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SBD/Issue 21/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NBA Tells Players Union That Owners Are Suffering Deep Losses
Published October 12, 2009
|Hunter Wants To Look At NBA
Finances Before Next CBA Talk
ALL ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: In Boston, Gary Washburn wrote with the NBA CBA set to expire after the '10-11 season, Hunter "might have bookmarked" NBA Commissioner David Stern's comments last week regarding the financial state of the league. Stern while addressing reporters in London said of the economic downturn, "Actually, we've been remarkably unaffected by it. Our attendance will be strong, again, this year. Our television ratings have been up for two years and likely will go up. ... We feel pretty good about our place in this difficult time." Washburn noted Hunter may "figure that if the league is doing so well and remaining strong during this tumultuous time, then there is no reason for the players to give more of a percentage of revenue to owners" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/11).
RUSSIAN DRESSING: ESPN.com's Bill Simmons wrote, "You know the NBA is in at least a little trouble financially when it allows a Russian billionaire to buy a team. Five or six years ago, how fast do you think David Stern squashes the idea when someone says to him, 'So, I guess the best way to describe him is that he's like a Russian Mark Cuban'? Two seconds? One second? Which raises the question: Did Stern just open the door to all foreign billionaires, or was this a one-time thing?" Simmons wrote the NBA simply was "desperate to fix this Nets situation and salvage the Brooklyn complex that it didn't care where the money came from," and the sale was a "one-time exception" (ESPN.com, 10/9).
UNION DUES: SBJ's Lombardo & Mullen in a separate piece report the NBRA in its most recent financial filing reported total assets of nearly $133M for the 12-month period ending June 30, down from $136.7M from the year earlier. A union source indicated that the "decrease was due to a decline in the stock market and other union investments." The filing reveals that the NBA paid the union $6.8M in licensing fees "in each quarter of the most recent fiscal year," up from $6.25M a year earlier. The league also paid the union $8M in logo-use revenue, up from $7M. Meanwhile, the filing shows that Hunter earned $3.465M last year, up from $2.318M a year earlier. The increase is "attributed to a one-time payout" of about $1.1M for "vacation time accrued over 13 years" that Hunter has served as Exec Dir (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/12 issue).