When Mr. Burns wins a professional basketball team in a poker game, he plans to build a new sports arena in Springfield for them - on the site where Lisa is trying to keep Springfield's bee population from becoming extinct, and Homer tries to solve the problem by mating the bees - with "killer" Africanized bees.
Mr. Burns wins a basketball franchise the Austin Celtics (who he renames the Springfield Excitement) in a poker game from the Rich Texan at Billionaire Camp. However, he fails to keep the spectators after an incident where he, under the mistaken belief that the mascot of the team was a live gorilla instead of a man dressed as one, shot the mascot and killed him. Meanwhile, Lisa discovers that bees all over the world are dying of bee measles ("beesles"). Lisa starts a colony of healthy bees, and gets a sanctuary for them. However, Mr. Burns builds a basketball stadium on the reserve. Homer then rebuilds a new bee colony from African bees. However, the new bees attack the stadium, which looks like a beehive. In the last scene, Burns returns to Billionaire Camp, but learns he is four million dollars short of a billion dollars, so he is kicked out and sent to the Millionaires' camp.
A Christmas-themed opening sequence was animated for this episode and was later reaired with "The Burns and the Bees". Not counting the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes, this is the second time that the title sequence is radically different from the norm.
It begins with two lines of instrumental "O Christmas Tree" and then the normal theme music begins. This version is similar to the normal version, except for several key differences:
Everything outside is covered with snow.
Bart's skateboard has been replaced with a snowboard.
Everyone is wearing winter clothes.
Mr. Burns and Smithers have been replaced by a Scrooge-esque Burns and Ghost of Marley-esque Smithers, and there are several Christmas banners in the plant.
Lisa's saxophone solo is a jazzy version "Deck the Halls".