Van Gundy: With new mega TV deal, NBA should look to cut prices for fans; reduce back-to-backs

Yet more reasons to love Jeff Van Gundy.

The ESPN/ABC analyst showed he is in mid-season form on a teleconference yesterday. He gave some advice on something that needs to be done in the wake of the NBA’s new $24 billion TV deal. Are you listening, Adam Silver?

“I just think we have to keep the fan in mind.  And I think sometimes when you’re in this prosperity era, where everything is going well, we can lose sight of who are the main reasons for our successes – the great players, the people who drive the business aspect, but it’s also the fans that continue to buy the product.

“I think we have to look out as all this money is getting passed around. How can we make it better for the fan?  Is there a way to cut concessions or ticket prices to make it more affordable?  I think it’s something we need to explore.”

I’m sure this is Silver’s response: “We’ll take it under advisement.”


Van Gundy also lobbied for the NBA to reduce or even eliminate the back-to-back games. Again, he had the fans in mind.

“I think this goes to the fan idea. I think fans oftentimes get an inferior product on back-to-back games, and I think that has to be the number one thing that gets addressed for the fans and for the players. – the elimination or the drastic reduction of back-to-back games.  And I think it starts with the owners giving up preseason games.  There’s no need and I’ll tell you how you know there’s no need for these preseason games – it’s because no one plays in them.

“And yet we charge the same prices.  And so let’s stop with the ruse that we need seven preseason games or eight preseason games to get a team ready.  So let’s play two games, three games, and start the regular season two weeks earlier so we can eliminate some back to back games.  Let’s not have as long a period at the All-Star break for back-to-back games.

“So we can reduce them.  And let’s extend the season a week or two in the regular season so that we can drastically reduce – or the goal should be to totally eliminate back-to-back games.  I think that more so than the number of games of 82 or the length of a game of the 48 minutes needs to be changed. Because again, as a fan, they deserve our very best and you never want to give your players excuses, but to expect them to play great after playing the night before and flying three hours to a different time zone to have the same energy I think is a stretch and I think it leads to a lot of bad basketball and doesn’t give the product that we should be giving our fans.”

Silver’s likely response? Thanks, Jeff, but worry about LeBron, Kobe and Derrick.





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