Examining NBA Contraction

Posted by By at 22 July, at 06 : 56 AM Print

Examining NBA Contraction

Lebron is for it. So is Magic Johnson. But how many teams would the league eliminate? two? three? maybe more? The last expansion in the NBA was in 1993, with the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors. Since then, Vancouver moved to Memphis and Toronto has floundered, not being able to hold onto its players like Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh. The league says its losing money and many teams are operating in the “financial red”, which is why they have locked out the players and are reexamining the collective bargaining agreement. The players’ have said otherwise and looking at TV deals the NBA has made with Disney and Time Warner, the owners’ appear to be working an angle.
Owners and players’ have fought since professional sports has begun in the US over revenues, salaries and player rights. Professional sports leagues have “antitrust exemptions” with the US decried by Congress because since they do not conduct interstate commerce, franchises cannot be held to the same standards as regular businesses which could develop cartels and monopolize markets. Possibly this designation should be re explored as professional sports franchises operate more as a “regular business” day by day. Many of the profits which an NBA team makes is less on attendance figures and more on merchandising (player jerseys, cups, caps, etc). The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, has developed a notorious reputation across the league of fielding a losing team in order to save money and profit from other factors. The Clippers constantly make a profit but are one of the most abysmal teams in NBA history. Perhaps a review of the actual definitions and language deeming the league’s “antitrust exemption” should be inspected during this lockout.

A handful of NBA teams have reported a decline in their overall value and about 13 of the owners in the league are billiionaires as reported in article by FOXbusiness.com in early 2011. If contracting is to be considered, then have it be due to other issues instead of dwindling attendance. Many times contraction is a good idea because the franchise has fallen “out of favor” with the City government and is unable to continue their business relationship (i.e., new stadium demands, city financial problems). Really though, if a city wished to rid itself of a team and the team agreed, changes could be made to stadium deals and tax subsidies immediately if not sooner to allow the team to relocate or dissolve. It definitely though should be a “last option” and not discussed during a nonchalant interview with a beat writer.

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