The Craziest Contracts in Sports History (PART I)

Kusty crazy contract Simpsons

How should a footballer feel like when he is banned from space travel?

There are catchy clauses in sports contracts, mobile betting players know that, there are controversial ones and there are a lot of interesting paragraphs. And there is the real crazy stuff, when representatives cover ridiculously unlikely cases or guaranteeing bonuses for athletes who make fool of themselves. 

• Ridiculous contract clauses
• Team bans footballer from space travelling
• Earning money with a nonexistent team

If you want to be an astronaut, don’t start a footballing career, as the two might interfere. And if you want to run a successful basketball league, don’t make ridiculous business that guarantees giving away a large chunk of television revenue. The first piece about the craziest contracts in sports tackles these cases.

Footballer prohibited from leaving the planet

Stefan Schwarz was an integral part of the Sweden national football team that took off like a rocket in the group stage of the 1994 FIFA World Cup, finishing third eventually. Schwarz had a considerable career playing for Benfica, Arsenal, Fiorentina and Valencia in the 1990s, as many of those who play at online gambling sites in Sweden might remember. However, he aimed at the stars, and Sunderland worried that his desire was to visit outer space.

Stefan Schwarz Sunderland

Young Stefan always wanted to be an astronaut, but his dreams had to wait

At the end of the nineties, it seemed that commercial flights will take passengers regularly to space soon. As Schwartz was interested in space travel through one of his advisers, Sunderland, the team that was about to sign him in 1999, put a clause in his contract that prohibited him from visiting the space while he plays for the club.

Now it might look like one of the craziest contracts in sports, however at the time people thought that space travelling will be an everyday activity in years. Sunderland just had to protect their interest, as their insurance wouldn’t cover an adventure like that. Stefan Schwartz signed eventually and spent four years at the Stadium of Light without leaving the planet. After a couple of promising years, coming 7th in the Premier League in both, Sunderland failed to jump to light speed and relegated eventually, as Schwarz retired.

The NBA signed one of the craziest contracts in sport ever

Ozzie and Daniel Silna are intuitive businessmen. They enjoyed success in the textile industry, however in the seventies they also wanted a team playing in the NBA. They failed to buy the Detroit Pistons and therefore they went for the ABA franchise Carolina Cougars. They moved the Cougars to St. Louis and renamed them to Spirits of St. Louis. The NBA-ABA merger seemed inevitable at the time, and the Silna brothers thought that they could get the Spirits to the NBA. But they failed to do that.

Ozzie Selna Dan Selna Spirits of St Louis

Instead of selling out when the ABA folded, the Silnas collected a lot of royalties and then sold out for more!

The NBA wanted only four franchises from the ABA, the Nets, the Nuggets, the Pacers and the Spurs. The league offered a lucrative payout to the owners of the Spirits and the Kentucky Colonels, the two remaining ABA franchises still operating and left out from the merger. However the Silna brothers refused to take the money. They asked for 1/7 of the national TV revenue generated by the four teams the NBA selected from the ABA, as long as the league exits.

The NBA were eager about the merger and agreed, and the Silna brothers made their luck. Now, anyone who bet on sports in the US considers this as one of the craziest contracts in sports ever. However, at the time the NBA wasn’t the world famous league as we all know it today. They weren’t favored by television channels, so the 1/7 of the revenue that the four teams generated did not seem to be a considerable amount. Reaching 2014, it was USD 300 million. After that, the NBA decided to pay the Silna brothers another USD 500 million to buy out the humiliating clause.

These contracts seemed to be reasonable in their respective time, however they all look ridiculous for the online betting audience today. In the next piece, we will find a contract clause that couldn’t be serious already at the time when it was signed. Or for some agents it is just natural, that payments should be covered even if apocalypse arrived.

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