More than millions

December 1, 2011 by · Comments Off 


By Brooks Igo

Even as the National Basketball Association (NBA) lockout seems to be coming to an end, the hope to salvage a full 82 game season has been extinguished. Local businesses that greatly benefit from the hometown Mavericks and fans who are hoping for another title run have already felt the repercussions and are hoping the recent tentative agreement between the players and owners will be approved and become official.

Prior to the recent tentative agreement, which has NBA games kicking off on Christmas Day, the forecast for an NBA season was gloomy. So gloomy, in fact, that season ticket holders were looking for a Plan B.

“My husband was looking at SMU’s schedule to get our basketball fix elsewhere,” says Janine Pence, who has been a Mavericks season ticket holder with her husband for 12 years.

Pence says she and her husband would be able to look past the recent labor dispute and are committed to renewing their season tickets if the recent agreement is approved. The negotiations between the players and the owners haven’t been well-perceived by the public.

“I think I agree with most people that it’s millionaires arguing with billionaires,” says restaurant owner Josh Babb.

Babb owns Kenichi, which has been voted “Best Sushi in Dallas” three years in a row by Citysearch and has been in Victory Park for the past five years. He says revenues have been cut in half on nights when the Mavericks play home games and the restaurant has had to cutback on labor and other costs.

“It’s affecting working class people and affecting my tipped employees,” Babb said. “It trickles down to us.”

Mark McGrath, who is a bartender at Victory Tavern in Victory Plaza and wants you to know he is not the lead singer of Sugar Ray, looks forward to game nights for the extra tips he receives. He says on a typical home game for the Mavericks he makes somewhere between $150 and $200 in tips compared to about $100 on an average night. It’s a significant loss on tips for the year when you multiply that difference by 41 home games.

Aside from tips, McGrath, who has been a bartender and server for 12 years, says the atmosphere and buzz has been affected.

“It’s not as much fun,” he said.

McGrath says if you combine the Mavericks lockout with a Dallas Stars road trip, you could potentially have a couple of weeks without any event at the American Airlines Center. To adjust, Victory Tavern, which is located by the south entrance to the arena, has been working with a smaller staff. He says they usually hire four or five more people during a Mavericks season.

It’s been 13 years since the last NBA lockout and this one comes after the most successful season for TV ratings and an all-time high for game attendance. The lockout started in June, after negotiations to draft a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) started 18 months prior to that, with $4.2 billion in revenues and $2.2 billion in player compensation on the line. The NBA has officially cancelled games through Dec. 15 so far.

The main issues have been over revenue sharing, salary cap, and basketball-related income (BRI). Owners claim they are losing money, so they have pushed for a hard salary cap, which fixes the amount of money a team can spend and imposes a limit on the size and length of NBA contracts. The greatest concern, however, is over BRI. The CBA agreement that expired in June had the players receiving 57 percent of BRI (ticket sales, TV contracts, concessions, etc.), but the owners first offer for the new CBA had the owners receiving 61 percent. The players have since conceded to 52.5 percent of BRI.

The players rejected the most recent offer by the owners on Nov. 14, further putting the 2011-12 season in jeopardy. The offer called for a 50/50 split of BRI and a 72-game season starting on Dec. 15, but the NBAPA declined and are planning to disband the union and file an antitrust lawsuit against the owners. This would shift the dispute from a labor dispute to an anti-trust issue.

Authorities with both the Dallas Mavericks and American Airlines Center declined to comment on the lockout.

Some restaurants around the American Airlines Center haven’t been as affected by the lockout as others. Charlie Green, who owns Neo Pizza in Victory Park and Olivellas on Hillcrest and McFarlin, says his Neo restaurant has a pretty good regular clientele and the lack of Mavericks home games doesn’t interfere with the lunchtime business.

“Though it’s always good to have people down here, it’s not that much of a punch in the gut,” he said.

Green, who says they could’ve opened at 6 a.m. the day of the Mavericks championship parade, is more concerned about the long-term effect of the lockout and people getting out of their routine.

