|MON 9/28 (10:00PM) -- In order for some of you to adjust to the changes in our payment structure for this upcoming season, 2009-10 Fall-Winter, which is described on the Signup page, this write-up is a suggestion on how to manage/finance your team. |
If you want to just jump down to my suggestion and skip the next 8-or-so paragraphs, click here (or just scroll down). Otherwise, here's some stuff that will give you a little context.
First off, let us understand how we got here. Under the old pay-by-roster-slot method last season, a "painful" percentage of team captains did not do a good job of managing their teams last season and ensuring that every player paid. Some of the root causes -- despite my pleas on the Signup page warning them not to pickup "questionable" players -- were that their teams picked up players who were really not committed, and/or who really could not afford to play in the league. In short, a "painful" percentage of teams left me holding the bag on collections. Therefore, I have introduced the FRANCHISE FEE PLUS WEEKLY REFEREE FEE system, which mimics that of PacRimSports in LA, the largest adult basketball league on the West Coast.
There is absolutely no way I can continue with the pay-by-roster-slot method.
Secondly, I felt under-appreciated. There were just way too many unsportsmanlike issues for me to deal with, all basically wasting my time. I felt like a babysitter and a kindergarten cop giving free training sessions on how to behave with proper sportsmanship in any given basketball game. There were even instances of captains who wanted to pay roster slots thru scorekeeping, yet it turned out that they put scorekeeping at a very low priority in their lives, leading to a very large number of games still yet to be scorekept. I don't have any reason to believe that they are not honest in their attempt to finish out their debt to me, but again, I am chasing them and I'm tired of chasing people for what they owe me. Talk about not being appreciated for giving you a way to play without hardly paying me. Well, it's obvious I can't be doing that anymore. Sorry guys, but fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.
You must know, up until this point everyone has been playing in Dream League at a phenomenally low cost. Let's look at some of the playoff brackets from this season. I'm not going to link to every single one, but you can see these brackets for yourself on the Roadmap page:
I think you see the trend now. The only other thing comparable to our comp is an open gym with quality open run. So in Dream League you got an hour of quality game ranging between $6.29 to $7.92. I don't see an equivalent price without a substantial pre-existing benefit (e.g., being a student) at USF's Koret gym or Cal's RSF.
- N.L.: 7-game regular season, all 6 teams got double-elim playoff status. Champion played 10 games. 2nd Place team played 12 games. Old pay-by-roster-slot fees: $704. $704 divided by 12 games is $58.67 per game, divided by 8 players is just $7.33 per game played. I let teams like the Wizards play at a huge discount, and yet they forfeited their last game and never paid me the $20 per game they had agreed to for the playoffs, despite what ended up as wasted gym time and ref fees for that forfeit. Twenty bucks, that's even cheaper than the per-game fee of the franchise fee format!
- AL-O: 8-game regular season. Marin will play its 13th game on 10/3 and they paid $704 before late fees. The Red Devils will play their 15th game on 10/3 and they paid the Peninsula rate of $95 x 8 roster slots = $760. Divide that by 15 games and 8 players each and you get $6.33 per game played per player. For Marin, it's $6.77.
- A.L.: 7-game regular season, all double-elim status. The Ocho will play up to 12 games by 10/3. If they play 12 games, it will have cost 8 players $7.92 per game played. The Prodigies' rate would be $6.29 if they play their 14th game on 10/3.
Further, right now in SF or Oakland, I have managed to keep gym rates steady at $35 per game, roughly an hour per game. In San Jose it's $50 per game. On the Peninsula it's $60 per game. With the franchise fee format, for SF/OAK I am asking for $500 and you will take care of the refs. That still leaves me paying the scorekeepers ($8 x 2 = $16) and gym reservation. So let's say your team goes winless and you get bounced after 1 game in the playoffs; that's 8 games total. In this worst-case scenario, and remembering that each game involves two teams, for one team I only get $500 divided by 8, or $62.50 per game played. Now subtract the per-game gym ($35/2) and scorekeeping ($16/2) expenses for one team and you get $17.50 plus $8 or $25.50 for one team's share of gym and scorekeepers -- remember, you brought $25 already to pay for the refs. That leaves me with $62.50 minus $25.50 or $27; I get paid less than the gym! Remember, this is the worst-case, i.e., the MOST I CAN POSSIBLY GET FROM A TEAM, if a team only plays 8 games. The $500 franchise fee is constant. If a team ends up going deep into the playoffs, then they'll play another 3 or 4 or 5 games, at which point my per-game income shrinks dramatically. By that same logic, blending all the good teams and bad teams together, my per-game intake would be much less than $27.
