Saturday, April 19, 2014

RESTRUCTURED


I have been a faithful follower of Canadian basketball since Halifax Rainmen, Manchester Millrats (later moved to Saint John) and Quebec Kebs decided to join the PBL over 5 years. I've covered the league since the output of the PBL Halifax Rainmen, Saint John Mill Rats, Quebec Kebs create the NBL of Canada along with London Lightning, Oshawa Power (now in Mississauga), Summerside Storm (now in Charlottetown) and Moncton Miracles 2011. The talent on the court the league has grown exponentially in these last few years, however, the organization of the league has failed to take steps to bring the competition to the next level. The league is in danger of stalling. The league needs restructuring, needs a roadmap in the short and medium term to help create a viability plan with clear objectives for sustainable and "visible" to the league.

The strengths of the league are talented players and coaches who congregate each night in the fields of Canadian franchises. No doubt the league provides a good show by which it is worth paying a ticket. In my opinion, the league has a big market in London where the franchise has proved a resounding success. Moreover, the league has achieved some stability in the maritime franchises after 3 years.

However, the link presents a series of important weaknesses. No doubt the lack of a television contract is the most serious. No television league operates outside of Canadian society, living in the underground. Other weaknesses of these emerging leagues, franchises experiencing financial problems, have difficulty getting sponsors and do not have a marketing plan to attract crowds to home games. Low attendance at the arenas that do not cover the costs of the lease agreement. The instability of the franchise, we have examples in the franchises folded as Kebs, Montreal Jazz or relocation of the Power of Oshawa to Mississauga. In fact, Express and Skyhawks expressed (in press) uncertainty about their future.

Some key points to improve in the league feasibility aspects, organization:

TV CONTRACT
A sporting event, a competition or tournament is known or exists as it is on TV or out in the media or press. In the present case, the NBL of Canada has no national television contract level (except some games televised locally) and this is the first season you can watch the games live over the Internet. No TV contract the league does not exist for most Canadians. A television contract must be a priority for the league, to be known and acquire sponsors.

In a sensational interview DallaCosta Morris in London Free Press a figure credited as Leo Rautins (Commentator Raptors NBA, former Canadian coach), who thinks about the NBL and exposure. Leo Rautins' interview on LFP:

“You are irrelevant until you are on TV but no one is going to put you on TV because you are irrelevant,” Rautins said. “Pay to be on TV. If it was me, I’d have a 15-game package. The games would all be here (London) or in Halifax or wherever the crowd and environment works. You’ll see every team but you’ll see them in the right type of environment.”
Rautins said it’s not a slight to any other team or area but it’s a matter of making the product as attractive as possible.
“You pay for the package and every team has to pay it share,” he said. “What else are you spending your money on? Whatever else you are spending your money on, isn’t working. If every team spends this money so they can be relevant, it changes the whole thing.”


INTERNET (SOCIAL NETWORKS), IMPACT ON THE MEDIA (WRITTEN & DIGITAL)
The NBL has some presence on the Internet, but not enough in my opinion, at least in the aspect of relevant information. The league has a presence on social networks like twitter or facebook, but should promote a youtube channel where you could access past games, interviews and more coverage of the news in videos. This is the first of the 3 seasons of existence of the league in which you can see all league games on streaming. He is a solid step forward, but. I think radodifusión be improved, but we appreciate the work Sportlive24 / NBL24, especially when the London Free Press reveals defaults by the league for the broadcasts of the games and the last draft. The League coverage by the press or on Internet is very uneven. While there are a couple of well covered franchises and providing valuable information and opinion, such as Halifax Rainmen and London Lightning, other franchises have poor coverage.



ORGANIZATION OF THE LEAGUE
COMMISSIONER
With respect to the Commissioner of the league has been a pending issue. I think the former Commissioner John Kennedy could do something, but he left for personal reasons. The league commissioner needs a leader who has failed at this time. The current commissioner Paul Riley is unable to fill those shoes. I agree with what you said the owner of the Skyhawks, Gus Takkale on review of Riley's and the NBL's front-office job performance. However, I think after the erratic way to solve the issue "DallaCosta" and emails, he should resign. On the other hand, I recover Leo Rautins opinion on what should be a commissioner of the NBL. Leo Rautins' interview on LFP:

Rautins also touched on the need to have a strong commissioner.
"David Stern (former NBA commissioner) had relationships with all the owners but they knew who was in charge," he said. "There’s nothing like that right now (in the NBL). It’s kind of like the blind leading the blind.
"You need someone to say This is the way it’s going to be done."

