WILL the SPL SURVIVE?

WILL the SPL SURVIVE?

Postby Alleyhoops on Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:03 pm

This is a tough time for the Summer Pro League. Owner, John Younesi has dedicated many years of hard work to making the Long Beach SPL a success. It has been his labor of love. With grit and determination, he brought the SPL to the forefront of NBA summer leagues. Over the past few years, the SPL has attracted a proud selection of NBA as well as free-agent teams. It has been a showcase for highly anticipated debuts of NBA rookies and myriad talented players looking to catch the eye of an NBA scout, general manager or executive. In the stands, you'll also find scouts from developmental as well as oversea leagues keeping a keen eye open for gifted players. However, in order to make the SPL a legitimate attraction, there's no denying that it has relied on L.A.'s two NBA franchises to put bodies in the seats. And when the Clippers shocked the local sports community last year by opting out of their SPL participation and bolted for the new Las Vegas summer league, it dimmed the lights of the SPL.

Warren LeGarie, proprietor of the Las Vegas summer league has been working on the NBA for over half a decade to sanction his league as "official." LeGarie, a powerful sports agent with significant clout represents a lot of people, and has affiliations with various merchandising entities. LeGarie has basically told the NBA that the SPL "no longer exists." Take that statement to mean whatever you like, but there is no denying the power of his influence. This year's Las Vegas summer league has suddenly attracted an array of NBA teams while the SPL is down to four -- three and a half actually as the Wizards arrive late. And the number seems to be dwindling.

The entry fee for NBA teams in the Las Vegas league is nearly double that of the SPL entry fee, and still NBA teams, including this city's very own Clippers have opted to take their business elsewhere. There's no secret that the NBA has been considering Las Vegas as an expansion site for quite a few years. The glitz of the city has been on Stern's radar for awhile. Perhaps this is a dry run. Lots of money and perks in Vegas. Temptation. Nike and Adidas love to convention there.

Could it be that the absence of luster has relegated the Long Beach location to a blase afterthought? Does the overcrowded 405 not meet the fast-lane demands of the media-centric NBA anymore? Is it too "small time?" Would a move to The Forum or Pauley Pavilion increase its credibility and star-power? Unfortunately, these are probably questions John Younesi and his dedicated staff have to be asking themselves. They've got to be wringing their hands a bit. If the SPL loses perhaps one more NBA participant, can it be very long before the Lakers are "forced" to load their summer squad on a plane and follow the competition?

I don't know what the answers are. What I do know is that I will continue to support the Long Beach SPL as long as they'll let me. I'll continue to keep vigil in that odd blue pyramid on Atherton -- the boulevard of wishes-come -true and of broken dreams. And I'll hope that John Younesi's dream stays alive.
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Postby JSM on Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:15 pm

I just wish the competition was better.

The Mavs play their B team in the league and no one for the Grizz played this year (Lowry, Gay).

Unless they draw teams back to the SPL, I doubt it can keep trucking along.
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Postby nicehair911 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:20 pm

I heard they will get more teams next year. I really hope it stays alive. I live in Long Beach and also the league has a great tradition.
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Postby Kasumi on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:16 pm

I, too, heard that they will have more teams next year. They need to get more organized though, it was/is extremely poorly run this year in certain key aspects.
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Postby nicehair911 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:18 pm

missmyzte wrote:I, too, heard that they will have more teams next year. They need to get more organized though, it was/is extremely poorly run this year in certain key aspects.


Like what?
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Postby grego on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:18 pm

They should just have more of the NBA based teams play. Even if it is B team Mavs, they have like one NBA game per day. That's pretty bad.

Only Saturday the 15th do they have two NBA matchups.
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Postby Alleyhoops on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:28 pm

missmyzte wrote:I, too, heard that they will have more teams next year. They need to get more organized though, it was/is extremely poorly run this year in certain key aspects.

well, they're trying to put a positive spin on things. let's hope that happens.

specifically, what areas do you think they could improve? feedback is important.
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Postby KB24 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:32 pm

if there is not better competition, I hope it doesn´t survive
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Postby nicehair911 on Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:44 pm

KB8@CL wrote:if there is not better competition, I hope it doesn´t survive


:man4:

:mad1: OH NO YOU DID NOT!
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Postby Sky on Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:08 am

The SPL keeps limping along. The Lakers are fully committed to staying in Long Beach, but if no other NBA teams bring their A list rosters of young guys it's over. This is the worst it's ever been, as the Mavs are an NBA roster in name only. The Wiz come late. So really the only teams bringing their best are LA and Memphis (Kupchak and West being loyal).

The Grizz can't play Gay because the Houston trade has to wait until the 12th. Not sure why Lowry isn't playing, but they still have a quality team.

