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News  


Sliver of hope for ongoing NBA lockout


PhilBoxing.com




LOS ANGELES -- The US economy is in bad shape. The national unemployment rate is an alarmingly high 9.1 percent, while new jobs are getting increasingly rare.

And that is why people get sick, if not angry, when they hear about a labor dispute stemming from the fact that employers and employees couldn't quite agree on how to share a revenue stream worth in excess of $4 billion.

Which is exactly what this current NBA lockout is basically all about. A battle between billionaire team owners and ultra-rich millionaire players whose average annual salary is just slightly north of $5 million.

At the very core of the dispute is how NBA owners and players split the BRI or Basketball Related Income. The BRI represents all money made through basketball operations including gate receipts, broadcast revenues, in-arena sales of novelties and concessions, arena signage revenues, game parking and sponsorship revenues, etc.

Last season, the BRI figure was $4.3 billion.

Under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which expired last July, the players were guaranteed a 57 percent share of the BRI. But citing losses of $300 million last season, the owners decline to be as generous this time around, demanding a 53 percent share of the BRI.

The players association are willing to cut their share down. But they insist on nothing lower than a 53-47 split in their favor.

Both sides have stood firmly at 53 percent since the lockout began some 109 days ago. Countless hours of negotiations have turned fruitless thus far and two weeks worth of games for the 2011-12 regular season were officially scrapped last week by NBA commissioner David Stern.

So, can the season still be saved?

Yes. But it will take for both sides to give major concessions. And that is exactly what hoops fans hope will happen Tuesday morning in New York when the NBA owners and players meet with federal mediator George Cohen.

Mediation has untangled many labor problems in the past, including this year's NFL lockout. But can one meeting really cure two years worth of animosity?

That remains to be seen. Stay tuned. (NRR)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Nicholai R. Roska.


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