PHOENIX – David Stern realizes the financial crisis makes growth difficult, so he’ll settle for not losing much.
The NBA commissioner said Saturday that his league is holding steady and will continue to do so, even during a worldwide economic downturn that has put many big businesses in jeopardy.
“I always get into trouble saying this,” Stern said. “I have been concerned for 25 years, and so I always worry about everything. But all I can say is that in a difficult economic environment we are going to maintain our attendance and our revenues, even last year.”
Stern said the league was forecasting more robust growth in September before the markets collapsed. Instead, he predicted the NBA will “be even rather than up because of the overall economic situation.”
“The stock market is down 30 or 40 percent,” he said. “The fact that we may be flat or down a percent or 2, I’d sign up for it now in this environment for a long time because we just don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The press conference was highlighted when he announced the NBA finals MVP award would be named for Bill Russell – who never won one because the league didn’t start giving them out until the Boston Celtics great had already claimed almost all of his 11 NBA titles.