Because that’s the way we have always done it …

If you ever really want to get me mad, just bring up this phrase or something comparable in a business conversation. “That’s the way we have always done it.” Could there ever be a worse reason for doing something.

Do it because it’s the right thing. Do it because it’s the only thing. Do it because it’s all you know how to do or because it’s all you can afford. But please, don’t do it because its the way you have always done it.

Reading reviews and having conversations about our films and others here in Toronto lead to a discussion about reporting on budgets of movies. The amount of money spent to develop a movie is no one’s business but the people involved. Once the movie is completed, either the viewer is going to like it or not. How much people got paid is irrelevant.

Yet for some reason, coverage of entertertainment has gotten so difficult for those who write about it that they have to play the “salary card” or “boxoffice card”. Want to say something derogatory about a player but don’t want to actually have to write something of substance, just mention their salary. Want to chastise a movie that you havent seen? Just mention the box office.

If making salaries public is so important, why don’t reporters disclose their salaries? If weekly box office is so important, why don’t newspapers report daily sales and subscription numbers? If box office is the ultimate reflection of the quality of a movie, shouldn’t a newspaper, or magazines ‘ daily or by issue sales be a reflection of the quality of that issue?

It’s not hypocritical is it?

Which leads me to the stupidest of all financial disclosures.

Why in the world do sports teams disclose our attendance for games? Does it make even a little bit of difference to anyone at all? Do people bet on the number? No. Does it change the outcome of the game? No.So Yogi Berra knows it’s too crowded and no one goes there anymore?

Does it help competitive entertainment outlets know how our business is doing Yes. Could it give them an incentive to spend more money on promotion to compete with us if attendance is good? Yes. Could it give them more incentive to reference our attendance if it’s down? Yes. I know I read the attendance figures of the other Dallas teams and it certainly impacts the marketing decisions we make in our market.

What’s more, since teams do report attendance, it gives media something more to analyze. They want to dissect how we get to the number. Is it paid attendance? If the number was X, why were there so many empty seats? Which in turn allows them to speculate even further about what they think is impacting attendance. How stupid are we for reporting attendance?

So why do the Mavs report attendance?

I think it was 2 years ago that I told the management at the Mavericks not to report our attendance for a game. After each game, we turn in the boxscore, and I told them to leave the attendance blank. The league got all upset. They called us. They threatened to fine us. I told them I was of course going to report the numbers to the league, but I didn’t want the media to report it because it was competitive information.

Sorry they said, you have to report your attendance after every game.

Why?

Because that’s the way we have always done it.

57 thoughts on “Because that’s the way we have always done it …

  1. Actually magazines do post their numbers online. Most magazines have a link to their “press kit” that usually has subscription numbers, with some more detailed than others.

    Comment by Brad -

  2. Is that only what the NBA said, or, rather, is that only what the NBA believes? I don’t think you’re telling the entire story.

    You want to hide your Mavs attendance figures? Why not ban them from TV so no one can see who’s showing up? Ban the radio guys from reporting what they see. Heck, ban the fans so they can’t tell other people how many people they think are there. You don’t need fans to play your games, anyway. Sport isn’t art. You don’t need anyone around to appreciate it.

    If your team is good people will show up. It’s been like that since Day 1, Cuban. If your team sucks, fewer will show up. It’s also been like that since Day 1. If the local ice cream shop comes up with a new flavor this year called “Mavs Suck Because They Only Draw 6,000 Per Game Caramel Crunch” – you are going to get worked up about that? What if your team really is drawing 6,000 per game? I’m going to guess there would be a reason for that, which isn’t based on ice cream.

    How about making your team a winning one, year in and year out. Everything else will fall into place and you won’t have to write these paranoid blog entries.

    Comment by The Clock Ticks -

  3. Movie budgets and actors’ salaries are disclosed because people are curious and want to know. Just as they want to know what Jennifer Aniston wore to the Golden Globes, they also want to know how much money Tom Cruise got paid for his last movie.

    The Mavericks attendance, as someone else pointed out, should be reported if even a penny of the arena/stadium was paid for with taxpayer money.

