NBA Lockout Jeopardizes Upcoming Basketball Season

Labour dispute rages on with neither side backing down

Boy with basketball

Via John-Morgan, flickr

By: Roxanne De Souza, Staff Writer

In the world of sports, autumn is synonymous with new beginnings. Football, hockey, and basketball seasons are all getting underway. Fans renew their obsession with pre-season tickets, online pools, and speculation about new draft picks.  What sports enthusiasts sometimes forget, however, is the inextricable connection between complex business practices and their love for the game.


The owners and players…[have] conflicting ideas about league revenue and salary caps


Professional sports are, first and foremost, multi-billion dollar enterprises.  For this reason, labour disputes and financial disagreements have come to be expected in North American sports leagues. The most recent NBA lockout threatens to jeopardize the 2011-2012 season, which has the potential to affect fans and television networks, as well as those directly involved in the dispute. These far reaching implications beg the question: is it all really worth it?

The owners and players of the National Basketball Association officially began a stalemate this past June. While renegotiating contracts, both sides had conflicting ideas about league revenue and salary caps. The labour dispute between players and owners is at a standstill, despite the preseason being less than a month away.

The industry owners feel that the almost $4 billion annual revenue is lacking given the expenses of running the league. The players believe that their average salary of $5 million should be raised to $7 million. So who is right? And perhaps more telling – does it really matter?

Fans have mixed allegiances. Some support owners that claim to struggle to make ends meet between arena expenses, league promotions, and salaries. Others are behind their favourite athletes or teams. The division is so great that NBA players have begun to make contingency plans for the upcoming year in the event that the 2011-2012 season is delayed.

With so much money and credibility at stake, this labour dispute is more than just a disagreement between owners and employees. All sides stand to lose if the preseason does not begin in October as planned. The next month will determine how the NBA season will progress. Until then, fans will have to hope that the business aspect of professional basketball can be resolved before they can go back to enjoying the game.

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