Phoenix Suns owner Rob Sarver was one of the hardest of hard liners during the lockout. He was one of the symbols of the “give us most of the money and re-tool the system to ensure complete parity” movement.
Fast forward to yesterday, and the release of the Phoenix Suns schedule, which features no home games against the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat or Orlando Magic. Sarver’s reaction to missing out on big market teams?
“I was disappointed for our fans,” Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver said. “When the preliminary schedule came out, I asked the league to reconsider and they didn’t. You’ve got to factor in all the arenas and timelines, and they weren’t able to move dates around.”
When push comes to shove, Sarver knows big markets mean big business. And its not because the fans of small market teams suck. It’s because there are more fans of big market teams. That’s what “big” and “small” market means. There are less than 700,000 people in the Memphis TV market. There are more than 7,000,000 in the New York market.
And with those big markets and big fan bases comes big demand for tickets as transplants to different part of the country travel to see their favorite team. That also means flex-ticket pricing and more money in Sarver’s pocket.
He knows that’s going to be the case now, five years from now and probably five decades from now. He went so far as to ask for those big market and power teams to come to town so he can add more to his bottom line.
That’s not to say he shouldn’t do that stuff. It’s just that Sarver needs to realize the stance he took not too long ago, and maybe throw a “no comment” out there when it came to the schedule. Because these comments just take us down the road of reality vs. perception. And the perception is that Sarver was never really about parity in the first place. He just wants to make money on his investment, which means keeping the Suns good, but not good enough, is good enough.
Seeing Sarver’s history, that’s probably reality too. Congratulations, Rob, on being the first small-market owner to complain about not having enough big markets on the schedule and making us all wonder, again, what this whole lockout was really about in the first place.