    Comment by Tim -

  4. I totally agree with you Mark. The real problem is that there are very few real leaders out there. I mean people who are willing to take real risks, not just based on wall street’s or the media expectations. Tradition can cut both ways, and most of the time it hinders us – just go ask George Bush. There is way too much info out there for the average consumer to be worried about how much the box office did, or whether a team has sold out for the regular season. Sports fans are more concerned with the health of their favorite players, what motivates them, how are they preparing for the season or the next game. The media needs to go back to the days of actual reporting, not info to numb my brain…

    Comment by Cary G -

  5. Many people take their cues on what to do from others. Are the Mavs selling out a lot? Must be “the place to be.” What movie should we see this weekend? Well, movie X is still in first place at the box office. So yes, attendance and box office figures do have some value if you have a very good product. The figures won’t do anything to motivate the true-blue fans of basketball or movies — they are going nonetheless. But those fans on the margin, trying to decide among several options use those figures. So why not reward the popular entertainment by publishing attendance?

    In sports, some people feel there is an advantage to a home team that plays before a loud crowd. I haven’t seen the NBA analysis on this, but Bill James has done performance-before-a-crowd analysis for baseball, and the results are useful.

    Comment by Tom M -

  6. While I appreciate Mark’s point, there’s a counterpoint that should be stated. Sports teams, movie studios, concert organizers and even churches are tickled to trumpet attendance figures, box office and the like IF the numbers are impressive.

    Why? Because great numbers tell consumers, “Everyone else is doing it, you should too.” Think about it a minute. If consumers learn that “Revenge of the Bumblebees” made $100 million at the box office in its first week, then people would say, “Hey, that movie must be great! If everyone else is seeing it, then so should I.” If the Mavs (or any other sports team) play to sold-out arenas, then something exciting must be happening that others want to join.

    Which restaurant do you patronize? The trattoria with empty tables or the bustling eatery with a line out front. My guess is that most consumers would assume (whether true or not) that the busy restaurant has the best food, service, atmosphere or whatever. Also, don’t think for a second that advertisers don’t focus on attendance figures. They want to put their advertising dollar into venues that have consumers.

    So, I’m intrigued by the point Mark makes regarding attendance figures being used as competitive intelligence, but, if the numbers are impressive, there is a flip side to the coin.

    Comment by Zack -

  7. But in the case of blackouts, won’t people know anyway about the attendance? I know the Cowboys would make it known that a game wasn’t sold out to drum up last minute sales.

    Comment by Jim -

  8. are you sure you’re not in public accounting? as an auditor, i’ve heard that phrase too many times to count, and there’s never even a good reason that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

    Comment by sarahk -

  9. I think Mark needs to learn the term “Is that the hill you want to die on?”

    Comment by Dave -

  10. Mark, your comments concerning the movie business are off-base.

    I’m pretty certain you know that box office and salary information are disclosed to help market and promote movies — box office especially. The opening weekend numbers for new movies are critically important, the bigger the opening the more entertaining the movie appears to potential movie goers. That’s why studios spend a ton of money to try create huge openings.

    Secondly, in this “information age” box office and salary information are pieces of information that a lot of people want to know and talk about. Why else would a site like boxofficemojo.com exist?

    If you don’t want to disclose this information for your movies, its up to you, but you’re really blowing against the wind here.

    Regarding the Mav’s attendance figures, I can understand the competitive intelligence it provides. However, I don’t think disclosing it is as comptitively damaging as you feel it is. Unless they understand the factors impacting attendance, competitors who spend money on promotion based on just attendance trends could be wasting cash.

    Comment by Jack -

  11. “Because that’s the way we have always done it.” Probably one of David Stern’s favorite arguments…

    Good luck Mark.

    Comment by Paul Riccio -

  12. Absolutely agree – do it because it is the right thing not because it was always done that way. The latter thinking permeates our society.

