Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ed Snider to WIP: I sell oranges.

So apparently last week Ed Snider was on 610WIP and he threatened to move the Sixers to a city that loves basketball.

Beat.

Now, before we say something that we might regret, let’s go over the circumstances:

1. Ed has his panties in a bunch because the Sixers’ attendance is way down this year. (26th in the NBA)
2. Ed is further irked because he doesn’t understand why — “I think our team is a very entertaining team.”
3. And to make matters worse, no one else in the organization can figure it out; they’ve resorted to an online survey for assistance.
"We are working very hard to build our attendance and, you know, I don't think we could do a heck of a lot more than what we're doing. The Sixers staff are tearing their hair out trying to come up with the answers." (Ed Snider, Inky)
Ok, so we can deduce that Ed was simply venting out of frustration. Have some sympathy. After all, he’s just trying to make some money people.

Let’s see if we can’t help.

There are obviously a number of reasons for the Sixers’ dwindling attendance, not the least of which is a team that hasn’t surpassed mediocre in four years. However, the more glaring problem (and a likely cause of the former) is how terrible the Sixers organization is at making attending Sixers’ games fun.

This is a two part problem. The first is a result of the in-game atmosphere at the Wac Center, which is abysmal. Directly correlated is the second, which is the organization’s horrendous job of attracting the type of fans who make games fun to attend.

Face it. At this point, watching the game at a bar is more exciting than going to the game. That’s pretty bad. It’s depressingly quiet at the Wac — and that’s letting them off easy. People don’t know when to cheer. Hip-Hop is gayer than Christmas. You get dirty looks if you stand up to cheer after a made three. And it’s been like this as long as we can remember.

If only Ed wasn’t an idiot and the president of the most unprofessionally run company in America, he might have a shot of realizing the team needs to get young people (young adults, not second-graders) to the games to make them fun again. Games that are fun are games that the crowd is really into, similar to college games, where loud student sections make their presence felt, routinely standing throughout the game.

Stop having promotions for the first 5,000 kids 12 and under. Instead, have a college night. Stop wasting all your attention on corporations, whose seats go to disinterested suits 95% of time. Instead, take a page from Sacramento (and their 300 consecutive sellouts, rabid, non-corporate fans, who cheer when they’re 18 down like they just tied the game with a three, and collegiate atmosphere) and focus on the individuals. Soon as fans start making noise again, the games will be attractive and fun, and therefore, the demand to attend will once again increase. Then, you can charge even more for your precious corporate suites.

It’s not rocket science, Ed. It might not be politically correct to say that your arena should stop tying to be the most family friendly, but it’s the truth. The atmosphere at your team’s games is so apathetic, we think our grandmother could step in and do a better job.

Get young adults there in force. Not only will you sell more seats, but you’ll also give your team the home court advantage they deserve. (Iverson loves it when the crowd gets behind him. Do you know how disheartening it must be for him to play in such a lame arena?)

Why do think Phil Jackson is so annoyed by Mark Cuban? (Jackson: “Consider a place like Dallas, where the owner runs around, pumps up the volume, intimidates the referees and ... has announcers as hired cheerleaders, which is an intimidating force.”) Because he’s made Dallas a rowdy and menacing place in which to play. And what do you know… Dallas just won their 15th straight home game, a new team record, against, wait for it, yep, your 76ers. Do you think that’s a coincidence?

In the end, Ed, it’s not the city’s fault your attendance is down. It’s your fault for focusing your attention on fans that don’t care and ignoring the consequences for too long.

Hire a new director of marketing and fan relations — someone that’s not an idiot — and you’ll see results.

Related: 700Level calls Ed Snider a Rat
Related: Stephen A. calls Ed Snider a Fool
Related: Ed Snider: It's true. I'm stupid
Related: The Kings’ (really super secret) recipe for success
Earlier: Ed Snider and Billy King to Wed

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Breaking: Ed Snider and Billy King to Wed

We’ve had our doubts about Billy King for some time now but it’s now getting clearer. He’s just plain bad.

He’s acting like it’s been difficult to form a winning team around AI. Allen Iverson is one of the best players to have ever played basketball. Period.

