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SBD/April 18, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Stern Says NBA Owners Have Agreed To Submit New CBA Proposal To Players
Published April 18, 2011
THINGS LOOKING UP? ESPN N.Y.'s Chris Sheridan wrote, "If you thought a lockout was a certainty, you may want to reconsider." Stern indicated that "movement is coming ... in announcing that NBA owners had authorized the labor relations committee to make a new formal proposal." Formal proposals "move the needle, and this will be the first one the owners have given the players" in nearly 16 months. Sheridan wrote, "When attendance is up for the seventh consecutive season, when television ratings are up 38 percent on ABC, 28 percent on ESPN and 42 percent on TNT, when video views on NBA.com are up 140 percent from a year ago, when global merchandise sales are up 20 percent in the past 12 months, there can be no question that business is booming. And we are all supposed to believe they are ready to take out the dynamite and blow that up? Sorry. It just doesn't pass the smell test" (ESPN.com, 4/15). In Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote under the header, "NBA On Fast Break Toward NFL's Foolish Path." Frenette: "Take heart, NFL, you're not the only league stupid enough to threaten killing the golden goose and turning off a fan base. The NBA is on a similar track" (JACKSONVILLE.com, 4/16).
MIXED MESSAGES: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's John Lombardo notes the NBA regular season was "so compelling" that it "pushed leaguewide revenue to an all-time high of $4.3 billion, delivered a record television audience for its network partners and brought higher than anticipated gate revenue." Overall, the NBA "drew 21.3 million fans" this season, the "fifth-highest attendance in NBA history." Nineteen of 30 teams "saw an average attendance increase, compared with 13 teams last season." Leaguewide team sponsorship revenue "hit record levels, though league executives would not disclose specific figures." NBA Exec VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations Chris Granger: "Revenue generation hasn't been the problem; it is the cost of generating revenue that has been the issue." For example, Granger said that "many teams have added ticket sales and service staff while investing in more sophisticated marketing and digital efforts in an effort to drive revenue" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/18 issue).
LOSING ITS WAY? The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin notes the NBA was "boasting record TV audiences as it began the playoffs this past weekend," but there is a "palpable sense that, on the verge of an almost certain lockout of its players this fall, the NBA has lost its way." The "bruited Miami Heat merger of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh was something less than the artistic and promotional success it was hoped to be." Also, the "tarnishing of James's star, the aging of Kobe Bryant and the tacky Carmelo Anthony auction in midseason took much lustre off a league driven by its star names," and the "atrophying of the Boston Celtics and the ugly move of the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim ... also dimmed the glow in the wake of a nasty lockout" (GLOBE & MAIL, 4/18).