    The amount money to develop a movie is no one’s business, but it is a selling gimmick, something that makes you different from the crowd if you fall into the extremes (i.e. extremely low or extremely high). People perceive value, or they perceive ingenuity. It is exciting to know how much Jim Cameron used to make Titanic; it is thrilling to know Ghost was made on a shoestring budget and was successful.

    Sports are entertainment; and those kinds of things excite the fans, and it gives them something more to talk about with friends and strangers.

    Comment by Fanclub -

  13. I actually have a question rather than a comment about the topic. If you had your druthers, who would fill the starting job left by Finley? Christie, Howard, Stackhouse, Daniels. I am sure you will leave it up to Avery to decide. I was just wondering what your take on the Mavs starting five is.

    Comment by James Askew -

  14. Hey Mark,

    Long time, first time…. anyway, maybe im wrong but im pretty sure I’ve heard you use that phrase (the way we’ve always done it) or something comparable in reference to Nellie contract extension talks during the season a few years ago……… Figured you’d know best.

    Comment by Rusty -

  15. What do you mean nobody bets on the attendance figure?!? People used to bet on Dennis Rodman’s hair color. Of course people bet on the attendance figure.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  16. I for one have never cared if there were 10 people at a game or if it was a sellout. I still have the option most of the time to view it on television or go there in person even if it is a sell-out you can always get tickets. There’s actually no such thing as a sell out. If you want in you can get in. Hell, I’ve snuck into 3 Pacers play-off games.

    But anyway, I rather watch on TV than go anyway. But, if you wish to go, you can get in. These people will never refuse money.

    As faor the title, people do that because it’s the easy and safest thing to say alot of times. This iws a very weak country and most of the time, when people actually voice their opinion, they get fired. Thats one of the resons sports broadcasting completely sucks these days.. All broadcasters must be so vanilla and say ridiculously obvious fluff for fear of losing their jobs.

    Comment by JR Ewing -

  17. I think we might be getting away from the main point which is that Mark would prefer not telling people how many people were at the Mavericks game.

    For a guy who wants every NBA player to know all about how the Mavs treat their guys, it’s an odd position to take.

    I would assume that attendance figures are a symptom of a larger problem than anything else.

    Comment by Mike G. -

  18. Actually, I favor the voluntary reporting of budgets for movies, just to remind us of the grossly lavish nature of the traditional entertainment industry. By all means, let’s expose the inefficiencies of age-old “convention”, so others can follow up with more efficient and more modern solutions.

    Potential investors, as well as consumers, are better informed with such disclosures. If we continue to see “10million-dollar” films that look “1million-dollar” – or vice versa – perhaps then, we will use our money more wisely.

    Comment by Charles -

  19. To Nathan (comment #6):

    Look into that question yourself. Find any open source alternatives and present them properly to the highest relevant director. Move forward 8 spaces.

    Comment by James Vaughn -

  20. What most of this is about is the value people place on being safe and fitting in. Doing something new is a risk. Perhaps a small risk, perhaps a large one, but always a risk. It’s also an action that makes clear who’s responsible for the outcome.

    Doing things the way they’ve always been done avoids personal responsibility. It’s like that age-old excuse, “I was only following orders.” Or speaking in the passive voice (http://www.adriansavage.com) so no one is exposed to accountability: “Appropriate action was taken, but the outcome was limited by negative factors. An inquiry was held and lessons were learned.” See? Not a single human being present to face criticism.

    Comment by Adrian Savage -

  21. Mark, they’re SO many phrases like “Thats the way we have always done it” in the old school, static business world that make me feel nauseous. Those phrases and terminology that make people think they sound knowledgable and home in the adult world are just one of the many indications of the problems that are deeply imbeded in the way business is executed today….and they continue to be taught and they continue to be obstructive to so many.

    I am an entrepreneur and I like to think I am an educated and resourceful person but when you put me in a room with my close friends who went to Stanford and Harvard for undergraduate and MBA I want to strangle them. They have no idea what they are missing out on, all the great driven people out there, all the fresh ideas, all of the sacrifices and hard work that is done on a level they can’t even recognize because they are so caught up in a single methodology of business…a formula that long since expired, a formula they try to fit everything into to make sense out of things…a formula that cannot make sense out of everything.

