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How to Make Millions By Doing Nothing


(Photo: Bari D)

Fascinating article in today’s Times by Richard Sandomir about how the owners of the old American Basketball Association team the St. Louis Spirit are still being compensated for an agreement forged in 1976, when the Spirit were excluded from joining the NBA. Those owners, Ozzie and Daniel Silna, were given a share — in perpetuity — of future TV revenues:

In 1980-81, the first year the Silnas were eligible to get their share of TV money, they received $521,749, according to court documents filed by the N.B.A. For the 2010-11 season, they received $17,450,000. The N.B.A.’s latest TV deal, with ESPN and TNT, is worth $7.4 billion over eight years. Soon, the Silnas’ total take will hit $300 million. …

Donnie Walsh, the president of the Indiana Pacers, said in 2003 that discussing the Silnas’ deal “puts a dagger in my heart,” reminding him of losing that one-seventh share of TV money each season. On Thursday, he said he preferred not to talk about it.

Nice rent-seeking if you can get it.

Let’s hear your best examples of similar do-nothing paydays …