By now, the NBA lockout is old news and everyone is burrowing in for the long haul. The owners and players seem far apart with owners ready to lose an entire season and players heading to foreign destinations.
Have you heard the following statements?
Owners to the players: We've lost money for five straight years and it's because we pay you too much. We want you to take a large pay cut so we can make some money.
Players to the owners: We're sorry you lost money for five straight years, but you spend money like drunken sailors; it's not our fault that you aren't making money. We're willing to take a small pay cut, but you should figure out how to cut costs elsewhere.
Fans to the owners: You're lying to the players. You want to cut their pay to save yourselves from yourselves.
Fans to the players: You are rich babies. What are you complaining about? We're all taking pay cuts and being laid off because of the economy. Why should you get special treatment?
While the situation looks grim, it's not as bad as trying to solve the national debt problem.
How can the NBA be saved?
1) The NBA could work on renegotiating its TV deal - Forbes says that a new deal could increase the NBA's television revenue by a minimum of 30%; why would the networks agree to rework their deal with the NBA?
(a) They stand to lose money if the lockout persists; short-term and long-term. Short-term is the loss of games; long-term is a decline in ratings by fans put-off by the lockout. Reworking their deal with the NBA could mean a shortened lockout period and minimize the ratings loss caused by the lockout.
(b) The contract with the NBA is up in 2016, renegotiating now would allow them to lock-in the NBA for additional years without having to bid against other networks in 2016.
2) The NBA could contract or relocate the most financially distressed franchises. Contraction would allow the NBA the ability to reduce its costs and split revenues from contracts among fewer franchises. Contraction would increase the talent level of the remaining teams. Relocation would allow franchises to start fresh and draw support from new fan bases. For instance, a franchise not profitable in New Jersey could be profitable in a market like Brooklyn.
3) The NBA could enhance the revenue sharing of large market teams with small market teams. While this will not affect the overall profitability of the league, additional revenue allocated to small market teams would assist them in covering their operating costs. This could also level some of the playing field between large and small market teams.
4) The NBA could expand the season by 10 games. Expanding the season has been explored by the NFL, but it has not been brought up by the NBA. Since 16 of the 30 NBA teams make the playoffs, more games should equal more revenue and profitability for a number of teams.
5) The NBA and the NBAPA could arrive at a reasonable salary reduction agreement. Whether that's a 3% reduction in the current player revenue sharing or a hard cap/flex cap, a reduction in overall player salary is warranted.
Hopefully the owners and players won't let their posturing reach DEFCON 1 levels and will realize that the NBA can be saved.