    As a person that enjoys the work and challenges one faces of being an entrepreneur the quest for support from Angels or VC’s makes me shudder…the thought of creating another business plan, talking the talk, coming up with projections and numbers that are meaningless all to make a concept fit inside a formula to make these people understand a simple concept….guess what- you could make some money here, be a part of something really and here’s why….something that could be summed up in a few minute discussion.

    These are the same people that talk about this box and trying to think out of the box….

    …..I didn’t know a box even existed.

    Drew

    Comment by Drew -

  22. There’s a nice parable about the “That’s the way we’ve always done it” saying.

    Week 1: Place 6 monkeys in a room. Over on the ceiling fan place a banana. Every time a monkey tries to reach for a banana, spray all the monkeys with ice-cold shower. It doesn’t matter who reaches for the banana, all monkeys get sprayed. After a week of research no monkey in the room will attempt to reach for a banana.

    Week 2: Take out one of the monkeys and introduce a new one to the room. The first thing that the newcomer will try to attempt is to reach for the banana on the ceiling fan. However, he will deal with great force and initmidation from other monkeys, since, they, of course, know, that it will be followed by ice-cold shower. After a while the newcomer stops to attempt to reach for banana, since any time he does it, he’s beaten up by 5 old-timers.

    Week 3: Take yet another original monkey out of the pack, and introduce a new one. Observe the same scenario. Also observe the newcomer from week 2 admonishing the new monkey not to reach for the banana.

    Week 4: Ditto. Now you’ve got 3 monkeys from week 1 and 3 new monkeys.

    Week 5: Ditto.

    Week 6: Ditto.

    Week 7: This is where it gets interesting. A brand new monkey is introduced, and out of the original monkeys, who were in Week 1, none remained. However, observe how aggressively the newcomer will be “advised” once he tries to reach for the banana. Notice that none of the monkeys currently in the room is aware of the ice-cold shower.

    So why don’t they reach for the banana? Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.

    Comment by Alex Moskalyuk -

  23. It’s the whole Hollywood ego thing. The my d&^k is bigger than yours. Hollywood doesn’t allow the reporting of box office and salaries for ‘us’, it’s for themselves.

    Money $$ is the scorecard of Hollywood.

    Comment by Chris -

  24. I’ll comment again and draw a comparison between the film industry and basketball.

    In short, I agree with you. Here’s why.

    Much of the fan appeal for basketball and for movies revolve around a simple concept: suspension of disbelief.

    Hardcore fans understand the minutiae of a sport and that’s fine. But the key important demographic for sports and film is the casual fan. That’s the contested dollar. And casual fans DON’T WANT too much information.

    So when one sees a behind the scenes on the NBA and you see athlete X doing the specific exercises that maximize his jumping ability and explosiveness, the average consumer equates that with, “oh, he just works really hard.” Working really hard is not sexy to the average fan, thus not seductive, thus obviating suspension of disbelief.

    Hollywood does something similar. Numbers everywhere. TOO MANY press junkets so blatantly designed to sell to the casual fan. And the worst thing ever to happen to film: the behind the scens documentaries on DVDs. The casual fan doesn’t want to see the green screen. He wants to see a story. You can’t sell the story, then right afterwards say, “oh well, that story is fake, let’s show you how.”

    Like I used to mess with this chick, right? And she’d be naked in my apartment, a lot. So it was cool for a while because we were having a lot of sex. But after a while, she was naked too much. I kept wishing she’d put on some clothes so that I could yearn for her to get naked again. It started feeling like one of them national geographic things where they peek on indigenous tribes in the jungle. I just wanted to strap a bra on her or something.

    All this info that people put forth about entertainment – it’s too much information, and it’s to the detriment of the product.

    Comment by Laz -

  25. A variation on this is: “Nobody ever got fired for ‘X’.”

    One of my technology directors was leading one of those yearly “this is what we are up to” meetings and started talking about our challenges with the cost, licensing, and interoperability of our “big software”. So during Q&A I asked if we were looking at using any free open source alternatives where it could make sense.

