Thursday, October 6, 2011

NBA opening games in jeopardy after negotiations broke off

Players want the bigger piece of the NBA revenue pie but owners want a 50-50 split.

Basketball fans eagerly anticipating the resolution of the NBA lockout bore the brunt of the break off because the NBA opening games will have to be cancelled.

The bargaining committees tried and failed to come to an agreement regarding the share of basketball-related revenues. The negotiation lasted for more than four hours with neither camp willing to give up. NBA team owners have locked out players after the deal expired on July 1. The shutdown has lasted 96 days.

The NBA has already lost about $200 million in revenues as a result of the lockout. Owners have also previously cancelled pre-season training camps and 43 pre-season games. The break off means two more weeks of lost games.

NBA Commissioner David Stern said, By Monday we will have no choice but to cancel the first two weeks of the season…We were not able to make the progress we would have liked to make. We’re looking down the barrel of losing regular-season games…There’s an extraordinary hit coming to the owners and the players.”

The lockout started when players did not agree to a 50-50 split in revenues. The previous contract stipulated that players get 57 percent of the basketball-related revenues. The owners argue that they have lost $300 million in the last season due to the exemptions in the salary system. The players made a counter offer of 53-47 sharing, with the owners standing to get over $1 billion in the next six years. The owners were not keen on getting the lower percentage and they wanted to pursue the 50-50 split.

Stern said that he offered players an opt-out clause after seven years of a 10 year contract, but it appears that it would not resolve the issue because both camps are putting on their "show me the money" gameface.

The bickering over who gets the larger share of the revenue pie has resulted in the extended lockout, which could be a repeat of the truncated 1998-1999 NBA season, where teams only played 50 games for the entire season. That or NBA may just well rest in peace.

By Maricar Virtudazo
Photo courtesy of nbaballanation


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