SCHEDULE / ARENA LEASE AGREENMENT / PLAYOFFS FORMAT
In my opinion is very important to do a better schedule, better home game dates and at weekend. The franchises fights against QMJHL, against weather and against very bad lease agreement. I don't know if relocate the league to summer is the answer. There isn't Hockey competition, any cancellations games due to bad time... It's true, but London has demostrated than they can win to Hockey. The league must talk about schedule changes, less games, stars the league before (september) or after (april). According to my latest information, the league might consider delaying the start of the league January to April (reduced from 6 to 4 months the competition).

Also it's true than majority franchises marketing plan need to improve and sign better lease agreement and places with a logical number of seats (2500-3000) and more near to potential fans. The league have to take decisions when 4 of 9 franchises are very below of 1200 people per game minimum necessary to maintain the team. It's necessary / cost effective will play 40-games-schedule? It is said that franchises need at least 20 home dates for profitable product, but 4 of the 9 franchises attract much less than 1000 people per night so they lose money every time the lights come on the court. In this respect, as the reduction consecencia 6-4 months of competition, the league reduced schedule of 40 regular season games (current) at 30-32, 15-16 home games.

Current playoff format has almost totally inconsequential 40 regular-season games because all teams made?? the postseason. Last season franchises had a incredible fight to make the playoffs until last regular season game, 3 teams (finalist included) say good bye to post season. This season, regular season seems a long pre-season to advance to playoffs. I think the league must come back a elimination format, best 2 teams of both division with semifials best-of-five and final best-of-seven.

FINANCIAL TROUBLE / SALARY CAP / MINIMUM CANADIAN PLAYERS
Anybody make a living in the NBL of Canada. Franchises pay a little bit a his players and don't can compete with overseas league. League salary cap of 150000 $ is very scarce, but it's a conditioning to financial stability of franchises. If salary cap increase will be a franchise fold I say is not a solution. It is an open secret that there are certain franchises in the league who have financial difficulties. Dartis Willis said his franchise lost $ 370,000 last season, while Skyhaws owner Gus Takkale said nefarious lease agreement (Canadian Tire Centre) will produce significant losses due to poor attendance (other than the payment of the fee income of league of around $ 300,000). None of the teams have secured flatly returning next year as its manifestations in press. Recall that London franchise owner Vito Frijia revealed had financially helped other franchises.




Regarding the minimum number of Canadian players per team has been found in the three seasons since the birth of the league, it's just an administrative matter with no real intention on focusing on the development of the local player. This is not a criticism, this is a league that's trying to be professional and talented in USA at a very low price. Canadians talented players to compete in the league are usually more expensive having a market American players of great talent and happy to accept the contract (really low). From this new point of view, I think it makes sense to maintain the rule of Canadian players to wave towels in the deepest bench. Whether this rule would have probably half of Canadians or less on the charts, but it would be more in line with reality.

DRAFT / ALL STARS WEEKEND
My opinion is well known, after three Drafts the conclusion is that only the first round is taken into account and as role players mostly. I think it would be quite a single round and the other players not selected in the draft would become free agents.

With respect to the "All Stars Weekend" is a spent more time even when the formula has already been completed. This season, after the celebrations John'13 Halifax'12 and Sain, the refusal of London made ??the All Star was a hot potato. I firmly believe that the current format of All Stars Weelend is completely dispensable.

OFFICE STAFF
I think this the least of the problems that the league should address in the coming months.

Thanks and good bye

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"THE KICK OUT INCIDENT" #FREEMODACO

LONDON FREE PRESS / JOURNALIST MORRIS DALLACOSTA
I think "The incident" of ejecting journalist Morris Dalla Costa (LPF) from WFCU Centre by Windsor Express owner Dartis Willis is very unfortunate. Commish Paul Riley response is unfortunate also disengage from this issue. I think is very bad (for the league) be known around the world by lot of headlines and tweets talking about a NBL franchise kick out a journalist. Bad to NBLC image.

Make no mistake about my opinion of league, I love NBL of Canada, no make sense for me to cover a league from Spain if this league dislike me. But, however, I think is necessary bring to light wrongs and unsuccess of the league to NBLC improves.

This is not corporatism, I have not the pleasure to meet personally with Morris as most people around the league, but if I know the work done to cover the league and its franchises.

A sporting event, a competition or tournament is known or exists as it is on TV or out in the media or press. In the present case, the NBL of Canada has no national television contract level (except some games televised locally) and this is the first season you can watch the games live over the Internet. No TV contract the league does not exist for most Canadians. A television contract must be a priority for the league, to be known and acquire sponsors.



