Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Dog Days of Summer

The “Dog Days” of summer are from July 3 to August 11 each year. They’re usually the hottest and most unbearable days of the season. We often hear about the "Dog Days" of Summer, but few know the meaning of the expression.

The phrase can be traced back to ancient Greece and has its roots in astrology. It is a reference to the heliacal rising of the star system Sirius (known colloquially as the "Dog Star"), which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck. The term “the dog days of summer” is now taken to describe the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

For sports fans, the dog days of summer have nothing to do with the weather. Rather, the months of July and August are unbearable for another reason. Major League Baseball is slogging through the beginning of the second half of a 162-game season. The NBA, NHL, and NFL seasons have long since wrapped up (although we do get the chance for our annual eternal optimism about our favorite NFL team that comes with the start of training camp). The final match at the All England Club has been played by the second week of July (Wimbledon) and the final putt is made at the British Open the following weekend. So, beginning in the middle of July, sports fans are left to look towards September—when tennis kicks off the U.S. Open, the crisp fall air signals the return of football, and the MLB pennant race returns.

What some may see as a necessary break in the sporting world, a few enterprising entrepreneurs recognized this time period as a gap in the market, and created the following leagues in an effort to grab a foothold in an industry dominated by four main competitors (NHL, NBA, NFL, MLB):

The BIG3

Founded in 2017 by musician/actor Ice Cube and entertainment executive Jeff Kwatintez, the BIG3 is a three-on-three basketball league consisting of 12 teams whose rosters include both former NBA and international players. New rules are at the core of the BIG3’s product. All Big3 teams are "barnstorming" teams and do not represent any cities or geographical regions. To win, a team must score 50 or more points, and lead by at least two points (hence there is no overtime); games are played on a half court; standard two- and three-point shots apply, but there is also an opportunity to score four points if a shot is made from a "four-point zone" (a circle 30 feet away from the basket). Originally under a media deal with Fox, the BIG3 now partners with CBS and 30 hours of league play is broadcast throughout the season on CBS and CBS Sports Network.


Founder in 2019 by Paul and Mike Rabil, former professional lacrosse players, the PLL is a professional lacrosse league consisting of eight teams, each with a 26-man roster. As opposed to tying teams to a specific market, the league tours 12 different "major market cities." The season includes 14 weeks, comprising 10 regular-season weekends, 1 all-star weekend, and 3 playoff weekends, running from June 1 through September 21. The PLL has had a fast start, with some pundits calling lacrosse the “sport of the future” and recently signed a media deal with ESPN and closed on its Series D funding round.

The Basketball Tournament (“TBT”)

Around longer than its counterpart the BIG3, The Basketball Tournament, was founded in 2014 by Jonathan Mugar and is an open-application, single elimination basketball tournament featuring 64 teams and a $1 million winner-take-all prize. Since its founding, It has since hosted over 400 games, partnered with ESPN for global distribution, introduced a new way to end basketball games, paid out over $10 million in prizes, and crowned eight champions.

While it is safe to say that the above have yet to grab a stronghold on the “Dog Days of Summer,” TBT, the BIG3, and the PLL each have made the Dog Days of Summer a bit less unbearable for sports enthusiasts (and others who prefer to lay around on their couch to heading out into the hottest part of the summer). Given the ongoing growth of Pickleball described in this post by a fellow entreVIEW author, maybe Major League Pickleball will be another option.

I’m sure other entrepreneurial individuals will come up with creative ways to try and make the “Dog Days” more bearable (and help us drain some extra money from our pocketbooks).

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