I’m interning at Advertising Age and recently contributed to a piece on the lockout’s winners and losers. Being a marketing-oriented magazine, they chose to focus on TV networks and branding. I tried to add a little basketball analysis – predictably, most of it got cut. Here’s the unedited version:
All cities with NBA franchises will be suffering thanks to the lockout, but some more than others.
Exhibit A: Orlando, Florida.
Last year’s midseason trades for Gilbert Arenas and Hedo Turkoglu signified an all-in bet for the Magic: Win now and resign star center Dwight Howard, or spend years saddled by their new acquisitions’ albatross contracts. After an embarrasing first-round loss to regional foe Atlanta Hawks despite breathtaking play from Howard, the onus is on the team to convince their star to stay. The longer the league’s impasse lasts, the less time the team has to come together for one final shot before Howard’s 2012 free agency. If it weren’t for the lockout, Howard would currently be in training camp working out with teammates – instead, he’s telling Esquire, “There’s more you can do in a bigger place,” and, “I just don’t know what else I can do.”
Exacerbating matters is that Orlando is slated to host the 2012 NBA All-Star game, which will be cancelled should the lockout extend to December. The game would likely be delayed to 2014 or 2015, meaning the city would still eventually rake in the millions of dollars that come with hosting the weekend of events. Still, Orlando will miss the opportunity to show off its brand-spankin’-new arena. While other small-market teams have cut costs, the Magic’s ownership and the city have both invested considerably in their franchise. If the lockout costs them a pivotal season, they could hardly be blamed for growing impatient with their team.