Based on the pro-rated comparison, with 66 games in the 2011-12 lockout-shortened NBA season as compared with the usual 82, the price for the NBA's League Pass package (which allows for fans to watch every televised game just as long as it is not on national TV, and not locally blacked out) should have gone down from $179 to $145 this season.
Ardent fans, thinking the NBA would throw the junkies a hit after dragging them through the mess of a five-month lockout, assumed the NBA would lower its prices even further. After all, it's those obsessive fans that drive the NBA. That pushes local ratings, drive up website hits, and let their faces flicker in front of NBA TV for hours on end.
Forget that, the NBA said. We're going to raise the price.
That's right, after holding steady at $179 for the last few years, the NBA has responded to the shortened season they created by holding serve in the United States (in a way) and raising prices for international subscribers. Because they don't care about you.
This is the league, mind you, that overspent by a good third to buy the failing New Orleans Hornets for $300 million last year. This is the league that spends endless amounts on all manner of promotion (because they really needed the rights to that Lenny Kravitz or Pink song) that rarely results in revenue. This is the league -- mind you, this is coming from a WNBA fan that enjoys watching WNBA games in the summer time -- that has been subsidizing the WNBA's money-losing operations since 1997.
This is a league that doesn't care about its fans. Sure, David Stern sent off a letter (in PDF format; way to keep with the pulse of your readership, David) to fans last week that nobody read, but this hardly makes a ripple. Understanding what counts amongst your core fandom? That's important. You have to understand what constitutes "the little things," and then act accordingly. Raising League Pass prices, if only for a tenner, in a "season" like this? Are you mad?
Well, yeah. Mad with power. Absolutely drunk with it. And apparently, when he's drinking, David Stern is a mean, thoughtless drunk. And apparently he's been on a bender for the better part of the year.
You had one chance to slightly reward your loyal fandom, NBA. One chance to cut them a small break, just enough to buy the beer, chips, and energy drinks needed to make it through what is going to be a fantastic, League Pass-addled, December 26th. You can poorly run an NBA team in New Orleans from half a country away, and keep an entire league on hold for five months, but you can't cater even symbolically to those who champion your product by getting together with your various partners and cutting these fans a break?
Just when we think we're cynical enough, that our naiveté has been singed off of our cerebellum through repeated brandings, David Stern and the NBA find a new way to disappoint.