Radical idea

This is my Fair Play column for SunStar Cebu’s April 24 edition

It was over before it could even get off the ground. The European Super League, deader than yesterday’s fish.

My favorite explaination for its demise, and my apologies since I forgot the name of the writer who offered the analogy, the American owners of the major English club thought they could take the American greed to European sports and get away with it.

They failed to take into account the fans, the players and the former players. And of course, basketball and American football may play a major part in Amercian society, but they failed to take into account that football in Europe is more than just a “major part.”

The Super League would have pretty much put up an American type of sports league in Europe, and that is having the big clubs play regular games against each other and earn the big moolah. That was what the Super League would have been about, having the 15 founding members keep their places while the rest fight for the five remaining spots.

And that’s understandable since the American owners grew up in leagues where there is no promotion nor relegation.

So, chalk one for common sense, eh?

I don’t know what happens next but if the American owners tried to bring their brand of league to Europe, I hope, the Super League fiasco might prod some of the American owners to think of having a European influence to their own leagues.

Take the NBA for example. There are 30 teams, and we all know that some of the top teams can have an off night and still come out victors against the bottom teams. Some of the bottom teams, too, well, they take a vacation late in the season if winning a few more games means they lose a chance at a lottery pick.

But imagine if the 30-team NBA were to be divided into two 15-team divisions with relegation and promotion.

There would be no vacations for the bottom teams in the first division, that I can assure you.

Sounds impossible?

Not really. Before the pandemic, one of the innovations Adam Silver was thinking of was to adopt a European setup. Though not the relegation-promotion type, he wanted a tournament within a tournament, the way the Euro leagues have the Champions league in the course of their domestic leagues.

I mean, if the NBA gets to do that, that’s just a step away from entertaining having a relegation-promotion system. That would be a radical move.

And since we love to copy everything NBA, that may prod Philippine basketball stakeholders to think that instead of having 12 teams in the PBA, 30 in the MPBL and God knows how many in the D-League and the rest of the outlier pro leagues, perhaps we can have a three-tiered pro league with 15 teams each.

Now that’s radical and totally not greedy.

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