What the SPL isn't doing well this year -
Organization - I call in late June to reserve tickets and can't because they don't even have a schedule yet. The opener was less than two weeks away at the time.

Information - The web site didn't have team rosters as of opening day.

Competition - Goes without saying. Their worst year ever. Easily. Only two legit NBA rosters as the SPL begins.

Media - SPL should have live webcasts of the NBA games with play by play. Demand is there given that NBA TV doesn't cover it.

They may have commitments from more NBA teams next year, but if those commitments are B rosters like Dallas the SPL will not survive.
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Postby Alleyhoops on Tue Jul 11, 2006 2:03 am

Sky wrote:The SPL keeps limping along. The Lakers are fully committed to staying in Long Beach, but if no other NBA teams bring their A list rosters of young guys it's over. This is the worst it's ever been, as the Mavs are an NBA roster in name only. The Wiz come late. So really the only teams bringing their best are LA and Memphis (Kupchak and West being loyal).

The Grizz can't play Gay because the Houston trade has to wait until the 12th. Not sure why Lowry isn't playing, but they still have a quality team.

What the SPL isn't doing well this year -
Organization - I call in late June to reserve tickets and can't because they don't even have a schedule yet. The opener was less than two weeks away at the time.

Information - The web site didn't have team rosters as of opening day.

Competition - Goes without saying. Their worst year ever. Easily. Only two legit NBA rosters as the SPL begins.

Media - SPL should have live webcasts of the NBA games with play by play. Demand is there given that NBA TV doesn't cover it.

They may have commitments from more NBA teams next year, but if those commitments are B rosters like Dallas the SPL will not survive.

Good points. Aside from a few experienced execs, the SPL relies predominately on volunteers/interns to run day to day activities. Hence, some organizational inexperience/incompetence.

One might argue that, when they had commitments from NBA A squads, the SPL never marketed/branded itself properly and now the window is closing as other aggressive players enter the arena (Vegas.)

The Vegas summer league is intent on establishing itself as THE summer league in the West. The SPL has even lost their publicist to LeGarie, which could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.

One way or the other, the SPL is at a crossroads. There are big hitters playing in the summer league sweepstakes now, and it's not going to get any easier.
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Postby Satan on Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:47 am

They should move it to Malibu or Santa Barbara, somewhere nice that players would want to go to during summer.
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Postby Gramps on Tue Jul 11, 2006 9:54 am

Location, location, location.

Move it to the Pond in Anaheim. It is more centrally located to all the so-cal counties and will draw from vacationers.
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Postby BLAZINLAKERFAN on Tue Jul 11, 2006 10:02 am

Didnt somebody post an article about this or something. I did read that David Stern is gonna add more teams here next year. And that the Lakers will never leave the SPL. It also mentioned in the article that as long as the Lakers play they will still draw the crowds or something like that.

Does anybody know where that artilce is??
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Postby Alleyhoops on Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:32 am

Gramps wrote:Location, location, location.

Move it to the Pond in Anaheim. It is more centrally located to all the so-cal counties and will draw from vacationers.

As Satan also suggested, location is an issue. I would imagine that the SPL's deal with the Pyramid is pretty reasonable. I'm not sure what the increased costs would be to move the SPL to Anaheim, Westwood, The Forum, etc. With increased visibility comes increased expenses, but it's something that probably has to be considered.
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Postby Satan on Tue Jul 11, 2006 11:48 am

What is needed to make a location viable?

Is the question attracting teams, attracting players or attracting paying customer to watch them?

If its teams, I'm assuming they look for the best competition for their young guns to play against. I don't know if location would effect that.

If its players, then I would go for a nice beach spot. Malibu, Santa Monica, Newport, Huntington and Manhattan beaches would all be nice spots to stay but I'm not sure what kind of courts are close by. SPL at Venice beach?

If it's customers, I think the beach would work for them as well. Otherwise close to urban centers.
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Postby dj vitus on Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:38 pm

Their website is horrible.

It looks like it was made by a 12-year-old with a basic understanding of HTML. It's too empty, too basic, nothing flashy. Every link on the left just brings you a page of text. Most of the links are BROKEN--even the SCOREBOARD IS BROKEN............. There's a homepage with links on the left, and when you click around, it takes you to another page with different links on top. And what's the point of having the "SPL Dream Team" link? It's stupid.

The internet is one of the best ways to promote something. Just look at myspace.

Check out http://www.vegassummerleague.com

They have a good website that looks like a real basketball website. They have Rookie Radar, Player of the Day, News/Press, COURTSIDE LIVE, a FULL and COLORFUL scoreboard for EVERY TEAM and EVERY GAME. They even have stuff from LAST YEAR and the YEAR BEFORE. And that's not even all of it.

It's no wonder the SPL won't survive.
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