Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Loose Balls

People, meet the Silna brothers, Ozzie & Daniel. Last year they received $19 million from the NBA, and have in sum received a total of around $300 million from the Association.

They don't play on any team, or coach, or have a concession contract, or run a medical facility. No, they are the ex-owners of the Spirits of St. Louis, a long defunct ABA franchise.

When the ABA went under in 1976 and was partially absorbed by the NBA, the Spirits were left out in the cold. But the Silnas negotiated a settlement of a smallish lump sum payment plus 1/7th of the "visual media" revenues generated by the 4 ABA teams who made it into the NBA (Spurs, Nets, Nuggets, Pacers) IN PERPETUITY.

In 1982, the NBA had a chance to buy them out of the deal for $8 million paid out over 8 years but refused!

And, just this year, a judge ruled that the NBA has to pay them a share of the League's internet and NBA TV revenues as well.

Here is a great article about the situation. And here is a NYTimes article about it.


John Thacker said...

Yep, I love it when people rediscover this deal. Not being facetious-- it's so amazing that it's a joy to watch other people learn about this, the best deal of all time.

The NBA keeps trying to find a way out of the deal, and failing.

Jeff R. said...

Pretty cool. Sounds like a good chunk of that 300 mill was stolen/squandered by the notorious Mr. Madoff, though.

Roger Powell said...

There was a terrific ESPN 30 for 30 special about the story of the St Louis Spirits.

- Pro debut of Marvin "Bad News" Barnes
- Pro debut of Maurice Lucas
- Broadcasting debut for Bob Costas (!)

It was quite a story for a team that only existed for two years. The end of the special includes information on how the deal went down with the NBA.