While I'm on the topic, let's talk about those damn stats. So you want someone to punch in those stats on the website, do you? Well, it sure can't be done for free. You have to pay someone to (1) obtain the scoresheet, (2) add up the scoresheet, (3) login to the website, (4) setup the website with players and teams, (5) punch in the stats, and (6) hope that there were no mistakes. I can probably input a scoresheet in 10 minutes with 99% accuracy, but setting up a team just takes a long time, so you're probably looking at a season-long average of 15 minutes per scoresheet. One of my better scorekeepers can probably input it in 20-30 minutes each with maybe 95% accuracy, let's say 30 minutes just to be safe. If we pay the guy 8 bucks per hour, then that's like $4 for him per game to punch in the stats. There's 140 teams that will play 10 games each, all pretty much against each other, so that's 700 games played. So, where do think I'm gonna find $4 x 700 = $2,800 to punch in stats? Do you see why it's nearly impossible, financially speaking, to punch in stats?
Not that we wouldn't punch in stats. We would. If only the website were improved so that it (a) wasn't subject to security breach due to limited user functionality and old technology, and (b) it would be faster to add players and teams and, therefore, stats. When that day comes where the website is up to standards, we will punch in stats, but at that point, it will not be me who will pay the extra $2,800 needed to do so. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: who pays for the new website? I actually haven't figured that one out yet, and that's probably why we're making a snail's pace progress with it.
Suggestions on how to manage/finance your team
Here's what I would suggest in "raising" the $500 franchise fee, plus $25 per game referee fees:
The example above still ended up with less than $10 per game played per player, assuming all 8 players show up to every game. Folks, this is very do-able. For those of you in RWC/SJ who need to raise $555 in franchise fees, I'm sure you can tweak the numbers and make something come out right for your guys.
- Your first 6 players play the most, so they should pay the most. Your first 6 players should pay $75 outright down immediately, which is slightly less than $10 per game for the 8 guaranteed games. Why $75? Because $75 x 6 = $450 right there, already pretty close to $500 with the 7th and 8th players yet to be accounted for. For SJ/RWC, I would recommend the first 6 players pay $80 each.
- Meanwhile the 7th and 8th players should pay $40 per game outright immediately, or $5 per game for the first 8 guaranteed games. I mean, $40 should NOT be hard to do. Add these two $40 contributions to the $450 from the first 6 players and you've got $530 raised; you're $30 over what you need to put down in franchise fees.
- Then each of the 8 players should take turns paying one of the 8 guaranteed game $25 referee fees (in cash at the game). Maybe the 7th or 8th player starts things off in the first two weeks since they only paid $40 down each. Plus $25 cash at each game means they still paid only $65 outlay compared to the first 6 players' $75 each. So for the 6 most important players on your team, that's a total outlay of $75 + $25 = $100 each for the first 8 games. For the 7th and 8th players, that's $65 total. And remember, you still got $30 left over. Also, the most anyone put down at one point was $75; if one of your six best players could not put down $75, then either you need give them "superstar" status (i.e., comp all or most of their spot) or you should just forget him and pickup someone else willing to pay, show up all the time, and like I've been saying the whole time, acting like a player who takes responsibility/ownership of his team.
- If you only play in 8 games -- i.e., your team finished 3-4 or worse in the 7-game regular season, only got single-elimination for the playoffs, and got bounced in the first round -- maybe you give some of the team's extra cash raised back to the 6 most important players, like $5 so that they ended up paying $95 each (remember, you had $30 left over; obviously this is slightly different if you're in SJ/RWC since you had to raise $555 in franchise fees, not $500).
- Now, if you go further in the playoffs, such as the 9th game, you've got $30 left over to pay the $25 cash at the game. If you get to the 10th game or later, then just split the $25 evenly amongst the players, per game (one guy pays $4 and the other seven players pay $3). Or you can just cobble up $25 from those who show up at those late playoff games, although I'd probably encourage you to set a precedent with your players saying that if they MISS any games, they should pay a penalty -- after all, they are letting the team down.
