Monday, September 8, 2014

Note to World: Discussing Demographics is Now Racist

I am looking a little closer into the alleged "racist" remarks of Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson. Here is what he wrote in an email that is supposedly "racist":
 Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn't much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can't get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league. when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following: 
-- it's 70 pct black
-- the cheerleaders are black
-- the music is hip hop
-- at the bars it's 90 pct black
-- there are few fathers and sons at the games
-- we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.
 Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.
Before we bought the hawks and for those couple years immediately after in an effort to make the arena look full (at the nba's urging) thousands and thousands of tickets were being giving away, predominantly in the black community, adding to the overwhelming black audience.
My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.
I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don't care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season tixs demo. i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.
Gradually things have changed. My unscientific guess is that our crowd is 40 pct black now, still four to five times all other teams. And my further guess is that 40 pct still feels like 70 pet to some whites at our games. Our bars are still overwhelmingly black.
This is obviously a sensitive topic, but sadly i think it is far and way the number one reason our season ticket base is so low.
And many of our black fans don't have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).
Levenson is simply talking demographics here and what will improve season ticket sales and food & beverage sales. I can't imagine any business in the world that doesn't attempt to identify what demographic makes sense for them to go after and result in the most profit.

Levenson has absolutely no reason in the world to be a public relations agency for the black community or cater to blacks, if it is less profitable to do so.

Are Las Vegas casinos racist against blacks and whites because they go out of their way to target Asian "whale" gamblers? Of course, not. The idea is absurd.

I would like to see NBA head office demographic studies and see if they target certain groups. They would be incompetent if they didn't. And they don't appear to me to be incompetent marketers.When they sell rights to national games to various television networks do they provide demographics as part of their sales pitch? Of course, they do.



  1. The new commandment is, "Thou Shall Not Mention Race." This article is racist. This post is racist. Race car drivers are racists.

  2. RW-

    By posting this you have proven yourself a hateful racist bigot. How dare you post an email about possible race related issues! The owner is obviously a hateful bigoted racist by even noticing the racial composition of the audience.

    Hateful racist bigot racist hateful bigot hateful. Bigot.


    Things like this, the "knockout game", the Memphis racial attack, the constant invocation of "it's the White Man's fault"- if I was a black man I would do everything in my power to distance myself from these hucksters.

  3. He even points out the racist nonsense on the fan pages.
    "On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don't know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. "

    But what do I know? I'm just a young, white, CIS-gendered, privileged male. My opinion doesn't matter.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. I suspect this story is NOT what it seems.

    Phooey. This guy Bruce Levenson saw that Donald Sterling was able to get $2B for the mediocre Clippers. Compare what other recent NBA teams sold for here:

    Levenson "reported himself" knowing that the league could not force him to sell the team at a loss. So he played the League office for a bunch of chumps knowing that they were slaves to political correctness and he could force their hand. By reporting himself in a public manner, he tied the hands of the suits in the League HQ and they had little choice but to fall right into his trap. Levenson also characterized his writings as "reprehensible" and feigned shame at his "exposure". Methinks thou doth protest too little Mr. Levenson.

    But on a shrewdness level, I say: "Well played Bruce, well played indeed."

  6. How many MicroBucks will Balmer's former chum Gates pony up for the Hawks when they give Levenson the Sterling treatment? Replace all present sports team owners of all sports with Govt. approved PC types!

  7. The word racist is deliberately vague and essentially meaningless. It's a propagandist term meant to thwart any real discussions of race based on empirical evidence rather than emotion.