Eye of the Hurricane

March 27, 2010

Basketball With Borders

Filed under: Uncategorized — scottabraun @ 6:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I spent my spring break visiting friends abroad in Rome, Madrid, and Barcelona. While most tourists in these cities will try and catch a soccer game, I decided to catch some hoops in Barcelona. Did you know that FC Barcelona is home to the #5 pick in last year’s NBA Draft? The Minnesota Timberwolves own the rights to Barca star point guard Ricky Rubio.

That wasn’t the only familiar face on the floor. How about former Maryland star and NBAer Terrance Morris?

The play on the court was as you would expect. Fundamental team basketball, accurate shooting, and every player displaying a versatile skill set.

One surprise was that almost every player on each team plays in the game. The Golden State Warriors often play 6-7 players in a game while FC Barca plays 12-15 players in a close game. That certianly gave me less Rubio to watch then I had hoped. He looked good and in control but not #5 pick-worthy. I guess we’ll have to wait and see when he enters the NBA 2 seasons from now.

As for the overall fan experience: AWESOME – The atmosphere had a high school gym feel mixed with the passionate soccer crowd. Just such an opposite feeling to an NBA game. They are all about the game as opposed to the entertainment experience. People are there to watch their team win a basketball game not to impress a client or eat good food. As someone with a true appreciation for the game, I had a blast. I highly recommend checking it out if you are ever overseas.

A funny observation: you better be able to focus on free throws. The home crowd even cheers when one of their own players is shooting a free throw. It is all cheering all the time.

One question to consider: Europe loves its basketball and there are many NBA fans. That is why the NBA has been globalizing the game and David Stern has thrown out the possibility of teams in Europe in the future. How would the European crowd react to it though? The NBA entertainment experience in Europe might not convert. Just by observing a few aspects of the operation, I could easily give FC Barca a list of things they can do to make more money from food to ticket sales to merchandise to seating and so much more. Here’s the thing…they don’t care. FC Barca is actually owned by the fans. Thousands of them have an actual stake in the team and they elect a board to run the show but it is catered to the fans. Fans in Europe would be turned off by the business that is professional sports in America. Stern might want to go to a few games in Europe and observe how they run the show before he plops a team in a foreign country.

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