Steve Parry, who has been a ticket broker for 23 years, echoes Green’s concerns and says it tends to take awhile to get the fans back after a lockout. He says it will be hard for the players to justify a lost season to the fans.

“Lots of people will have a bad taste in their mouth with the NBA,” he said.

Parry, who owns Golden Tickets, says this NBA lockout is having a similar effect as the National Football League (NFL) lockout did earlier this year. It has convinced season ticket holders not to reinvest and, as a result, there are virtually piles of tickets available for games. He says all orders for season tickets have been cancelled for the NBA.

“Professional sports are what we sell and the marketplace is destroyed,” he said.

If the lockout persists and the season is cancelled, the opportunity for the Mavericks to defend their championship will not only be prolonged, but also an opportunity for new business. Kenichi owner Babb is hoping the NBA labor issue is resolved by mid-January when he plans on opening a new taco bar called Shooters in Victory Plaza. The lockout has his investors and him feeling uneasy about the potential of the restaurant without the Mavericks.

Election Blog: Dallas Democratic Party Gathers at American Airlines Center

November 2, 2010 by · Comments Off 

9:09 p.m. – Disappointed Democrats as Rick Perry Announced Winner of Gubernatorial Race
Report from Kyle Spencer


8:25 p.m. – Democrat Watch Party at AAC
Report from Aida Ahmed

Although originally planned for the plaza at Victory Park, the Dallas Democratic watch party has been moved inside to the Jack Daniel’s Club inside American Airlines Center. Crowds are slowly starting to file in despite the change of plans due to weather.

People are keeping a close eye on the flat screen TVs tuned to CNN and local Dallas channels. All the major Dallas media outlets have set up shop for the night and are also waiting to see how the local races turn out.

Few candidates are in the house tonight though more reportedly are en route to the watch party. Democratic politicians in attendance include Texas House Representative Helen Giddings, District 109. Dallas County Treasurer Joe Wells is also in attendance as he seeks re-election this year.

Stay tuned for updates on how Democrats are faring in Dallas as well as state-wide.


7:35 p.m. – Steve Pickett of CBS11 Speaks with Texas Democratic Regional Communications Director

A CBS11 Reporter speaks with Mike Ogilnick, Texas Democratic Regional Communications Director at midterm watch party inside AAC. (PHOTO BY KYLE SPENCER / SMU DAILY MUSTANG)

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 20

October 20, 2010 by · Comments Off 

The Daily Update: Wednesday, Oct. 20 from on Vimeo.

Find out about where you will be able to view all scrolls from the Dead Sea online, the score that brings the Texas Rangers one game closer to the World Series, and a culinary contest at the American Airlines Center

Dallas’ All-Star Weekend Wraps Up Sunday Night at Cowboys Stadium

February 14, 2010 by · Comments Off 

By Robby Gillespie

DALLAS — The NBA spotlight has been on Dallas this weekend as the city hosted a long weekend full of NBA festivities, and Sunday’s All-Star game could draw one of the largest crowds to ever watch a basketball game.

The game will feature two players from the host city, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, but they won’t be playing on their home floor. The game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington at 7 p.m. on TNT. More than 90,000 fans are expected.

Kidd, who will make his tenth All-Star appearance, replaced Kobe Bryant on the West All-Stars roster after Bryant pulled out due to an ankle injury.

Although injured, Kobe Bryant was still able to make an appearance during the NBA All-Star practices at the Dallas Convention Center Saturday morning. PHOTO BY ALAN H. ROSE/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG

Although injured, Kobe Bryant was still able to make an appearance during the NBA All-Star practices at the Dallas Convention Center Saturday morning. PHOTO BY ALAN H. ROSE/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG

Nowitzki got the word Saturday from West Head Coach George Karl (Denver Nuggets) that he’ll be guarding the Cavaliers’ star Lebron James.

