National / International News

Getting tickets for the NBA Finals is a game itself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:47

For Miami Heat season ticket holders, the NBA Finals should be all LeBron jerseys and cocky tweets.

After all, the Heat are one of just four teams to ever play in four straight NBA Finals. And season ticket holders have first crack at snagging highly-coveted playoff tickets and buying them at a relative steal.

“The Eastern Conference Finals will generally go for anywhere from three to four times face value,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America. “And the NBA Finals can go for anywhere from four to five times face value.”

Season ticket holders can cover a good chunk -- if not all -- of their expenses by selling just their conference finals and finals tickets. Depending on where NBA Finals seats are located, says Ashong, tickets can sell for anywhere from $275 to $25,000.

For a subset of season ticket holders, the playoffs becomes a complicated affair. Like a timeshare, some fans join informal season ticket pools with colleagues, friends, and friends of friends.

Ashong says at least twice a year, he turns into a counselor for group season ticket holders. There’s an extra playoff game left. Who gets to go? Should they just sell the seats and split the money?

“Oh wow, we’ve done all kinds of things,” says Ayeh Ashong with Miami-based broker Tickets of America, “from pulling straws to flipping coins.”

Perhaps the easiest way to fairly break up playoff tickets is to liquidate them all and split the profits among the group.

But many season ticket holders, like Gregg Gelber, wouldn’t dream of selling their seat to a stranger. He and six long-time friends share four season tickets. “Like everything with our group, it starts with a spreadsheet,” says Gelber, a financial advisor who keeps obsessive records of who attends which game.

For the playoffs, Gelber’s group uses a rotation system to distribute playoff seats. An order is randomly generated, and each group member gets a ticket when his name is up. Four of the seven guys go to each game this way.

Over the last four years, the group has developed a small bible of playoff-specific rules.

“Giving your ticket to anybody without prior approval is complete banishment,” says Gelber. “Immediately.”

Group members are also prohibited from selling their ticket. “If you can’t go, you can offer to trade. If that is rejected... it goes to the next person automatically,” says Gelber.

In Gelber’s rotation system, all of the group members have the same chances of getting any given ticket. That is one way to think about “fairness.”

But there’s at least one other way. “A property that mathematicians call ‘envy free-ness,’” says Mike Rosenthal, who teaches math at Florida International University.

Rosenthal suggests splitting up season tickets with a method that originated as a way to divvy up an estate when no will had been written:  the Knaster system.

“[It] was developed during World War II,” says Rosenthal, “by a Polish Mathematician: Bronisław Knaster.”

Using the Knaster system, each ticket holder would write down what a given game is worth to them. The person who values a game most gets the ticket, but has to reimburse the other members for not going.

And then there’s the Peltz family system. Which is to say no system, really.

The Peltzs have owned a pair of Heat season tickets for about two decades, since their kids were just babies. Now that the Heat are a regular fixture in the Finals, and the kids are adults, there’s a good deal of jostling for use of the family seats.

The youngest son, Jonathan Peltz, used to strategically pass on earlier playoff games to claim the rights to later, more important playoff games.

Last year, Jonathan and his brother Moish were all set to go to one of the first two finals games against the Spurs. At the last second, his sister Maxine booked a flight home from New York.

“Like literally 24 hours notice,” says Jonathan.

Word came down that Maxine would get to go to the game instead of Jonathan.

“I mean I wish I didn't have to play that card,” says Maxine, “I would have rather been here for all of the playoff games.”

“It’s like a corporation,” says Jonathan, “She’s like: I cleared it with mom. So it’s like then she doesn’t have to ask me.”

Explicit texts were exchanged. A livid Jonathan, at some point, had to be talked down while pacing and fuming. Maxine considered canceling her flight and not coming home.

“[Jonathan] was really mad at me,” says Maxine, “and I was like: this is World War III in the Peltz family.”

Their dad, Arvin Peltz, says at this point he’s essentially given up on ever using the family tickets.

This article includes comments from the Public Insight Network, an online community of people who have agreed to share their opinions with WLRNA version of this article also ran on WLRN.

US screen legend Ruby Dee dies

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:41
The actress, civil rights activist and wife to Ossie Davis died at her home in New York on Wednesday, her family reported.

What is the point of a COO? A CEO? A CVO? A CKO?

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:37

The COO. Chief Operating Officer. What, exactly, does that even mean? What do COOs do?

Mostly, they do what CEOs don't have time to do – the menial toil of running the company, whether it's marketing and sales or research and development.  It's different for every company.  Often though, the COO studies to be the next CEO. Having a COO is a way of training, evaluating and grooming a future CEO.

But COOs are a dying breed. Since 2000, the percentage of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies with COO positions has shrunk from 49 percent to 35 percent. Many companies, according to executive placement firm CristKolder, are realizing that these duties can increasingly be taken on by chief financial officers, who aren’t as limited to numbers knowledge as they were in previous eras.

By Shea Huffman

"C-suite" or "C-level" refers to the highest-level executives at a company, taking their name from the three-letter initials starting with "C" that make up their titles. The most familiar such positions are chief executive officer (CEO), chief operations officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO). Such titles usually tell you who holds the power in different organizations, but recent trends, especially in the start-up scene, have all sorts of C-suite officers popping up that have some wondering what their titles actually mean.

Here are five C-suite titles we've found that seem a bit unusual in name at first, but might (or might not) make some sense once you figure out what they do.