    With a straight face my director said “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

    You know, nobody ever got ahead by doing exactly what their competitors do either.

    Comment by Nathan -

  26. Mark,
    A lot of sport franchises use public-funded money (taxpayers) to support the stadiums/arenas they play in. Many of them are the “centerpiece” of a redevelopment district, and a trend is taxing those businesses that area around that area. Don’t you think a business/taxpayer would want to know for how many people he is paying through taxes is tapping into from the benefit of having a stadium/arena in his/her area?

    Comment by Michael -

  27. Tell the attendance, tell the subscriptions, tell the salaries. Open Source everything!

    Comment by James Vaughn -

  28. I have a single word that backs up the frustration with “Because thats the way we have always done it”…

    “QWERTY”

    Comment by greg -

  29. You must put up with alot Mark
    Val Barrutia

    Comment by val barrutia -

  30. I’m admitting my ignorance here, but in the case of blackouts, won’t people know anyway about the attendance? I know the Cowboys would make it known that a game wasn’t sold out to drum up last minute sales.

    Comment by Mike G -

  31. I think Michael hit one point, the number of fans in attendance can influence the number of businesses that grow around the arena. Don’t take that to mean the attendance numbers are the only barometer, the Arizona Cardinals are putting a new stadium in and there are a lot of businesses going in around it.

    Also, the attendance numbers are used in advertising, surely this doesn’t need to be public information in order to sell advertising, but it helps.

    Comment by Grant -

  32. Disagree with you Mark, you’re a billionaire and you’re complaining about a very small part of your fortune. You are just looking to stir the pot with the NBA. The NBA’s competition is other sports, By submitting your attendance figures you are contributing to help the NBA guage its success vs. other sports.

    Next topic

    Comment by Frank Mascolo III -

  33. The amount money to develop a movie is no one’s business, but it is a selling gimmick, something that makes you different from the crowd if you fall into the extremes (i.e. extremely low or extremely high). People perceive value, or they perceive ingenuity.

    Comment by runescape money -

  34. If consumers learn that “Revenge of the Bumblebees” made $100 million at the box office in its first week, then people would say, “Hey, that movie must be great! If everyone else is seeing it, then so should I.” If the Mavs (or any other sports team) play to sold-out arenas, then something exciting must be happening that others want to join.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  35. very good!

    Comment by 11nong -

  36. I really think this policy would do your fans a disservice. For example, last year in Los Angeles the Dodgers absolutely tanked in the second half of the MLB season. However, Dodger fans continued to attend games in huge numbers. As a fan I took pride in seeing the Dodgers maintain there legendary level of fan attendance. I’ve never met a sports fan who hasn’t shown at least a small level of interest in the attendance of an event at which they happen to be. Frankly, I dodn’t understand how this could not be apparent to anyone involved with sports.

    Comment by Daniel -

  37. “That’s the way we have always done it.” This is the usual language used by people who can’t confront anyone with a good viewpoint for doing something. In this case, attendence disclosures wouldn’t help your business if you’re not doing fine with current numbers. However, people have the right to know, but reporters also shouldn’t focus on this point.

    Comment by Builder -

  38. “That’s the way we have always done it.” This is the usual language used by people who can’t confront anyone with a good viewpoint for doing something. In this case, attendence disclosures wouldn’t help your business if you’re not doing fine with current numbers. However, people have the right to know, but reporters also shouldn’t focus on this point.

    Comment by Builder -

  39. As a sports fan, the number of atendees is like the public confidence index for the sports team. We really do watch the trends, and as the sports team does bad the public vote of confidence will decrease proportionately based on the decline in attendance. On the other hand, there are some home teams who fill the stadium even when their team stinks. In such cases, the addendance report is like a statement of unity that says: we’ll be here no matter what ;-)

    Comment by American lender -

  40. dsdvgsfbvbvfv

    Comment by aaa -

  41. are you sure you’re not in public accounting? as an auditor, i’ve heard that phrase too many times to count, and there’s never even a good reason that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

    Comment by tel -

  42. Mark,

    You don’t know the half of it. I am Vice President of the Jockeys’ Guild, the labor organization which represents professional race riders in the United States. I am also one of the few people in the industry that is not from the industry. As such, my first four years of experience in the horse racing industry has been frought with listening to so many of the industry insiders use the very phrase you despise.

