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Kai Ryssdal: The business of sports story today has nothing at all to do with the Super Bowl. It’s not about how much money the star player’s going to make or how big the television contract is.
Professional sports is a cut-throat business. Not surprising with all the money that’s on the line. So it’s not unusual for one team to poach top talent from a rival.
What you don’t see everyday is an owner trying recruit a rival fan. Marketplace’s Jeff Tyler explains:
Jeff Tyler: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was impressed recently when he came to a Los Angeles Clippers game.
Not by what happened on the court, but by one particularly booming voice in the stands.
Steve Perrin blogs about the Clippers. He says the fan known as Clipper Darrell is a constant presence. Clipper Darrell mobilizes fans with his boisterous cheers:
Steve Perrin: My kids love him. Every time we go there, they hear his voice and have to try to find him in the crowd. He’s easy to spot because he wears a half red, half blue satin suit with a Clippers logo on the back.
Cuban approached Clipper Darrell — aka Darrell Bailey — and offered him a job: move to Dallas and become the Mavericks number one fan.
Perrin says his first reaction to the news was…
Perrin: Huh? You don’t pay people to be fans. You don’t take a Clipper fan and say “now you’re a Maverick fan.” It doesn’t really translate.
Economist Allan Sanderson at the University of Chicago follows the business of sports. His advice?
Allan Sanderson: I’d sign the guy to a one year or very short-term contract or advise the guy, if you’re going to move to Dallas, rent, don’t buy, because I suspect the novelty effect could wear off fairly soon.
Sanderson says all sports teams are getting creative about filling the seats:
Sanderson: Is it the swimming pool in Phoenix out in center field? Is it interactive seats? Could we have people get married before the game? Jerry Reinsdorf tried that here with the Sox.
Steve Perrin says he wouldn’t begrudge Clipper Darrell for cashing in. In fact, he says that if Mark Cuban has an extra million dollars, Perrin could be persuaded to blog about the Mavericks.
In Los Angeles, I’m Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.