James headlines the East All-Star starting line up, along with Miami’s Dwayne Wade, Boston’s Kevin Garnett, Orlando’s Dwight Howard, and Atlanta’s Joe Johnson.

For the West, this will be Nowitzki’s ninth All-Star game. He will take Bryant’s starting spot. Nowitzki will begin the game with former teammate, Phoenix’s Steve Nash, and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, and Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire.

Nash flew to Dallas after the Canadian carried the Olympic torch through his home country Thursday prior to the start of Vancouver’s Olympic opening ceremonies.

During the East’s practice time, Dwight Howard added him name to the Guinness Book of World Records for connecting for the longest basket while sitting down on a court.

Dwight Howard watches the ball swoosh through the net as he sets the Guinness Book of World Records. PHOTO BY ALAN H. ROSE/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG

Dwight Howard watches the ball swoosh through the net as he sets the Guinness Book of World Records. PHOTO BY ALAN H. ROSE/ SMU DAILY MUSTANG

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who played in Friday’s celebrity game at the Dallas Convention Center, teamed up with Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones to co-host Dallas’ All-Star weekend.

Cuban planned the All-Star Rookie vs. Sophomore game at the American Airlines Center, along with Saturday’s dunk competition. Meanwhile, Jones took the reigns on getting Cowboys Stadium set up for the main event Sunday night.

Dallas-native and Toronto Raptors’s forward Chris Bosh will be making his fourth All-Star appearance, coming off the bench for the East.

The West All-Stars have won the game two of the last five years, including a 146-119 victory last season. The East took home the title in 2008, with a 134-128 win.

New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson won the Slam Dunk contest Saturday at the American Airlines Center, for his third title in the competition.

Friday night, the Rookie All-Star team upset the Sophomore All-Stars 140-128.

Click here for more pictures from the NBA All-Star Game festivities at the Dallas Convention Center and Moody Coliseum.

Arts Beat: Texans Love Britney

April 2, 2009 by · Comments Off 

Britney is back. . . in full force!

Tuesday night, the American Airlines Center was sold out for the Britney Spears concert. Everyone came with high expectations and left with no disappointments and maybe a Britney T-shirt or two.

The circus-themed concert had everything from cages and clowns to little people riding tricycles. There were even acrobats hanging from long strips of fabric, flipping and twisting down to the floor, reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil.

Britney was on top of her game, a true performer. Not only did she dance and sing to her new album, she would participate in magic acts during the show; disappearing at one end of the stage and popping up at the opposite end. How did she do that?

The audience consisted mostly of teenage girls decked from head to toe in sparkly pink outfits and a few brave chaperoning parents, sipping on their cocktails, secretly tapping their feet to the catchy rhythms.

Britney also threw in some oldies like Hit Me Baby, One More Time and Every Time to appease the older crowd like me, who grew up listening to her songs since the sixth grade.

Overall, the two-hour concert was a hit for everyone. I’m still humming some of her songs in my head right now.

The tour is now heading north, stopping in Minnesota on Friday and then making its way to Canada. You can find ticket information at

–Posted by Kaci Koviak

Night Life Blog: The American Airlines Center Takes Flight

November 11, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by: Shelley Smith

The American Airlines Center is taking flight this week, hosting big names like Sarah Brightman , The Eagles, and Coldplay

Wednesday, Nov. 12 – Sarah Brightman

Saturday, Nov. 15 – The Eagles

Wednesday, Nov. 19 -Coldplay (I know it’s next week, but it’s here so you can get your tickets EARLY!)

Everything you need to know is online!

Night Life Blog: Get Roped In to the American Airlines Center

November 4, 2008 by · Comments Off 

Posted by Shelley Smith

The Texas Stampede is riding and roping their way back to the American Airlines Center Nov. 7-9…

The Texas Stampede is hosting the Wrangler ProRodeo Championship Finale beneftting Children’s Medical Center.

Also filling the arena is a favorite Texas group, Randy Rogers Band

The hootin’ and hollerin’ begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Check AAC’s Web site for more information.