Friday, December 12, 2008

Houston Comets and Hardball

Kris Gardner of the Houston Roundball Review asks why the comets disbanded when Gardner's sources stated that at least two groups were interested in buying the Comets and keeping them in Houston.

The answer, as always, is money. My understanding is that even though the WNBA was operating the Houston Comets, Koch still owned the Comets. The WNBA was basically spending its money to keep the Comets alive and acting as his real estate broker, shopping the Comets around.

I'm sure, however, that months ago someone came up with the obvious conclusion. "We can either act as a broker, and sell the Comets - and all of the money ends up in Hilton Koch's hands. We might get a deal from Koch to recuperate the operating costs from him when we ran the team, but that's all we can hope for."

"Or, we can just let the Comets fold. Koch gets to take the entire loss. Furthermore, all of those binding agreements Koch made with other businesses like Reliant Arena also go under as well - no team, no agreements. We let the ground sit fallow for a year or two."

"We then let someone in Houston start a new team. The cost of the new franchise - $10 million - goes right into the league's coffers. Someone smart comes in, and they can negotiate a new set of deals and we look like winners. They can even call the team the Houston Comets. It's likely that Koch owns the 'colors and indicia' of the Comets, but he's hurting financially. If he owns those rights, we'll buy them back for a pittance. And if he doesn't want to sell those rights, then screw him, we'll just call the team the Houston Dynamos or something."

"Everyone's happy. The league makes cash. The Houston fans have a team. The new owners are happy. The press reports about the WNBA's renaissance. The only one who isn't happy is Koch, and who cares if he isn't happy?"

Gardner is right . Not ALL of the options to keep the Houston Comets alive were explored. Because the patient was worth more dead than he was alive.


Anonymous said...

I am not going to go into details, but this analysis is ridiculously wrong and completely misunderstands what an owner owns vs. the league and also what the real situation was in Houston. There was a buyer and at the last moment the buyer literally simply backed out with no warning, and it is no more complex than that. This continued "the league likes expansion because it makes them more money" BS that certain Rebkellians like to parrot is so silly but yet continues to get legs simply because of the outsider view of the math and a simplistic view of the business of sports. There is no way the league actually wanted Houston to fail and then come back, and there was no financial incentive in reality for that to happen...but no one is going to convince certain folks of that truth without telling them things that simply can't be the ignorance will persist....

Anonymous said...

Agree with other poster....most people have A) no clue what actually happened in Houston and B) no clue how the league franchise deals actually work....