Billy King should be heavily chastised for squandering (thus far) one of the best talents to have ever graced the hard-court anywhere.

It didn’t take much to see what type of player the Sixers (circa 2002) needed to complete the package. It wasn’t Keith Van Horn. It wasn’t Tony Kukoc. It wasn’t Glenn Robinson. It wasn’t hard to see that they needed a good forward. Hmm, who would fit in here in Philly? Maybe someone who’s awesome and a little rough around the edges (a la Iverson)? Maybe someone who would love the idea of playing here, i.e. someone who’s played here before? It was disturbingly obvious. Why Billy King never went after Philadelphia native Rasheed Wallace in 2003 or 2004 is completely beyond me. When he finally figured it out and went after a good forward, the forward he got was not close to his former self.

King’s incompetence is still widely unrecognized. (Kudos to the 700Level for their insight earlier this month.) And he’s definitely still untouchable as Ed Snider hearts him. What’s frustrating is Billy King is so bad that he has the majority of people, both fans here in Philadelphia and press across the country, convinced that the Sixers can not win with Allen Iverson. That couldn’t be more wrong. Allen Iverson isn’t nicknamed “The Answer” by accident. He is the motherfucking answer to Philadelphia’s championship drought.

And if we had a GM that was slightly more competent than our cousin’s golden retriever, AI would have already closed the deal.

So double respect to the Sports Guy for nailing it with his piece yesterday. Bill Simmons faux-moderated the first-annual Atrocious GM Summit over All Star Weekend in Houston. It was a round table discussion with a “dream panel” of atrocious GMs including Philadelphia's Billy King; former Raptors GM Rob Babcock; Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak; former Knicks GM Scott Layden; former Cavs GM Jim Paxson; Minnesota's Kevin McHale; former Orlando GM John Weisbrod; and, of course, Isiah Thomas of the New York Knicks. The full transcript is available on Page 2. The juicy excerpt below is but one of several highlights.
Simmons: So if you don't want to kill your team with bad drafting, what other recourses are there besides trades?

[Isiah] Thomas: Keep changing the roster -- you don't want any semblance of continuity. Once guys get used to playing with one another, they might start winning. …

[Billy] King: I'm also a big fan of giving out absurd contracts that tie up your cap space, ...

Just look at what I've done in Philly: Since we made the 2001 Finals, I gave Mutombo a $68 million extension even though he could have been, like, 48 years old for all we knew. I gave $35.5 million to Aaron McKie. I gave $29 million to Eric Snow. I gave $18 million to Greg Buckner. I gave $40 million to Kenny Thomas and $25 million to Brian Skinner. I gave $25 million to Kyle Korver and $60 million to Sam Dalembert last summer. That's $300 million of contracts to guys who were either on the decline or never that good in the first place. Plus, I traded for other bad contracts, guys like Keith Van Horn, Glenn Robinson, Kevin Ollie, you name it. And then, last February, the pinnacle -- dumping three bad contracts for C-Webb, who everyone thought couldn't be traded because of his contract and because he ran with a limp. …

(The crowd applauds.)

King: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Related: Who's worse at their job: Billy King or Isiah Thomas? (ESPN)
Related: Why is there no FireBillyKing.com? (700Level)
Earlier: Charles Barkley Redux

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Charles Barkley Redux

It’s true: the Sixers are rumored to be contemplating trading Iverson before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline. They even went so far as to conduct an unofficial survey about possible life without Iverson with several high-end season-ticket holders. In other news, Sixers President and General Manager Billy King is considering challenging Dubya for title of shrewdest analytical mind in America.

Worst. GM. Ever. (And to think, we were about to run this man's senate campaign.)

The only thing we have going for us is Charles Barkley.

When the Sixers traded Sir Charles to the Phoenix Sunes in 1992, it was a disaster. The organization fears that this could be an even bigger disaster. They’re right. It would be 100 times worse. A disaster of biblical proportions, in fact. I’d personally tar and feather Billy King every week for the next ten years.

