Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Will the popularity of the NBA be affected by a protracted lockout?

When the NBA owners made the decision to lock out the players on June 30, 2011, effectively creating a work stoppage, the two sides were very far apart in key issues related to the expired collective bargaining agreement. With the lockout lasting throughout the summer and early into the fall months, the likelihood of a canceled NBA regular season is now closer to reality.

Negotiators from both sides got together on Monday, Oct. 10, to avoid a Monday deadline set by NBA commissioner David Stern that promised the cancellation of the first two weeks of the regular season if the two sides failed to reach an agreement.

The biggest issue on the table is the split of revenue between players and owners. Under the expired collective bargaining agreement, players received 57 percent of overall basketball revenue. The owners, claiming they have lost hundreds of millions of dollars as a result, have told the players they will not accept anything less than a 50-50 split of revenues.

Also at issue is a hard salary, similar to what is employed by the NFL and NHL. The players have steadfastly argued against a hard cap, and have said in the past they will never agree on that issue. The bottom line of all this bickering back and forth is that the fans are the ones who will make the NBA pay for its lack of cohesion at the bargaining table. The longer the NBA opts to lock out its players, the longer that fans will continue to not fund the NBA in the first place. Without gate receipts and marketing revenue, the NBA and its owner won’t have to worry about sharing anything, because there will be nothing to share.

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