Explaining Southern California's economy

NBA game cancellations could show strength of LA's diversified entertainment economy

Staples Center

Eric Richardson/Blogdowntown

Vehicles pass by a darkened Staples Center on October 10, 2011.

As my new KPCC colleague Eric Richardson reported this morning, NBA commissioner David Stern has decided to cancel the first two weeks of the season, in the face of an ongoing labor impasse. This is going to cost money, in terms of lost ticket sales and the spending that people engage in when they attend games. If more games are cancelled, the costs are going to be significant.

Here's the math, for the sacrificed Lakers and Clippers games at the Staples Center, assuming the cancellation extends throughout the rest of 2011:

  • $30 million in ticket sales
  • $40 million for everything else
  • Grand total: $70 million

As Richardson points out, the $30 million is less relevant than the $40, because the latter is money that won't go to Downtown businesses (the $30 million represents "sunk" costs — money already expended that can't be recovered). The $40 million will get spent elsewhere in the city.

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Kobe Bryant really wants an Italian holiday

It looks as if Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may endure the NBA lockout by heading for Italy. As has been widely reported, Kobe initially demanded Vitrus Bologna, an Italian team, pay him $15 million for a full season, after the team had offered $6.7 million. 

Now it's looking like "more than $3 million" is the number, for just 10 games. To keep the math simple, that obviously works out to $300,000 per game. On his current contract with the Lakers, Kobe gets $25,244,000 per season, which comes to $307,853 per game (I'm basing this on an 82-game regular season and not counting in playoff games or the championship).

That's money he won't collect if the lockout isn't resolved. So understandably he's investigating other opportunities, and the Vitrus Bologna deal will only cost him a paltry eight grand per game. Plus, he gets to return to Italy, where he says he learned to play ball the right way, according to an interview he gave to an Italian newspaper:

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