The Business Behind “Super Teams”

Sam Lavely, Senior Staff Writer

  In the National Basketball Association (NBA) there has been a lot of controversy over “super teams” in the past couple of years. “Super teams” are simply a label given to teams that stack their lineups with multiple superstars. The controversy revolves around what should and should not be allowed in terms of building teams. Fans all over America get upset over teams that are just recruiting the best players in the league to join their already stacked lineups. Teams like the Warriors and the Yankees, for example, have faced a lot of heat for simply implementing the goal of the teams: To win. Essentially, I believe that super teams are good for the leagues and provide higher ticket sales and viewership. Fans of professional sports leagues seem to forget that the NBA, MLB, NFL, NHL, etc. are all just huge corporations with smaller entities below them (the teams).
  Players in professional sports leagues have two main goals in mind, which are to win and to achieve a solid payday. Winning typically takes precedence, however, as we’ve seen for years in cases such as Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Durant, some players take significant pay cuts in order to add more players for their team. The players, however, are not the main issue in this discussion, as most people seem to understand why players do what they do; they’re the basis of the league.
  Coaches however, are typically the people that fanbases blame for any issues with the team. The goal of coaches is essentially to win so that they can get good pay. However, this often relies on how well upper management, including owners and general managers, does their job. It occurs often that a coach will blamed and fired for a team with a terrible roster (unless you’re Hue Jackson of the Browns who can go 1-31 and keep your job). Coaches want to win and want a sizeable check, and if a superteam comes along with it, of course they’re going to take it because it almost guarantees they’ll look good.
  Individual teams’ upper management is the most significant reason for the rise of superteams. However, all upper management really cares about is their demographics. Unlike coaches and players, they don’t have to worry about where they are. They’re set in the same place and just need to please the local fans first and national fans later. Fans become more enamored with teams when they’re winning, as so many can see with “bandwagon” movements towards successful teams. So, is it not just that the teams would be attempting to build the best roster they can to fill the seats in the stadium? Focusing on pleasing the surrounding fans is the smartest thing they can do. All the teams want to do is make money; they don’t care about “unfair advantages” as long as they are executed in a “legal” way.
  The NBA has had the same two teams in the finals for the past three years, and it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. So, with all of the complaints, why is the NBA’s viewership consistently increasing? Brand recognition is a huge part of business in general, and becoming the “evil” team of your league is the best way to get it. Everybody wants to see superteams lose because they just can’t stand to see them win.