Chief Agility Officer

Sounds like an executive for a clan of ninjas, or the self-given title of a football coach. Alas, the "agility" this title refers to is the corporate variety, not the physical. This one is technically a proposed position, but it derives its moniker from the growing agility movement, a corporate philosophy that emphasizes eschewing a rules-based work process in favor of an organization that is highly responsive to change. The chief agility officer, in that sense, is "tasked with creating and nurturing an Agile culture that pervades the whole organization."

Chief Knowledge Officer

Did the head librarian decide her title wasn't exciting enough? No, this officer is actually a fairly common position to see these days in companies like advertising firms, legal firms or even NASA. A chief knowledge officer is typically in charge of research and analytics for her company, gathering information on technology, customer relationships and successful business practices. They're also usually in charge of formulating and executing whatever strategic company-wide goals an organization wants to strive for, and to make sure they don't lose that knowledge after achieving a success; basically remembering what worked best. If it sounds similar to the more common chief information officer, that's because they do pretty much the same thing, but with different buzzwords. But CKOs totally swear they're different and you shouldn't get rid of them.

Chief Networking Officer

A networking officer sounds like a position a fraternity would cook up for setting up parties with all the popular sororities. CNOs are often favored by ad agencies and consulting firms, and are in charge of well, networking; they connect people and businesses within their companies with people and businesses outside their companies. The position can have some overlap with a chief marketing officer, but with less of a focus on sales and customer service, and more of a focus on communicating between offices and setting up those boring team-building exercises you always skip. A chief networking officer can also refer to a technical executive in charge of computer networking strategy, which arguably makes more sense.

Chief Visionary Officer

In the land of vague titles and start-up companies with unclear purposes, the chief visionary officer is king (or queen). Or really, they advise the king or queen (the CEO) on which direction to take the company. As the title can be used to formalize an advising position, the CVO is typically a high-ranking executive who performs executive duties, but with added responsibilities of creating a forward vision for the company, especially if they are operating in a fairly new industry. Internet pioneer Einar Stefferud is ususally recognized as the first CVO.

Chief Electrification Officer

If this one sounds like a title from the early 1900s that refers to the person who kept the all the lights on, that's because that's exactly what it is. Not normally used anymore in developed countries, the electrification officer was responsible for managing the electrical generating and distribution systems at companies during the beginnings of electrification in industry. The title still pops up occasionally in developing countries that still lack universal electricity. It also makes for a pretty cool title for the co-founder of a solar power start-up.

78-year-old dies in Newry road crash

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:27
A 78-year-old woman dies in a two vehicle road collision on the Warrenpoint Road in Newry.

Pentagon Says Bergdahl En Route To Texas

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:24

The U.S. Army sergeant held hostage for five years in Afghanistan has left a hospital in Germany aboard a U.S. military plane destined for San Antonio, Tex.

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All by yourself

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:18

From the Marketplace Datebook, here's a look at what's coming up Friday, June 13:

In Washington, the Labor Department issues the Producer Price Index for May.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon celebrates his 70th birthday.

A three-day festival celebrating duct tape gets underway in Avon, Ohio. There's a parade, and clothes and the opportunity to get stuck to someone.

Or maybe you prefer some alone time. You're in luck. National Hermit Week begins.

And some folks celebrate National Weed Your Garden Day. That's guaranteed to get you some alone time.

Cool Kids Lose, Though It May Take A Few Years

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:11

Call it revenge of the nerds. Popularity at age 13 fades by age 22, a study finds. And kids who try to act cool in their early teens are more likely to have alcohol and relationship problems later.

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Terror unit joins university inquiry

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:06
The discovery of suspicious items at Newcastle University, which led to a controlled explosion and evacuation, is investigated by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit.

Maybe Dinosaurs Were A Coldblooded, Warmblooded Mix

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:03

Evidence from bone growth now suggests that T. rex and its kin had the best of both worlds. Their muscles and nerves fired fast like ours, but they burned energy slowly, more like lizards do.

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Ex-'Times' Editor Jill Abramson To Teach At Harvard

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 10:01

The former executive editor of The New York Times, whose sudden dismissal sent shock waves through the media world, will teach undergraduate courses on narrative nonfiction.

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Root century leads England recovery

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:56
Joe Root's third Test century helps England reach 344-5 on day one of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Lord's.

Strike threat before 2014 Games

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:55
Staff at two of Glasgow's key transport operators are to be balloted on industrial action ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

VIDEO: Meet the author: John Gordon Sinclair

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:52
Gregory's Girl actor John Gordon Sinclair talks about his second novel, Blood Whispers.

Appeal court raises murder jail term

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:51
A father who killed his ex-girlfriend as their young daughter slept upstairs has seen his minimum jail term increased at the Court of Appeal to 23 years.

Tribunal over fire station shift row

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:49
Twenty-three firefighters take legal action against Mid and West Wales Fire Service amid claims a 96-hour shift system made them seek work elsewhere.

Kaymer leads from McDowell in US Open

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:36
Germany's Martin Kaymer shoots a stunning five-under 65 to take a three-shot lead on day one of the US Open at Pinehurst.

'Breach of peace' warning over flags

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:30
The Police Service of Northern Ireland says it will treat the erection of loyalist flags in a mixed area of south Belfast as a breach of the peace.

Anti-euro party joins Tory MEP group

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:26
The group of MEPs founded by UK Conservatives votes to admit an anti-euro German party into the ranks.

VIDEO: Bush Snr, 90, makes parachute jump

BBC - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:24
Former US President George HW Bush has marked his 90th birthday with a parachute jump.

Legendary Actress Ruby Dee Dies At 91

NPR News - Thu, 2014-06-12 09:15

The actress who starred with Sidney Poitier in the 1961 classic A Raisin in the Sun died Wednesday. She was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her work in American Gangster.

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