Should sports fans of another league expect a similar situation to the NFL’s current lockout? Experts appearing at the World Congress of Sports believe that all major sports leagues — other than baseball — are likely facing labor trouble, with some predicting that the NBA will be the first to be shortened by a work stoppage.
Howard Ganz, an attorney for the NBA, remains slightly more optimistic, stating “I think certainly a lockout is by no means inevitable. There is plenty of time left to reach a new agreement. The parties have been engaged in negotiations. … I’m sure there will be bargaining sessions scheduled shortly.”
Jeffrey Kessler also cautiously warns of the NFL’s current predicament stating, “One would hope basketball can learn from the lessons being provided right now from football. I don’t think there’s anybody on the player’s side that is looking forward to the prospect of the lockout.” While this is obviously true it does not seem unrealistic that when the current NBA labor deal expires on June 30th that a work stoppage could run into the 2011-2012 season.
While there are no current signs of trouble looming in the MLB, who are currently in the beginning stages of talks about their current CBA, the speculation is the NBA’s agreement will be similar to the NFL’s situation. MLB has remained a sort of labor peace throughout the past decade with their extremely structured and disciplined CBA. However, the NBA has many looming issues that could provide for a dangerous battleground for both sides. The NBA has stated that it expects a loss of a whopping $350 million this season, and commission Stern hopes to start redirecting that ship by reducing player salary expenditures by about $800 million annually.
While the outlook remains largely negative and contentious, some say there are reasons for optimism given the NHL’s situation. The NHL still has a good framework for labor peace and steady growth in a number of areas that seemed fairly uncertain not too long ago. “Attendance is up, a number of arenas play at or near 100 percent occupancy, and some revenue streams are producing like never before.”
Baseball union head Michael Weiner, also acknowledged the ironic positive position is sport is in, “Who would have thought 10 years ago, we’re up on this panel saying the model of consistency is Major League Baseball? And they are,” Leiweke said. “All the other leagues are in trouble. But Major League Baseball right now is the most stable sport out there because of labor negotiations. Pretty amazing.” One can only hope that the NBA and NFL take a good hard look at the MLB.