More:

David Aldridge: Billy King is ‘New Coke Dumb’
Take the Sixers’ survey; tell them not to (choose other on question #10)
City of Brotherly Scorn

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Sixers to City: We do the gunnin’ around here

In a mutually beneficial deal for the ages, the Sixers and the Philadelphia Police announced yesterday that they’re starting a “Guns for Tickets” program. It’s a historic win-win: the city gets a few guns off the street, helping to combat a horribly rising murder rate, and the Sixers get more fans in their seats, in an attempt to counter one of the most depressingly silent home courts in the league.

And hey, for all you out there packin’ it’s two tickets for each gun.

Boo.

Ya.

More: Ain’t no stopping us now… we got the guns



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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

What’s next for Starr? Toppling Starwood?

It’s a readily known fact that for all the buzz Philadelphia’s been getting lately (Nat. Geographic, NY Times, Jaunted, etc.), one thing tourists sorely miss is any semblance of a sophisticated boutique hotel scene.

Center City certainly boasts a few decent independent hotels [and the Rittenhouse Hotel is obviously ridiculously nice, however, we're talking about small hotels that are going to win points for their cosmopolitan attention to style and design], but there’s definitely nothing remotely significant — as far as contemporary style — about Philly hotels.
Clip 1:
[ As urban destinations go, Philadelphia still has some flaws. Most notably, it lacks an inventory of stylish, fun places to stay. Purveyors of urban chic such as Kimpton Hotels have yet to touch down, leaving visitors with few choices for lodging other than chains. ] USA Today

Clip 2:
[ Where to stay: Philadlephia doesn't have a trendy boutique hotel scene - yet. But older hotels are refurbishing, and the best have discovered style. ] New York Times
We guess both of those articles infer that’s it’s only a matter of time before the stylish, boutique hotels arrive. Ok. We're waiting. We’ve been waiting.

There’s literally a thousand new high-end condo projects being planned across Center City and so far none are planning hotels as part of the mixed uses of their buildings — a popular strategy these days. Developers are completely missing the ball here. This city could sustain multiple cool, chic hotels for the young and spend-happy. Why aren’t any sprightly entrepreneurs trying to get rich by filling this void?

We’ve been troubled by this missed opportunity (or, as USA Today would say, flaw) for some time now, so naturally we were extremely pleased when we recently came across this PBJ article:
[ It's no coincidence that [Stephen] Starr hired financial people with hotel experience. Within two years, he said, he hopes his company will be in the hotel business, both bidding on contracts to run the food and beverage side of existing hotels and by opening at least one boutique hotel in Philadelphia. … "Ultimately, I would like to be in the hotel business," Starr said, adding that hotel operations will have to be consistent with the restaurants' sense of distinctiveness. "It won't be a Holiday Inn." ] Phila Business Journal
That’s right ladies. The catalyst of Philadelphia’s restaurant renaissance, Stephen Starr, will try to do the same for its hotels. He wants to bring a stylish boutique hotel to the city that’s starving for one. “Hallelujah” seems a bit dramatic. And premature... the article is two years old.

Compound that with the very-behind-schedule openings (
read more than a year) of the Morimoto and Buddakan NYC outposts and we can conclude that it’s all just talk for now. Until those restaurants establish themselves as successes (early reports on Morimoto seem to be positive: 1, 2, 3), we won’t be holding our breath for Starr to open a hotel here in the new future.

That notwithstanding, someone needs to remind Stephen of his '04 aspirations from. Philly needs a cool hotel and time is a wasting.

UPDATE: Starwood strikes back
from Friday's Inky (see last line):
[ [Wayne] Spilove, a real estate investor who was the city's ranking historic preservation official at the time of the demolition, has been in talks with Sant Properties of Huntingdon Valley to sell his lot on the 1600 block of Sansom Street. But one of Sant's owners, Hardeep Chawla, said the deal had to be put on hold because Sant was unable to acquire the bigger prize, the slender art deco tower known as the Architects Building on the corner of 17th Street. Sant's plan was to convert the office tower into a W Hotel or condos. ] Phila. Inquirer
Oh snap. A W Hotel across the street from the Sofitel? The Battle of the Bulge to resurface on 17th Street.

Awesome.

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