The League coverage by the press or on Internet is very uneven. While there are a couple of well covered franchises and providing valuable information and opinion, such as Halifax Rainmen and London Lightning, other franchises have poor coverage (I leave aside excellent work of fans of certain franchises like Harvey Mazerolle and Ken Trenholm).

My sincere support to journalist Morris Dalla Costa #FreeMoDaCo

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FINAL ATTENDANCE REPORT

ottawahoops.com / Empty Canadian Tire Centre (Kanata)
ATTENDANCE
ORIGINAL FRANCHISES
London has obtained an spectacular 2014 average with 3993 crowd every night, 1246 people more than last season, with more than 7000 crowd a pair of games and averaging more than 5000 people on last month. They has current single game attendance record with 7396 crowd (I hope they destroy it in playoffs). All of this with London Knights hockey team competitor, but with a good marketing plan . Canadian pro ball man Leo Rautins congratulated Lightning organisation recently.

In the bottom of losers this season is Halifax Rainmen. New Scotia NBLC creator franchise has lost around 1100 persons per night (From 2538 to 1434), basically, because last and current seasons was and is awful on the court (out of play-offs last seasons and loser record 11-29 this season). Another factor to lose fans has been the revolving door of players. It's imposible to recognize Rainmen players. NBL of Canada needs a Halifax Rainmen franchise strong in the Maritimes Division to able to bring around 3000 to Halifax Metro Centre. Apart to improve marketing plan and sponsors, Rainmen needs a championship team every year (like Lightning) to maintain a strong league. Andre cannot afford another wrong season.

Miracles is (more or less) on same attendance numbers, however, The Storm suffered his relocation in Charlottetown losing almost 300 spectators. I hope Storm owners has obtained others adventages for the other band. Saint John  Mill Rats, the other NBLC creator franchises, has fallen of 2000 crowd average of last season despite to be Maritimes Division regular season league leaders and stable roster. They averages 1751 fans. Attendance deadlock signs?

"SOPHOMORES" FRANCHISES
The Power and Express attendance of first season was awful with lacks 400 and 600 fans per night respectively. In his second year all are same for both franchises. Power relocated from Oshawa to Mississauga to increase a little bit to 500 fans only. Mississauga Power has worst attendance record this season with 117 fans. However, Windsor Express is the better team (without discussion) this season, but only 700 fans have gone to WFCU Centre per night. All Express organization has failed except Coaches and roster. Caesar Casino battle with 2800 fans indicates than there are ball fans in Windsor, but not in WFCU Centre. The question is follow the good way.

EXPANSION FRANCHISES
Season of bad decisions in Ottawa from "Tomahawks" team name, Canadian Tire Centre bad selection (too big and too far), big expectations not cover. And surprising eliminated (by Power) in last game to obtained last place to playoffs. The Skyhawks averages 1052 fans per night, an insignificant fans presence in a venue with more than 20000 seats. Maximum attendance of 3560 against minimun of 158 fans in a irregular season. They will come back for second season? (I hope yes). Brampton A's is having a successful season on court (not in vain they are title candidates), but they are having a poor season in a empty Powered Centre. What happens if Express or A's had had a bad season?

CONCLUSIONS
In my opinion is very important to do a better schedule, better home game dates and at weekend. The franchises fights against QMJHL, against weather and against very bad lease agreement. I don't know if relocate the league to summer is the answer. There isn't Hockey competition, any cancellations games due to bad time... It's true, but London has demostrated than they can win to Hockey. The league must talk about schedule changes, less games, stars the league before (september) or after (april).Also it's true than majority franchises marketing plan need to improve and sign better lease agreement and places with a logical number of seats (2500-3000) and more near to potential fans. The league have to take decisions when 4 of 9 franchises are very below of 1200 people per game minimum necessary to maintain the team.


Friday, January 31, 2014

STABLE ROSTER

millratsbasketball.ca / TYRONE LEVETT
There is some concepts very used lately like "stable roster" and "revolving door". All franchises, owners, GMs look for a stable roster, fans want a familiar faces in his roster team to become in his idols. The reality of minors leagues is the revolving door of players in the roster team due to overseas offers, injured or technical decisions (to improve or impatiently). It's true that the franchises cannot fighting about it in many times. You sign a talent player which receives a good job in Europe and you must release him. 

Players who has played in all seasons
A part of solution of this problem is to plan in the moment to build team roster in the pre-season. To build a stable roster with aspirations to become a championship team you must be very carefully to sign players. You need a group of players with experience in the league, veterans players who know to build chemical in a team. If you bring a pair of players per week you create a uncertainty climate very negative to team. For this reason, a kind of player to looking for in the market is a player which will play all season in the team. Maybe in the market you can found a talent young player which makes the different on court, but he leaves the team when his agent obtains a better job overseas. 

