When Mr. Burns wins a professional basketball team in a poker game, he decides to build a new sports arena in Springfield for them - on the site where Lisa is trying to keep Springfield's bee population from dying out; 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 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 or "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 re-builds a new bee colony from African bees. However, the new bees attack the stadium, which looks like a beehive. In the end, Mr. Burns returns to Billionaire Camp, but learns he is 4 million dollars short of a billion dollars, so he is kicked out in a manner similar to when Tessio asks Tom Hagen in failure to convince the Don to not kill him in The Godfather. Mr. Burns asks his billionaire friend Mark to let him off the hook but fails the same way when Mark says Tom Hagen's lines: "Can't do it Monty/Sal" then Mr. Burns is thrown over to the Millionaire Camp, having only $996,000,000.
A Christmas-themed opening sequence was animated for this episode and was later re-aired 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 Burns and Smithers have been replaced by a Scrooge-esque Burns and Ghost of Marley-esque Smithers, and there are several Christmas banners in the plant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"
Bleeding Gums Murphy, who is now deceased, has been replaced with Jasper in a Santa costume. Maude Flanders, however, remains in the pan across Springfield, despite having also died.
Marge and Maggie's supermarket and car sequence have unfortunately been cut
In the end, the family sits on the couch and the camera then pulls out to reveal that the family was reflected in a Christmas ornament, which rests on a Christmas tree.