NBPA in position to go on offensive at labor meeting
Old 08-01-2011, 08:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Exclamation NBPA in position to go on offensive at labor meeting

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Despite the lack of negotiating sessions with the league, the National Basketball Players Association has had a good last couple of weeks. Now, this is collective bargaining, and things can change, rapidly. But in the important court of public opinion, the players' union has amassed some arrows to use in its quiver down the road.

First, the end of the NFL lockout puts all of the labor attention on basketball. The issues are vastly different between the two sports, but all sports fans saw the lasting image of Colts center Jeff Saturday hugging the grieving owner of the Patriots, Robert Kraft, who had juggled negotiating sessions with the NFL Players Association with vigils for his dying wife, Myra. Player after player gave Robert Kraft the lion's share of the credit for figuring out a solution to the seemingly intractable issues the NFL owners had with their players' union. It was powerful stuff. Yes, everyone in the NFL makes money. But the NFL's owners are just as desirous of making more as their NBA brethren, yet they figured out how to make a deal. That can only embolden NBA owners -- and there are many -- who want to play next season.

Second, as NBA.com's Steve Aschburner reported two weeks ago would happen, the final audit of the 2010-11 season confirmed that the players will be refunded their full eight percent of escrow that they gave the owners as mandated by the old Collective Bargaining Agreement. Players have put money in an escrow account every year since 1999 as insurance for the owners in case the players' share of Basketball Related Income exceeds its annual limit of 57 percent. And not only will the players be getting that $160 million back from the owners, the owners owe the players an additional $26 million because the players' take of BRI last season was actually less than 57 percent of total revenues. League revenues grew as a whole by 4.8 percent, according to the audit.

The league will certainly argue that the giveback is an outlier; it has never happened before in the 12 years of the arrangement, and at any rate, teams had to spend so much more -- marketing, advertising and the like -- to create that additional revenue that they still, in the main, lost more than they brought in. But the disclosure gives the union a PR claim that, rightly or wrongly, could resonate with fans -- our salaries weren't the problem last season. So why does the system need a dramatic overhaul?
NBPA in position to go on offensive at labor meeting | NBA.com
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The problem is that at one time, 57% was a good number to allow for the players. When that number was negotiated, it didn't cost nearly as much to operate an NBA franchise as it does now. Unfortunately, all the non player related costs have gone up and there is no cba to keep those numbers in check.

For example, the cost of staying at hotels has gone up as has jet fuel, coach salaries, advertising costs, cost of living for the 100 or so employees that work for NBA franchises and so on. When the cba was negotiated, the owners could cover the remaining 43% with non player costs but now, it appears as though the number has exceeded 43% and coupled with the player's getting 57%, you get red ink.

That being said, I think the owners are full of it when they claim those massive losses. As a whole, the league turns a profit IMO but the fact of the matter is that while the big markets will always profit, we have gotten to a point where the small markets aren't profitable and in order to stop that from happening, player salaries have to be cut back.

Remember, the owners can't just tell the hotels, oil companies and billboard operators to charge less. Those costs will always go up and up. As a result, they can only get money back from the players via collective bargaining. Here's hoping that they can meet halfway.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by West Coast NBA Fan View Post
The problem is that at one time, 57% was a good number to allow for the players. When that number was negotiated, it didn't cost nearly as much to operate an NBA franchise as it does now. Unfortunately, all the non player related costs have gone up and there is no cba to keep those numbers in check.

For example, the cost of staying at hotels has gone up as has jet fuel, coach salaries, advertising costs, cost of living for the 100 or so employees that work for NBA franchises and so on. When the cba was negotiated, the owners could cover the remaining 43% with non player costs but now, it appears as though the number has exceeded 43% and coupled with the player's getting 57%, you get red ink.

That being said, I think the owners are full of it when they claim those massive losses. As a whole, the league turns a profit IMO but the fact of the matter is that while the big markets will always profit, we have gotten to a point where the small markets aren't profitable and in order to stop that from happening, player salaries have to be cut back.

Remember, the owners can't just tell the hotels, oil companies and billboard operators to charge less. Those costs will always go up and up. As a result, they can only get money back from the players via collective bargaining. Here's hoping that they can meet halfway.
You're missing one very important element. Not only have costs gone up, but ticket prices, jerseys, tv contracts and the like have gone up. Not to mention the overall value of franchises, which is more important than costs or revenue streams for any given year.

Sadly sports are getting priced out of the range of the average fans along with the increases in revenue, but as long as they fill stadiums with people that can handle ever increasing ticket prices, and fill games with about as much advertising content as possible, the issue comes down to what piece of the pie they can get away handing out to the players, or so it would seem. Of course from one team to the next there are some big disparities. And you have to think that the league would be healthier if they didn't shut out the average fan completely. So deal with that as owners, to some extent, before just putting your hands up in the air and saying everyone is losing money. There are things that can be done to improve the league structurally that requires some give and take between owners, as well as things that require give and take between players, and then of course some between the owners and the players union. Making it all about getting a bigger slice of the pie for as long as possible just seems like trying to find the easiest route forward that would allow anyone to be able to get along with just an idiot's guide to running an NBA franchise.
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