With progress of the current NBA lockout at a complete stalemate, basketball fans are being kept in the dark about knowing when the lockout will end and when the regular season will begin. Unfortunately, the NBA lockout doesn’t appear that it will end prior to the November 1st start date, let alone the beginning of training camps, as the NFL lockout did.
With talks from both sides (NBPA and the owners) being practically non-existent and the number of active NBA players signing with overseas basketball clubs on the rise every week, the idea of a canceled season or at least a shortened season is becoming more of a reality every day for the basketball community.
The 1998-99 lockout had a definite negative effect on the NBA and its teams. It took the league about five years to really get back on track, with the final retirement of Michael Jordan making the recovery even harder for the league. The reality is that lockouts from professional sports leagues frustrates their fans, with a possibility of losing some of their fans for good.
Greed and power from both sides turns off the fans and leaves them disappointed with the parties involved. This combined with the approximate $340 million the NFL stood to loose in ticket sales alone, inspired the NFL owners and NFLPA to agree to a collective bargaining agreement sooner rather than later. Doing so allowed the fans to return their mindsets back to the sport.
The NBA would lose around $180 million in ticket sales if the entire regular season is cancelled. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they stand to lose the most out of any team in the NBA, with $19.7 million is losses. The New York Knicks come in as a close second with a little over $18 million in losses.
On top of the lost ticket sales revenue, there are other venues in which the Lakers will lose money. According to ESPN.com’s Larry Coon, “there’s the general damage caused by a lockout — the P.R. hit, the lost fans, the lost corporate sponsorships, the unfulfilled TV deals, etc. The longer the lockout lasts, the more damaging it will be.”*
Without knowing the exact nature of the talks between the NBPA and the owners, basketball fans are looking at what the players are doing and saying to predict a time frame for the lockout. With more and more prominent players either signing overseas or acknowledging that doing so is a definite possibility, the outlook for a full 2011-12 season looks dim.
Deron Williams has already signed with Besiktas in Turkey. Dwayne Wade recently remarked that he is planning to play basketball this year regardless who and where it is for. Ron Artest said he is definitely playing for Britain in the near future. Kobe Bryant has said he is willing to hear from overseas clubs and is reportedly close to reaching a deal with an Italian club. These are just four examples of what is happening in the league right now.
Whether having NBA players, especially elite players, play for other leagues and teams besides the NBA and its teams is a good idea is highly debatable depending on who you ask. However, with the increasing trend for players playing for foreign teams, there is one thing to take from this trend: the fans will most likely have to wait for a while for the NBA to return.