In this season at the moment.
A Franchise can find a veterans and talented players with a experience in the league and to build with them a stable roster, a championship team to able to earn title. Brampton A's keeps a 11 players of roster team who began the league with a some injured substitutions with a success in the league. They are 3rd. Ottawa Skyhawks mantains 9 players from first regular season game, however with less success. Halifax Rainmen keeps 3 players from the begining of the season (keep in mind that Tim Parham landed days before season start) and have dressed Rainmen shirt until 23 players. It's imposible to build a team.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

REVOLVING DOOR LEAGUE LEADERS

JD Crowe 5/27/11
HALIFAX RAINMEN 21 PLAYERS USED 10 MOVES & 2 HEAD-COACHES
(Moody, Lawrence, Richards, Sir, Funn, Johnson, Gillespie, Harris, Riley, Tolbert)
Coach's decision: Anthony Moody, David Lawrence Willian Funn, Dane Johnson, Ivan Harris, Kaylone Riley, Dwight Tolbert
Injured: Brock Gillespie
Personal reasons/others: Stephen Sir, Tyler Richards
Bad results: Chris Terrell (H-C)

LONDON LIGHTNING 20 PLAYERS USED 8 MOVES
(Withers, Wisseh, Freeman, Forte, Atuahene, Singleton, Coleman, Carter)
Mutual agreenment: Antwi Atuahene
Coach's decision: Raheem Singleton, Maurice Carter
Overseas: Curtis Withers, Jason Forte
Personal reasons/others: Gabe Freeman, Jaytornah Wisseh
Injured: Al'lonzo Coleman

SAINT JOHN MILL RATS 20 PLAYERS USED 8 MOVES
(Smith, Matthews, Diarra, Petty Jr, Curtis, Luby, Jackson, Anderson)
Coach's decision: Ashton Smith, Modibo Diarra, Eric Petty Jr, Rober Curtis, Mike Luby, Alex Jackson
Trade: Chris Matthews
Personal reasons/others: Mike Anderson


ISLAND STORM 19 PLAYERS USED 7 MOVES
(Graham, Tisby, Evans, Coleman, Inge, Daanish, Plummer)
Coach's decision: Ashton Graham, Derek Coleman, Semaj Inge, Amani Daanish
Personal reasons/others: Antoine Tisby, Nick Evans
Traded: Greg Plummer


MISSISSAUGA POWER 17 PLAYED USED 5 MOVES & 2 HEAD-COACHES
(Dusan Virijevic, Petty Jr, Okwandu, Murray, Okorie & Fred Grannum)
Coach's decision: Dusan Virijevic, Eric Petty Jr, Charles Okwandu, Tyler Murray
Traded: Nick Okorie
Bad results: Fred Grannum (H-C)

MONCTON MIRACLES 16 PLAYERS USED 5 MOVES
(Terrell, Raic, Jacobson, Vines, Buckley)
Coach's decision: Jamill Terrell, Anto Raic, Alex Jacobson, Cornelius Vines, Dominique Buckley

WINDSOR EXPRESS 16 PLAYERS 4 MOVES
(Hall, Licorish, Dawson, Freeman)
Coach's decision: DeAndre Hall, Terry Licorish, Jason Dawson, Tommy Freeman

OTTAWA SKYHAWKS 15 PLAYERS USED 4 MOVES & 2 HEAD-COACHES
(Hannibal, Crook, Jamison, Lual & Kevin Keathley)
Coach's decision: Jason Hannibal, Demetrius Jamison, Manock Lual
Injured: Jamal Crook
Different team philosophy: Kevin Keathley (H-C)

BRAMPTON A'S 14 PLAYERS USED 2 MOVES 
(Adrian Harrison & Rick Bodiford)
Coach's decision: Adrian Harrison, Rick Bodiford

Thursday, December 19, 2013

#CANvsUSA IN NBLC ALL STAR GAME

basketballbuzz.ca
I think the format of "All Star Game" as conceived in the league NBA Eastern Conference against Western Conference is a product that offers many signs of exhaustion. Lately, these games offer little competition and the players do not play defense limiting the show to pop dunks. The NBA league should bet on a game between the best American players against the rest of the world players in the league where there is something to motivate the players to compete.

