Games will be missed. NBA commissioner David Stern said that today was going to be the day to cancel the first two weeks of the regular season if a deal wasn’t reached and while the parties worked until nearly midnight last night and for 7 hours today, no deal was reached. 12 and a half hours of the last 24 and they couldn’t come close enough to continue working and games have officially been cancelled.
For the Charlotte Bobcats, this means their opening game in Orlando, home against Milwaukee, at Memphis, at Boston, home against Utah and home against Oklahoma City are all wiped from the books. 6 games, and luckily, for ticket revenue, as sad as it sounds, the Bobcats won’t lose out on any of those big time sell out games like against Boston, the Lakers, Knicks or Orlando.
I saw an article, well, my Pops told me about an article in the Triangle Business Journal that quoted the General Manager of the RBC Center here in Raleigh about the loss of the pre-season game to be played there between the Bobcats and Miami Heat. He said that because of the structure of the deal, the Hurricanes got the money from the hockey game held in Charlotte and the Bobcats would have gotten the money from tickets to the Raleigh NBA game. So they didn’t lose ticket money but they said that concessions and such cost them $50,000-$60,000.
The point is, there are costs involved in those first two weeks and while 6 games doesn’t sound like a whole lot and 3 of those being at home, less significant, that’s 7% of the season. More over, it shows an unwillingness to compromise on both parties.
Commissioner Stern said after the meeting tonight, when asked what he’d say to fans: “I say that we tried awfully hard. We made, in our view, concession after concession.” They want and have wanted a full 10% of basketball related income to come from the players and to the owners as well as a system overhaul that would help the owners keep costs down. Players have been unwilling to give back that much, while they’ve agreed to give back about 4% and I’m sure make some concessions on system issues, they were never enough.
Owners hold the keys to this whole deal, thus the term “lockout.” As owners, they are keepers of the game and also businessmen trying to keep things legit for themselves in the long term. They are asking a whole, whole lot. Obviously, the players are choking on their demands. If Stern legitimately believes they have made concessions, they must have been asking for a whole lot more. Now the threat is that the costs incurred in loss of regular season games will have to be made up out of the players’ pocket. The deep wide gulf only gets deeper and wider from here.
It’s sad, it’s disappointing and it was expected. Players Union Chief Billy Hunter seems to think that this was the plan all along, that the owners are happy to lose games in order to get their way. I would hope that isn’t the case and I am sure that Hunter must really believe that if he’ll say that as talks break down and he knows the ramifications of such comments in future negotiations.
So, I guess we wait until the next meeting, which hasn’t been scheduled. After that, we wait for 2 weeks from now when Stern is likely to announce the further cancellation of another 2 weeks worth of games. All we can do is wait, wait and stew and get more pissed.