In 1976, the NBA merged with the ABA which brought the Pacers, Nuggets, Nets, and Spurs into the fold. Originally, the Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels were thought to be entering the NBA as well as they were two of the top ABA teams at the time. Also, the Kentucky-Indiana rivalry was one of the top rivalries in all of professional basketball at the time. Go figure. However, the owners of the Chicago Bulls had their eyes on some of the Kentucky players and fought hard to keep the Colonels out of the NBA. With the only other ABA team, Virginia Squires, going bankrupt only five potential teams remained. Originally thinking that they were going to join the NBA, the owners of the Spirits worked up a deal to compensate the owners of the Squires. However, when they were folded they worked the deal for themselves. The deal?
The owners, Ozzie and Daniel Silna, would receive one-seventh of the national television revenue of each of the four surviving ABA teams in perpetuity. That’s right, the NBA struck a deal without an end. It is estimated that over the 37 years that the deal has been in place, the Silnas have received roughly $300 million. It should also be noted that the Silnas were already wealthy due to success in the manufacturing of polyester. While it’s not sure how much of this the Pacers have had to pay, it’s estimated that the Pacers have been paying $4.5-5 million in recent years. That’s a lot of money we could have been using!! It gets worse. Three years ago the Silnas sought to take more of the revenue due to international and online broadcasts. Thankfully, last week the NBA and Silnas were finally able to broker a deal that could possibly put an end to the payouts. So cross your fingers Pacer fans, we could be having some extra spending cash here soon.
Alright, I’m off to watch some hockey. Thanks as always for reading and GO PACERS (let’s hope they look better than Wednesday night…yikes). Have a great weekend!