Talent levels below find the "All Star Game" of the NBL of Canada. While the NBL league can not put in the court the talent level of the NBA if he can appeal to the patriotic sense of the "Great White North" in a game between the best against the best U.S. Canadian league. In the past All Stars Games in both Halifax and Saint John, apart from varying economic success or public, in games there was nothing to compete and games were not really nothing to compete. Mix in two teams the best players from across the border in the league along with some other prominent Canadian I fought a game with nothing at stake has (in my opinion) little incentive. However, the fact that a combination of the best Canadian players in the league can beat the best group of American players in the league is a very important motivation and gives meaning to the Canadian league, ie develop the professional basketball in Canada considering Canadian players. It is also true that perhaps even this season has not been a significant number of Canadian players with real talent that could stand up to the Americans and potentially successful. Therefore, I propose a "All Star Game" that faces Canadians to bet against Americans by Canadian players, the motivation to defeat rivals South and give meaning to the All Star Game itself. I think Canadians are adventuresome excited to see a Canadian play and compete against Americans in a face to face on a court. If we look at the list of teams we can gather a group of Canadian players strong enough to plant the Americans face and crazy fans will support them to defeat the American team.

Review the lists and playing at being the head coach of the Canadian team could select the "Athletic" Evaldas Zabas (A's) as starting point guard. Beside her, without hesitation, the shooting guard Garrett Williamson would (Lightning), one of the best guards in the league. To complete the backcourt off the bench would add to #1 last Draft, Alex Johnson (Power), and would like to keep in mind Antwi Atuahene (which could be back in the league at that time) and even Stephen Sir (Rainmen). Harouna Mutombo would have eyes on (Lightning), Tyler Murray (Power) and Papa Oppong (Express). As a starting small forward signed Jameson Tipping (A's), but I also like Kevin Francis (A's) and the latest addition to the Rainmen (Canada and former international team) Olu Famutimi. No doubt my power forward is Greg Surmacz (Lightning) and add to Kevin Loiselle (Espress) who can play SF and PF spots. In the center spot is where the Canadian combined (and the league in general) is short staff, but the new acquisition by Ottawa Skyhawks Jasonn Hannibal covers that position. As PF/C we can acquire Jamie Vanderbeken (Skayhawks) I think pueder be more important in this league. With respect to the head coach, there is only one Canadian coach David "DJ" Joseph (Power), unfortunately very few Canadians have been lavished on the benches of the NBL of Canada. He could be the one. 

This could be a first step for a future expansion franchise (or any current franchise) bet on a competitive team composed entirely of Canadian players. It is a romantic idea that I wish to come true sooner rather than later.

CANADIAN ROSTER:
Evaldas Zabas PG (A's)
Antwi Atuahene PG (Storm)
Alex Johnson PG (Power)
Garrett Williamson SG (Lightning)
Papa Oppong SG (Express)
Jameson Tipping SF (A's)
Kevin Francis SF (A's)
Olu Famutini SF (Rainmen)
Kevin Loiselle PF (Express)
Greg Surmacz PF (Lightning)
Shamus Ferguson C (Power)
Jamie Vanderbeken C (Skayhawks)

Friday, November 29, 2013

NBLC RNK STATS

STORM FACEBOOK / ANTONIO BALLARD
LAST UPDATED 02/18/2014

MY NBLC 13/14 FIRST TEAM:

G DARREN DUNCAN (WINDSOR EXPRESS)
G STEFAN BONNEAU (WINDSOR EXPRESS)
G ANTHONY ANDERSON (SAINT JOHN MILL RATS)
F ANTONIO BALLARD (THE ISLAND STORM)
F CHRIS COMMONS (WINDSOR EXPRESS)

MY NBLC 13/14 SECOND TEAM TEAM:

G CEDRIC MOODIE (BRAMPTON A'S)
G GARRETT WILLIAMSON (LONDON LIGHTNING)
G RYAN ANDERSON (OTTAWA SKYHAWKS)
F QUINNEL BROWN (WINDSOR EXPRESS)
F TYRONE LEVETT (SAINT JOHN MILL RATS)


JOHN STRICKLAND RNK STATS

ANTONIO BALLARD (STORM) 23,2
G(37) MIN(35,6) PTS(22,5) RT(9,8) AS(2,1) RNK(860)

ANTHONY ANDERSON (MILL RATS) 21,1 
G(37) MIN(42,6) PTS(24,3) RT(4,8) AS(5,6) RNK(782)

STEFAN BONNEAU (EXPRESS) 21,1
G(37) MIN(37,6) PTS(22,4) RT(5) AS(4,5) RNK(781)


SAM CAREY 6MOY

FRED STURDIVANT (SKYHAWKS) 9,8
G(37) MIN(20) PTS(8) RT(5,8) AS(0,5) RNK(364)

source: usbasket.com