Those who followed the predecessor to this blog will remember how I foamed at the mouth and cried “Conspiracy!” when David Stern seemed to push the Supersonics out of the choice Seattle market and into the much smaller Oklahoma City market. I questioned what was going on.
I recalled at the time that Stern had — until that time — opposed aggressive franchise relocation, even going so far as to block the Timberwolves move to New Orleans some years earlier, under very similar circumstances. Yet in the Seattle situation it was almost as if he booked the Mayflower guys himself and gave them a map to Oklahoma. “Why the change of position?” I asked.
I wondered at the time whether Stern might not have had something Machiavellian up his sleeve. I wondered whether he wasn’t purposely opening up one of the largest markets in the United States for ulterior purposes, like blackmail. With Seattle open, suddenly Stern had some leverage over recalcitrant taxpayers in existing NBA cities who were slow to fork over money for new arenas and newer luxury suites.
Looking back, there was definitely a little “Milwaukee” paranoia in that post. But Brian Burke of the always outstanding AdvancedNFLstats.com has taken up the same thinking with regard to the NFL and Los Angeles. He wonders why it has taken the League so long to put a team in such a large market. He wonders whether the League is using the market for other purposes.
It’s definitely worth a read.