Wednesday, October 9, 2013

EuroDutchBall Round 2

I am back in Holland after an awesome summer at home in Seattle. Now that I reflect on those three months at home, I believe I quite easily embodied the definition of "work hard, play hard." Now for the next 9 months it's back to the basketball grind!
This first post has a bit of everything in it so enyoyyyyyyy it whether you're at work, eating lunch, or dropping the Cosby kids off at the pool!
Business of Euroball

So far in my time here in Holland and in the professional athlete circle I have heard many stories (both unfortunate and oftentimes satirized) of teams going bankrupt or having “money problems” and thus players not getting paid! Greece is one of these countries where bankruptcy happens quite often as you can imagine. The one joke that goes around is that every American who goes to play in Greece winds up learning only one Greek word..."avrio" or "tomorrow" as this is management's response to every player who asks when their next paycheck will arrive! Always tomorrow!
I digress onto the basketball biz in Holland...The one word answer I give everyone who asks why basketball isn't huge in Holland is...Soccer; which IS huge here. While there is still plenty of money to be made playing basketball in Holland, it doesn't compare to some of the other countries in Europe and around the world. In Nederland, basketball competes with soccer for both people's discretionary spending and companies sponsorship euros. The combination of the euro debt crisis and the fact that soccer is the dominant sport, not basketball has oftentimes forced the lifeblood of basketball in Holland, the sponsors, to pull their support and money from several teams. Den Bosch (top 3 regarding budget) lost their head sponsor last year after a decade plus long relationship. It was also just recently announced that Groningen will also lose their head sponsor (~$1million/year) at the end of this year. With annual budgets for basketball teams in Holland averaging ~$700k, losses or failure to acquire strong sponsorships can mean the end to a team's success.
This business model for basketball in Holland is highly dependent on sponsorship dollars. With a lack of big TV contracts, a large population base, high ticket sales, and merchandising, many Dutch teams focus their efforts on appealing to the civic pride within their perspective town which is especially strong in Den Helder, Groningen, Leiden, and Den Bosch.
While basketball in Holland may not feel as 'big time' as in some other countries, there is more of a family, community feel to playing for a team like Den Helder than the teams in the 'big time' markets. In Holland, it is not blatantly obvious if everyone you pass in the city knows you because you are on the team; instead you are treated as someone who belongs to the town's community and thus are treated for who you are as a person rather than your perceived "fame" which I quite like!

“Import Players” What do they mean and what has changed in the last several decades.

To be quick, import players (“foreign players”) are players that enter the country via work visa to play for a team in that domestic country. Domestic players (like myself playing in Holland as I have a Dutch passport) are players that have citizenship within the country they are playing in.

The current situation in the Dutch league and many other leagues throughout Europe is that each league may place quotas or restrictions on how many “import players” or “foreign players” each team can have or in some cases have on the court at once. Imagine a coach who has to not only worry about team dynamics, chemistry, etc. but also how many import players he or she currently has on the court! 
I feel for you Coach K.... NAT!!!! Go Tar Heels!
Overseas, most teams will typically import players via the U.S. as we have one of the better talent pools. (AMURRIKA!!). This comparative advantage regarding talent varies from sport to sport.

Below is a link taken from the website of the agency I signed with regarding the basketball job market overseas and takes this topic into more depth...

 Post by Court Side.

Things for U.S. to Adopt from Europe

Metric System

The U.S. are in the minority regarding our stubborn persistence to stick with the imperial system. We received this system from the lads across the pond, whom began the conversion to the metric system in 1965. While the Brits still use the imperial system to denote measurements of speed, size, and how many stone Jared from Subway lost they have at least made the metric system the norm in government, industry, commerce, and education. The U.S. on the other hand have not...

Despite the high switching costs, and the certain lengthy transition of moving to the metric system, the U.S. would benefit and recoup these costs from this transition rather quickly as companies (for example) would not have to produce two different products (one for the IS and one for MS) and it would also bring more men to take up cooking as we don't care to remember that there are roughly 4 cups in a liter or 32 ounces in a quart. The only imperial system measurement we care about is...
Ze Pint!

While I believe Congress should have passed a law for the metrification of the US four score and seven years ago, damn near nobody sees this transition happening anytime soon as the government clearly has plenty of other problems to solve at the moment.

Driving on the freeway.

It infuriates me that when I am driving in the US on a 3 or 4 lane highway and all 4 lanes are driving the same speed blocking all of the traffic. If only I had the powers of God...
or...... Jim Carrey

In Europe, if you are in the far left lane and are going the speed limit, you will literally get run over. The following clip is a prime synopsis of such events by Michael McIntyre on Top Gear, one of my favorite TV shows...

Despite the sheer luxury and very well equipped nature that our 'company car,' the SEAT Mii, offers we still spend most of our time in said loser lane! This is mostly because of these speed cameras out here in Holland. Brutal!

 What’s New in Den Helder: quick list... 
More professional environment (new gym!)

New teammates: all money guys

Food: 2 meals/day provided by team

Living Situation: I have moved out of the Harry Potter closet into a bigger room. Euro Cribs part II coming soon!

Thanks for reading and until next time... Howdoeeee!!!