Is there anyone here (Evan?) with a decent grip on the Magic's financial situation? I'm not talking about salary, but about how much revenue the team is generating as a whole.
The Magic are not afraid to spend money. Maintaining one of the fattest payrolls in the league and a brand new state-of-the-art arena suggest there is plenty to go around. But then, when I remember how many teams are hemmorhaging money, and how revenue has declined steadily across the league since 2008, it gives me pause.
Are the Magic simply not effected? Did the 2009 Finals, and opening the Amway Center soon thereafter, do enough to keep fans spending?
I've only been to one game at the new arena, a November match-up against Cleveland, and was stuck up in the peasant-level. And even though I was too busy enjoying the game to notice, I'm pretty sure all of the luxury suites were full because the Amway Center was brand new.
But I recall reading or hearing something, even just a few months later, that said the money was drying up. Suites were empty on game night. Concession and merchandise sales were down. And so on.
And it makes me wonder: Are the Magic in the black?
The impending lockout should be pretty interesting. It'll be guys like Gilbert Arenas who force the players union to fold. He can't keep buying third world children to throw into his shark tank if there's no income.
I hesitantly admit that, after the Gilbert Arenas trade, I sloppily prophesied that Orlando would end up losing Dwight Howard and the Magic franchise over it. Sounds pretty nuts, I know.
The Magic's financial viability is the main factor. Without Dwight Howard (for the sake of avoiding a comments section riddled with trade/free agency talk, I'm going to suggest that in this hypothetical, we lose Dwight Howard because he pulls a Dave Chappelle, folds under scrutiny and runs off to Africa to run free with the antelope) and any immediate big name acquisitions, the Magic are in serious trouble, are they not?
We talk about using the Amnesty Clause everyone is praying and sacrificing goats for on Gilbert. But even if we do this, he still gets paid. Big time. And we still need to go out and get new players. And they are going to cost money.
There's just so much money to consider!
And if Dwight goes to run with the antelope, and the Magic still have to spend $20+ million a year to pay off Gilbert Arenas, well...
We don't have Penny Hardaway this time. There will be little for fans to get excited about, other than potential lottery picks, possibly for years.
And as the sheen continues to wear off of the Amway Center, I seriously doubt Orlando's best and brightest are going to fork over big bucks to be seen at Magic games. Why bother?
So where is the money going to come from?
Are there not sizeable debt obligations tied to the Amway Center? If the Magic take a big financial dive in the coming seasons, could there not be serious consequences?
I don't mean this as a Dooms Day post. Really, I just wanted to stir up some conversation about the Magic's financial situation because, frankly, the numbers are driving the league right now. A lot of teams are sucking serious air, and even though the Magic don't seem to be among them, it's unclear where they stand.
And I'm growing very curious.