X

Ball point pen on today's newsprint

I've read a lot of analysis for why the Nets never caught on in New Jersey but they all seem to leave out the Sportschannel variable. The Nets front office made a lot of mistakes: selling Dr. J's contract to Phillie for cash, playing in an arena that was hard to get to, but I think what doomed the Nets from the start was a deal that took a new NBA team, moving to a new state, looking to build a fan base and put all their games on a premium, pay-to-watch cable channel.

Like the Julius Erving debacle, the cash grab was short sighted. By not making the broadcasts free, the local fan base never reached a point where they were willing to invest their time, interest or cash. This was during the Carter administration when unemployment was high, gas lines were long and sports on television were free. No matter how well they played (and they did have some very good years) it was like the proverbial tree falling in the forest, no one was there to hear or care. If you ever went to a home Nets game vs. the Knicks, you know that northern Jersey had plenty of basketball savvy patrons, it's just that they were already Knick fans.

Good luck building a fan base in Brooklyn, at least the games will be on basic cable.