The 58-year-old Mavericks owner and investor on ABC's Shark Tank believes one way to halt the declining ratings for sports on TV is to legalize betting on the games.
DAN PATRICK:What's the common mistake contestants make on Shark Tank?
MARK CUBAN: One, they don't know their numbers. Two, they don't come across as confident. Three, there's not enough energy in the pitch. You can't be arrogant. If you're arrogant, I like nothing better than to cut you off at the knees. It's a lot more fun for me.
DP:TV ratings are down for the first month of the NFL season. Is this a trend or an aberration?
MC: It's a trend. And I think it's going to be a challenge for a lot of sports in the future. I'll base my observation off my experience with my seven-year-old son, Jake, and his friends. I can't get him off his laptop watching YouTube Minecraft videos. I've gotten him to love basketball now, so it's a little bit different in my family. But with his friends? Getting them to watch sports is like pulling teeth. There's always a screen in front of them.
DP:How would legalizing gambling help sports leagues?
MC: For the same reason fantasy sports help leagues—they increase the attachment to sports with an opportunity to win money. If you're able to gamble, it's just like watching guys at the racetrack. You're all in and you're watching every second. So we can argue the merits and the risks of gambling, but if and when it's legalized nationwide, the attention to the game will increase significantly.
DP:Have your fellow owners discussed legalizing gambling? Would they vote in favor of that?
MC: Definitely. At least in the NBA, [a vote on gambling] would pass.
DP:Really? And you're for it?
MC: Oh, yeah, I'm absolutely for it.
DP:Why isn't the NFL?
MC: The NFL is much more p.r. driven, I think. They are very concerned about their perceived image, more so than the NBA.
DP:What are you going to tell your team about protesting during the national anthem?
MC: I'll tell you exactly what I told our guys: My dad enlisted in the Navy when he was 16. His parents came to this country from Russia, fleeing the persecution of not being able to speak up. When my grandparents were born, if you spoke up, there was a good chance you were going to die. My dad was always adamant, saying there were going to be a lot of times when you may disagree with people, but you have to respect the right for them to say what's on their mind. That's what I told my players. I'm going to respect their right to stand up and speak their mind.
Former LSU coach Les Miles told me he was O.K. with getting fired on Sept. 25. "I'm for the Tigers and anything that makes the Tigers better," Miles said. "If they see that a change makes them better, then I am for that." ... Marlins manager Don Mattingly explained why Jose Fernandez was so much fun to be around. "It always felt like he was playing Little League," Mattingly said. "He could drive you crazy, but that other side of him made you see kids just playing ball. That side was awesome." ... ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, a former Eagles quarterback, said fans in Philadelphia are blown away by rookie QB Carson Wentz: "[With] the blue-collar nature of this city, the demands are through the roof. I think that makes it harder to succeed here, but Carson has won everyone over in just three weeks."