In these tough economic times, some professional sports teams have had to look for alternative ways to generate capital and stay afloat. Raising ticket prices isn’t really an option for many franchises as cost-conscious spectators are less likely to shell out top bucks. Plus, it would look like a cash grab and wouldn’t necessarily show goodwill toward fan bases.
So teams have looked past the public’s wallets and narrowed in on a sector of people much more important – celebrities.
Celebrities are an easy target. They have a shitload of money and most of them actually think they could have been a pro athlete had they not been so damn good at rapping, crooning, acting or just looking pretty.
For example, Port Vale, a third division soccer club in England, tapped hometown celebrity Robbie Williams to the tune of $500,000 in 2006 making him the club’s majority shareholder. Some of you are asking, “Who the hell is Robbie Williams?”
I mean come on, he’s only the United Kingdom’s all-time album selling solo artist and was named the UK’s Greatest Artist of the 1990s. Sorry, Bono. The reason you don’t know Robbie Williams is because while he is a major star across the Atlantic, he never had a single reach higher than No. 20 on American charts. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t Uncle Scrooge-Dive into a bunch of gold coins from time to time. He’s worth an estimated $160 million. So naturally, Port Vale is looking for a little more cheddar from their cash cow.
Who knows if they’ll get it though. Williams is quite a bit confused about a few things. Most notably, his sexuality.
“As it happens, I’ve never slept with a man. I’ve never done anything with a man. The thought has passed my mind, but it always stops at his bits. I’m not discounting it, but it hasn’t appealed enough for me to do it – yet.”
“I would be prepared to bed a member of the same sex to save my own skin or that of a furry animal. I wouldn’t enjoy it but I could do it under the pain of death, or if it meant saving a baby bunny from being burned alive.”
So gun to my head, sure I’d blow a guy.
Hey, don’t step on that ant!
Please! I’ll blow you. Just don’t step on that ant!
We should have seen the writing on the wall when he made a music video about figure skating. But I mean the dude was dating Rachel Hunter, this tasty piece from some girls band called All Saints and this ridiculously hot TV actress no one has heard of.
So if a bi-curious nancy British pop star is willing to pony up (wow), why shouldn’t other celebrities?
Here in the States, the NBA has been the biggest beneficiary of celeb cash dumps. And come on, you saw all the big hitters at Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Jay-Z is helping out the New Jersey Nets in hopes one day the dream move to Brooklyn will come true. Nelly has hitched his wagon to Michael Jordan and Bob Johnson with Charlotte. And Usher is cashing in on LeBron.
But there are plenty more teams struggling with their bank accounts, heck the NBA itself cut 80 jobs in October. So here’s a look at a few franchises struggling to balance the books and their potential local knights in shining armor.
Indiana Pacers – The Pacers, owned by Herb and Mel Simon, lost reportedly more than $7 million each of the past two seasons and the future isn’t looking any better with serious lease issues. There are a few celebs Indy could tab to help alleviate the financial crisis. First and foremost, there’s David Letterman.
Top 10 Reasons Fans Want Letterman to Own The Pacers
10. Biff Henderson would make sure Pacers players didn’t go into the stands.
9. During timeouts, clips such as the one with Dave and Salma Hayek discussing her breast development will be shown on the Jumbotron.
8. Bonnie Hunt, Charles Grodin and Regis Philbin would be regular guests.
7. Dave’s mom will set up a pie stand in the East Concourse.
6. Dave could come up with creative ways to give Larry the Bird.
5. Drew Barrymore would join the Pacemates.
4. Paul Shaffer – as the public address announcer – will force unprepared opponents to jam pencils in their ears and convulse at halfcourt.
3. Home games will tipoff at 11:35 p.m., finally giving Indy residents something to do at night.
2. Dave could teach Jamaal Tinsley his next career move.
1. Dave would petition to have Phoenix removed from the home schedule. Thanks, Joaquin.
New Orleans – The Hornets dumped salary (Tyson Chandler) because market conditions are deteriorating faster than anticipated. Who would have thought? People in New Orleans spending their money on indoor plumbing and roofing rather than throwing $70 a ticket for the 15th row.
New Orleans native Ellen DeGeneres has plenty of coin (Forbes put her at $65 million in 2007), but the talk show host is more suited for the WNBA crowd if you know what I mean. And if you don’t. And who are we kidding, Carl Weathers doesn’t have any money.
If anyone is going to come to the Hornets’ aid it’s the man who has saved millions of lives already. “Sweatin’ To the Oldies” and Disco Sweat” are just what the Hornets organization needs to get in shape. Richard Simmons is the perfect fit. And speaking of fit, New Orleans’ uniforms will be nut-hugging, candy-striped Dolfin shorts and tank tops decorated with Swarovski crystals.
Phoenix Suns – Why are the Suns looking to offload one of the premier young big men in the game in Amar’e Stoudemire? Well, Phoenix owner Robert Sarver is hemorrhaging money and a luxury tax might be the final death blow.
Problem for Phoenix is there’s not a lot to choose from. You can go with Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks or the animator of “Land Before Time” and “American Tail,” but it might not get it done. Perhaps David Spade can pump some funds into the Suns. He could ask his brother’s wife, Kate Spade (she of handbag fame), for a little extra cash to get the deal done. I mean Spade was a championship athlete back in the 1980s. He ruled the Tempe skee ball scene. I’m not kidding.
And he’s already proven he can piggy back off other people’s efforts (see “Tommy Boy” and “Black Sheep”). Plus, Spade is a bit of a miracle worker. He got this former Playmate to have consensual sex with him and better yet, have his baby! With Spade in tow, anything is truly possible. Anything.
Sacramento Kings – Losing $25 million this season is definitely a red flag. The Maloofs want a new arena and want the taxpayers to help foot the bill. It should help that Sacramento’s mayor is a former NBA player (Kevin Johnson) and Arnold is desperate to keep the Kings in the capital because without them it’ll be Suckramento (though an NBA worst 11-43 record this year does a good job of that already). With the likes of Anaheim and San Jose looking to potentially gobble up an NBA team, the Maloofs need some help.
I’m pretty sure Joan Lunden, the guitarist from Jefferson Airplane and Molly Ringwald are broke, so the Maloofs will have to look to their Palms celebrity buddies like Hugh Hefner and Paris Hilton to bail them out. If Hugh takes the dip, I can see free agents being a little more inclined to relocate to Sac-Town. A free blonde for every salary cap friendly deal.
These are just some ideas. Other teams are in need to.
Minnesota should give Prince a call, just be prepared to have the team name changed a time or two.
Milwaukee should be fine as long as they keep selling beer, cheese and meats inside the Bradley Center. But if that’s not enough, Gene Wilder is still around. Though he’s tried to write books and Kiss Me Like A Stranger: My Search for Love and Art, My French Whore and The Woman Who Wouldn’t haven’t sold too well. Jeez, dude sounds like a date rapist. And if he was, this would be what a trip to jail would look like: