Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sports Law: Beyond Iron Clad

Roughly 30 years ago, the American Basketball Association gave up as a competitor to the National Basketball Association and agreed to a merger. Four of the six ABA teams became NBA teams (Pacers, Nets, Nuggets and Spurs). The owner of the Kentucky Colonels agreed to a buyout, but the interesting twist in this story involves the Spirits of St. Louis and their owners, the Silna brothers.

The story comes from the Los Angeles Times, and all of the above facts are cribbed from the article. Instead of agreeing to a straightforward cash buyout, the Silna brothers were paid $3 million and, in perpetuity, a share of the tv revenues of the four ABA teams merged into the NBA.

What is most amazing, other than the league agreeing to perpetual payout (what were they thinking?), is that this contract has apparently been challenged by various parties--the league, the former ABA teams, former St. Louis execs--and has been upheld. In sports and entertainment law today, contracts are often incredibly long and complex, seeking to cover every eventuality, yet somehow I bet they are more open to attack than whatever document has paid the Silnas $168 million over the past 30 years.

Trivia: Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo at one time all had NBA teams. All three teams are still active, but have relocated. Which cities are home to the progeny of upstate basketball?


Anonymous Joel said...

Syracuse Nationals = Philadelphia 76ers

Rochester Royals = Sacramento Kings

Buffalo Braves = Los Angeles Clippers

3:01 PM  
Blogger TMT said...

And Joel wins the award.
Sort of fitting that the miserable Clips started off in Buffalo, I think.

3:03 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home