a network contract for any length of time. And if the Canadian fans choose to opt out this year, things could get even tougher for the league from a broadcast perspective.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.