Iverson Unlikely To Sign With Team In China
After weeks of negotiations, it appears that former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson won’t be playing in China, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. As we reported, talks between Foshan (formerly Shaanxi) and Iverson were heating up, and a move to China seemed imminent.
Recently talks have come to an impasse, with Foshan not willing to accommodate Iverson’s salary demands, which reportedly are over $200k per month.
The team has serious questions about Iverson’s age, knees and ability to produce. He has lost several steps, and will be expected to play 40 minutes a game, bearing the brunt of the offensive and defensive pressure.
Foshan is like the Cleveland Cavaliers of the CBA, one of the worst teams in China. Their roster is underwhelming and the pressure on Iverson to succeed will be immense.
Iverson’s NBA pedigree would draw interest, viewership and sponsors to a league that turned into a complete circus when Stephon Marbury signed with Shanxi last season.
Chinese fans love NBA players, no matter how maligned they are by the American media and fans………..
A possible scenario for Foshan, would be to sign Iverson and make a huge splash, he plays for 2-3 weeks, then goes down with sore knees misses two games and the owner will send him back to the US and not pay him the rest of his money.
Virtually all teams in China can afford to pay around 30k per month to its professional players. These aren’t the Lakers or Yankees, so anything above that doesn’t make dollars nor sense for the organization. If Foshan were to pay Allen Iverson 200k per month, they would lose huge money even if they were to sell out each and every game.
Arenas in China are much smaller than in the U.S.(seats around 4500) and the average ticket price on the high end is $10. If you figure a sellout makes the team around $40,000 per game, with only 17 home games that would give you a gate revenue oF somewhere around $680,000.
Take away the $500,000 or so you’d have to pay Iverson and that leaves a Chinese team like Foshan with $180k left to pay the rent, team and other expenses. Moving games when Iverson comes to town to bigger gyms however, would help generate more revenue.
On the flip side a team that takes a gamble on a player with Iverson’s name and international marketability, could recoup their investment through sales of Iverson merchandise, potentially attracting more sponsors and financial opportunities because he is on their team. It’s a huge risk with potentially huge reward.
Foshan is said to have made several offers and creative structuring of financial packages, but Iverson reportedly wasn’t willing to go beyond his basketball duties, making public appearances, coordinating camps and other basketball related events in China. Activities that could have pushed his financial compensation package closer to the 200k mark.
There has even been speculation that Infront (the Swiss sports marketing firm that bought the commercial rights to the CBA), would be willing to subsidize a portion of Iverson’s salary, regardless of which team Iverson signed with.
Doing so would help the other 17 teams in the league, guaranteeing each team at least one sellout when Iverson comes to town.
This has yet to come to fruition.
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