    In my case, it has everything to due with an industry which very little infusion of outside human capital. For a $20 billion per year, this is very remarkable, and also provides tremendous opportunity.

    Comment by Albert Fiss -

  43. In your specific case, and as a Dallas Tax Payer, I would agree with another one of your posters who mentioned that basically that is important information that should be public b/c the public has fronted a lot of cash to build the building your team plays in. Owners are the only ones who directly profit or lose money from professional sports. On that note, I’m pretty happy to see how the NHL stuff turned out.

    My other point I wanted to bring up was that this really applies a lot to the church. I worked as a Media Ministry Director at a church for a year and just couldn’t take it. It’s was a pretty traditional church that had a nice touch of technology to it. Very nice 3 camera set up with 2 large screens and a local broadcast that I managed. Most any thing I wanted to do that was different from how they had been doing it or anything new I wanted to do always got stuck down by the pastors b/c “that’s just how we’ve always done it” like there’s no better way of doing it.

    This is the reason the church as a whole is so irrelevant today. It should adhere to the principles and doctrine, but not hold onto it’s traditions where the culture no longer sees it as applicable.

    Comment by Taylor -

  44. just report a random number in the box score and report the real number to the league…

    Comment by Marc Dencker -

  45. Mark,
    Unfortunately everything gets measured, and analyzed, especially in promotion and advertising. If you don’t report the figures (for which you still have a few massaging techniques), your venue sponsors will come up with their own way of analyzing the value of your in-venue product, and you’ll trade apples for oranges. One way or another, measurements will be taken. Might as well stick with apples.

    Sportsbizguy

    Comment by Sportsbizguy -

  46. I’m with you Mark, I can’t stand the “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it…” excuse, I hear that and I think Dead Man Walking.

    Comment by joyow -

  47. From a previous post: “Enron went on to not only get great reviews, but also become one of the highest grossing documentaries of all time.”

    Comment by adam -

  48. People always want to know how much other people got paid… it’s always been like that!

    Great post, Mark!

    But an even greater comment, Alex!!! Monkeys reaching for bananas? I love that story.

    Comment by Tino Buntic -

  49. Two thoughts:

    Why does the media play the “salary card?” Because the public is obsessed with wealth and fame. The media gives the public what they want. The public gets what they deserve.

    Why analyze game attendance?
    Because a big portion of sports is statistics, big meaningless statistics. “So and so hit .380 left-handed on days when the opposition was wearing white and green.” I don’t know. All of the stats don’t mean a lot to me. Some do.

    Oh and another thought:
    Why do you not want to publicize salaries of reporters? Because their rich corporate bosses would be embarassed for the public to find out just how pitifully real news people, the people who work at the weeklies or small dailies or small market TV stations, are paid.

    Comment by Dick -

  50. I also share the same view with Mark here. I have one person on our team that uses this phrase a hell lot of times, and that makes me really mad. I was wondering how to stop that person???

    Comment by Rixa -

  51. As you wanted … some reporter salaries, at least at unionized newspapers (as your players have a union, it’s a fair matchup):
    Sorry the newest from The Newspaper Guild I could get is 2003.
    And for Radio and TV (most recent is 2002)

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  52. Don’t NBA players salaries become relevant because of the salary cap? Newspapers don’t have a cap.

    As for attendance, it has become irrelevant once everyone switched to announcing tickets “sold” as opposed to actual butts in seats. Go to a few WNBA games and see how well the numbers they announce matchup to what you actually see.

