By Pat McGonigle
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - People of a certain age no doubt remember the Spirits of St. Louis.
The Spirits played in the short-lived ABA (American Basketball Association) in the 1970s. With its red, white, and blue ball and rules to increase scoring and excitement, the ABA failed in its attempt to compete with the NBA.
The Spirits of St. Louis also tried to generate buzz in the bi-state area but, by all accounts, failed miserably.
"It was fun, at the time, it was something different," remembers longtime Spirits fan Charles Francis.
The Spirits of St. Louis played before mostly empty seats in the St. Louis Arena even though the team had a knack for stealing big name stars away from the NBA.
Marvin Barnes, Moses Malone, and M.L. Carr played home games in the 18,000 seat St. Louis arena, although many games had less than 1,000 paying fans.
A young Bob Costas was the KMOX radio voice of the Spirits.
Even though the fledgling franchise is just a distant memory for most, it remains a highly lucrative enterprise for the owners of the team.
In fact, most estimates put the Spirits annual profits at around $17 million per year.
How can this be?
"How do you make money if you're not existing?" wonders St. Louis resident Barbara Davis.
Find out Friday morning on Today in St. Louis at 6 am.