JOE NEWMAN INTERVIEW!
I recently did an interview with ABA CEO Joe Newman by e-mail. So here's a new feature cooking in the oven!
I wondered why the ABA hasn't made more merchandise like jerseys, etc. available to fans. I think there could be a good market for these items. I asked Joe if he thought there would be a time when he could release some.
"The ABA does have a complete line of merchandise as do all of its teams," he said. "It is available via the ABA website or the individual teams websites."
I agree there are some, including the newly released Alley Oop gear, but there's not enough to suit me. (I'd have everything if I had enough money!)
Next question: Why hasn't the ABA made box scores of every game available on their website?
"We use the ABA website for news and let the teams who choose to to post their box scores. For now, it is too cumbersome a process."
Okay Joe. That's a good answer for now, but if you get more popular, make sure to post them. I'm sure the fans will appreciate the extra effort put in by the statisticians. (And I can put them in my blog!)
Next I asked Joe why some of the teams didn't reach his requirements.
"Some teams have not had good venues," he said, "or their game operations were poor or they were not good hosts to visiting teams or they missed road games with no good reason - and as a result, we suspend them. We have a lot of good teams, we don't want teams that do not do it right to affect our good teams negatively."
Will we see an ABA draft, Joe?
"We will not have a draft; we prefer to have tryout camps and encourage teams to find players from their own regions."
Well, that makes sense. The only problem is, enough people may not show up, but look into the positives: there will be enough and they will all be good!
I wondered how upcoming teams approached the ABA when they wanted to start a team.
Joe says it happens this way: "I receive requests for information everyday from people interested in having a team. We correspond by email and telephone and those that are interested, reserve markets."
I'm not surprised because there are lots of ABA teams. More than the NBA could dream of. Will there be more teams next season than now?
"There will be at least 20 new good teams next season," Joe answered. "We are growing rapidly in spite of suspending teams this season."
How did he feel about former NBA players like Tim Hardaway leading ABA teams?
"We really appreciate having former NBA stars in our league, including Tim, Cedric Ceballos, Gary Grant, Vincent Askew, Armon Gillam and others. We're flattered."
I really like the ABA salute program and wondered how it got started.
"Our son Todd is a Master Sergeant in the U. S. Marines; we wanted to do something to show support of our troops and the many good organizations that support our troops. It is a great program. We're proud of ABA Salute. T odd's wife Jennifer is the coordinator."
That's great! I'm glad the ABA helps the Marines and our other troops. They deserve all the support we can give them. Jennifer must be doing a great job as coordinator. Todd must be very proud of her.
The two teams I think have done the best all around job this season (so far) are the Florida Pit Bulls and the Indiana Alley Cats. They both have good records and get good attendance but I wondered who Joe thought had done the best.
He came up with a lot of teams. "There are several teams that have shown outstanding operations," he said, "including, but not limited to, the Maryland Nighthawks, the Florida Pit Bulls, the San Jose Skyrockets, the Rochester Razorsharks, the Gallup Talons, the Indiana Alley Cats, the Pittsburgh Xplosion, the Harlem Strong Dogs, the Ohio Aviators, the SoCal Legends, the Fresno Heatwave, the Bellingham Slam...and quite a few more."
Whew! That's a lot of teams but they have all done good jobs as of this point.
The ABA doesn't really make too many trades. I asked Joe if that would change soon, and whether or not it would help the teams if there were more trades.
Joe said, "The ABA teams can trade if they want to trade. We do not supervise this at the league level. I doubt there will be many trades."
When will we see ABA on major TV channels?
"We are working on national TV now," Joe said. "Hopefully next season."
If you can't get major TV channels then I think you should start a building block on local channels and work your way up. I'll watch as long as I don't have to pay for another channel. Right now there are no free channels in my area where I can catch live ABA action. I really hope that changes soon.
Last question: Some teams disappear after a year. Is it low ticket sales and a lack of interest, or something else? I'm thinking of our Tampa Bay Thunderdawgs who were only here one season.
"No teams have folded in the past two years. The ABA has suspended teams for failing to meet league requirements," Joe answered. "In the old ABA, teams like Tampa folded because the business model (salary cap, venues, travel etc) was not good. It is now. There is great interest in the ABA."
I hope we get some interest in Tampa. I've been waiting too long and I'm ready for a new team.
Well, guys, this is the recap of my first interview on my blog. Thanks to Joe for being so nice for doing this.
I hope you like this new feature and look forward to my interview with Florida Pit Bull player Karel Rasario, coming soon.