    Comment by Dave Hogg -

  53. The Trade Show industry lives off the “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it…” mantra.

    One of the first questions I’ll ask a client is – Why do you attend that trade show? I would say 75% of the time the answer is – we’ve been going every year for (5, 10, 12) years. I’m always totally amazed about how poorly focused companies are around trade shows. You’re going to make sales – period! Once you fall into the trap of “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it” your creative is zapped, your people are lifeless and only looking for a good meal, party or show after each day of the show.

    I’m with you Mark, I can’t stand the “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it…” excuse, I hear that and I think Dead Man Walking.

    James Clark
    http://www.room214.com

    Comment by James Clark -

  54. Mark, you’re basing an argument, which has been zig-zagging, simply on the reporting of an actual number. Let’s say you hide that number. Unless you ban fans altogether, your competition, whatever it is, will be able to determine fairly well how many people watch games. They may not have it down to the exact digit. But once certain people find out you are not reporting attendance they are going to want to know why, and they are going to extra lengths to get it anyway. You can hide an actual number but you cannot hide thousands of people. Those people simply reflect how your team is viewed in the marketplace. That reflection is going to be there for everyone to see unless you ban all fans from your games.

    What about TV and radio ratings for Mavs games? Do you want to prevent those from being reported? What about fewer newspaper stories on the Mavs? What about more? Isn’t what’s going in the papers or magazines somewhat of a reflection of how the team is viewed by the sporting public? What if there was no more reporting about the Mavs? If you’re going to hide attendance, why not hide the rest of the news?

    Here’s what I don’t understand – let’s say your attendance is great. Let’s say the Mavs are winning every single year and packing the house. What are competitors going to do against that, by knowing how many are showing up? Unless the NBA takes a total nose dive, or someone with the Mavs really pisses off the public (Charlotte Hornets), they’re not going to be able to do a whole lot.

    No one needs to know what the hell your finances are. But if you are worried about how other businesses might steal away your fans, based on the reporting of attendance, you are certainly not focusing on how to keep your fans away from those other businesses.

    Give people a reason to want to come to you – no one else will be able to do a damn thing about it.

    Comment by The Clock Ticks -

  55. Oh, and newspapers do publish their circulation – you can get a report from the Audit Bureau of Circulation which handles such items. Advertisers do need that information.

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  56. Obviously, you don’t notice that fans are interested whenever they play the “guess the attendance” game on the scoreboards.

    And there are other ways to get the attendance. Where I live, the arena is county owned and the operating company has to submit a monthly report on the attendance for every sports event, concert, flea market and business meeting that uses the facility.

    Finally, as a fan-oriented owner you should know that there is interest. Bill Veeck did; he would emphasize the numbers of big crowds and was always striving for record attendances. He noted that on the day of one especially big record-breaking crowd, he was pleased that the number ended in “1″ and felt every fan could feel he or she was that one.

    And as a reporter, the reason we don’t tell our salaries is because we don’t want people to die from laughter that anyone should work for so little. (And our salaries don’t affect the price you pay for the product, especially if you mooch off the Web. Player salaries do, which is why I can’t sit behind home plate for $4 as I did in 1970.)

    Comment by Ray Barrington -

  57. Just some factual data for some people who mistakenly think there is a relationship between reporting attendance and some of the issues raised by the comments.

    1. For public entities that have provided financial support for arenas or whatever. They dont read the newspaper after every game to determine how things are going. They get financial reports. Detailed financial reports from teams to keep them abreast of their investment. If any taxpayers want to know about the status of that investment, they are more than able to contact their public officials to get a status update. Reporting attendance has no impact on that.

    2. For those who can only make their decisions by waiting to see what others do first. That is their problem. There is nothing I can do to help or cure them. Whether its films or the Mavs, if the deciding factor is what our attendance is,then Im not doing a very good job marketing.

    3. People may be curious about attendance. So what. Im curious about how many papers sell in any given day. I cant get that info, and I shouldnt be able to. Im curious about a lot of things that I cant get access to. Thats my problem, not theirs.

    Bottom line, its no one’s business but mine what our attendance is.

    If I cant come up with a better way to convince you to do business with me, then shame on me.

    m

    Comment by Mark Cuban -

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