Also, some teams go pretty deep with 7 impact players. You can tweak the above so that it's the first 7 that pay the most, not the first 6.
Finally, you've still got to put down $500 immediately. That means you've got to move quickly to get that $75 per player for the first 6 players and $40 for each of the 7th and 8th. Actually that's $530, so you don't even need to collect the whole $500 before committing your franchise fee to the league. Again, you need to be upfront with your players, but you need to do it quickly or else the train will leave the station without you.
The whole point of the exercise is that you're gonna have a talk with each of your teammates to figure out what's fair. And if you read the 8 paragraphs prior to this section of the write-up, you know that I'm being fair to you from my side. The things I have to deal with, the fires I have to put out, and the general appreciation I think I deserve for my hard work, with the set franchise fees and game cash for referees, I finally think that I'm being treated fairly as well.
And there you go, free advice (again) from me, this time on how to manage your team. Seriously, you are talking to a guy who has managed his own Asian League team for the past 18 years. Here are some direct examples of my teams from last season:
Hopefully my personal examples will show you how you should deal with your team, as well as demonstrate that I know what I'm talking about.
- N.L. DLCJ: I probably won't put this team in again, but if I'm forced to, such as if we don't have enough teams in the N.L., I would probably force my guys to always bring $25 in their pocket, show it to me before the game, otherwise go home. That would take care of the referee fees each game. If everybody took a turn already, then everyone brings $5 per game from then on. Now, since I also use this team as an opportunity to train my guys for tournaments, assuming I continue to do that, I would probably just eat the franchise fees, which means I'm eating the cost of the gym and scorekeepers for this team, as its "sponsor". Either that or I would make everyone agree to bring $5 per game, in addition to one guy taking turns to bring $25. I would still end up losing money, but it wouldn't be as bad.
- A.L. Prodigies: This team is mostly "sponsored" by our captain, and I think I've found a niche being the 7th or 8th player off the bench on this team. Plus, I'm a trustworthy spot on the team and am willing to pay an equal share because all I want is to be part of a winning team, so I think I probably have a permanent spot on my captain's team. Because the captain sponsors the remaining 7 players, then basically we would probably agree to take the total fee, divide by 8, and I'd subtract my 1/8th and whatever's left over is what he owes the league in franchise fees for this team. Of course, we wouldn't know how deep we go into the playoffs. So to solve that problem, we would just tally up my $3 per game and I'd pay him that times the number of extra games we had beyond the first 8. Neither of us is going to starve or make millions either way, so he and I have a solid financial relationship and my spot is definitely not an issue. It really just comes down to whether or not he wants to continue sponsoring the remaining 6 players besides myself and him. If I were him, I'd ask each of the main players to alternate bringing $25, but that's just me. Again, this is not really my team, but I'm happy to hold up and support my 1/8th per equal share.
- aaa-e/o Poorcats: This one is the most "my" team. Everyone depends on or just defers to me to put a solid roster together capable of making a deep run into the playoffs. With one championship under our belt in maybe 4-5 seasons, plus a 3rd-place finish this past summer, I think I've earned their trust on that. However, I had to pickup some extra young guys this past season, and they basically got comped because I didn't know them that well and I got the feeling they didn't have much money anyways. If there are not enough AAA-30+ (Veterans) teams this season, I would probably go with the same young guys. With the mix of young and old guys, I would simply go with the same strategy as I described above. The first 6 players off the bench, then the 7th and 8th. Sometimes we had a 9th guy just in case and he was always "on call". I'd make sure he had $5 in his wallet just in case, and I would make him pay it depending on how much he played in the game. I'd discuss that with him and the rest of the teammates. If the main guys are expected to bring $25 cash in their wallet, then the "on call" guy should be expected to bring $5. That's fair.
If you still don't think the fees that I've set are fair, then read this article thoroughly to find out what my costs are (I have divulged them all above), crunch some numbers, and make a proposal to me. Just remember, for all the setup involved, for me to make much more less than what the gyms make, that would be a slap in my face. And I shouldn't be making less than what my refs make; after all, I'm the one creating the job for them, the gym people, and the scorekeepers.