Saturday, October 22, 2011

NBA May Be Better Off With A Short Season

Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver
and San Antonio Owner Respond at
News Conference Thursday 
The NBA may just be facing a real windfall this season and the Lockout may generate an increased interest in a professional season that by many accounts is considered too long and unimpressive until after the All-Star break.  The collective bargaining agreement negotiations are not making immediate advances and the season is potentially in jeopardy, but the players feel the owners are being unreasonably greedy and the owners are demanding that the 57% to 43% basketball related income distribution be amended to 50-50 to allow a chance for all franchises to work towards year-end profits.

Billy Hunter and Player Reps Explain
Their Position to Press Thursday
As a result of the stalemate the season has already lost preseason games, and two weeks of the regular season games equating to over $250 million in lost revenues.  The Los Angles Lakers have a total player payroll of $91,311,749 as the highest payroll in the league.  The Denver Nuggets have a $28,883,142 payroll.  The Defending NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks have a current $63,184,541 payroll and lost over $50 million during their championship season.  So what does this all mean?  The NBA is bleeding money, paying unreasonable salaries to extremely talented players, who unfortunately have lost perspective of the current economic climate in the United States.  The consumers, also known as fans, are struggling to pay for healthcare, utilities, mortgages, rents and healthcare.  Therefore product sales, ticket purchases and other basketball related discretionary spending is down.  Owners are losing money against the investment into the franchise, players, supports services and amenities for the team and cannot see any change in the economic trend as we face another recession before experience an economic upswing.

Kobe Bryant Touring Italy
If the season is to be salvaged, it will be by the compromise of the players an owners with a mutual commitment to establish a business relationship that will generate profit for owners, continued wealth to the players and at an expense that at a minimum does not increase the cost to the consumer.  As the players tweet their apologies to the fans, with a reminder that they are locked out wanting to just play basketball, they are attempting to challenge the common sense of an American people that have had to change their respective lifestyles to just live comfortable, while many have no method of even making a living with unemployment at an all time high.  The players by returning 7% to the owners to make a multi billion dollar industry available to its many supporters would only see an average reduction in earnings at about $250,000 per player.  The highest potential reduction would be about $1.7M for a player like Kobe Bryant, making $25,244,000 per year to $68,000 for the lowest paid player who would make a league minimum of $972,000.  Does this appear unfair to Owners who have invested an average of $300M just to acquire a franchise, along with the average support expenses of over $90M to non-player support cost just to operate and support the daily and seasonal requirements of the athletic entity.  A player on the other hand, once his guaranteed contract is completed, can opt out of their commitment to play for a franchise and leave for more attractive fan bases in other ares in the country, at no cost to the player.

In the 1998-1999 season, the protracted negotiations led to a shortened season of 50 games, opposed to the normal; 82-game season.  All games were competitive and each game seemed to mean something to the players because they had a reduced period to close win-loss gaps between teams in the race for the playoffs and the often elusive NBA Title.  Maybe the NBA can take a real review and assessment of its' position squeezed in between College Football, Basketball and the NFL.  The result of their cohabitation in the winter and spring season, is a late arriving national audience after the final results of the BCS Championship, the Super Bowl and March Madness.  The NBA is not America's pastime entertainment, the polls say that America does not care if you lose a few games, half a season or the entire season.  The NBA is not the demand often referred to in "Supply and Demand," the NBA has become an expensive luxury that is not on the top of the list of the American budget.  Unlike football, pro basketball is not a "must see" by families, young and old.  Professional basketball has a distinct and specific audience census that is not near as diverse and broad as the Gridiron Heroes at both the college and professional ranks.

Let's face it who really cares if the NBA season is cancelled other than the 30 cities in America where the revenue losses will create additional unemployment and loss community revenues.  By the time anyone recognizes the loss of the season, baseball will have capitalized as being America's pastime again as March Madness closes and College Baseball wets the athletic appetite.  So maybe a shorter season is in order, that starts in February and takes traction in March and continues through June to find its place in the entertainment needs of the American public, the players conveniently recognize now that they need an ally in a war they cannot win against a powerful employer, turned adversary.  Who knows the WNBA may even find its way in the hearts of an American public that can appreciate athletic stars that have not forgotten why they even have a market.

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