All summer and autumn, the negotiations for a new NBA collective bargaining agreement were a matter of two contentious sides trying to emerge victorious. Now, with two weeks of regular season games cancelled, no matter what happens next, both sides have lost, lost miserably and the game of pro basketball might have to wait until the NEXT LeBron and Kobe and D-Wade and Superman, and Kevins Durant and Garnett and Steve Nash and Dirk and D-Rose all play in their primes simultaneously to regain the level of popularity it had in the 201-’11 season.
I haven’t run the numbers yet, but I will. Still it’s impossible for me to believe that more than 120 million dollars won’t be lost by losing two weeks of the regular season. It’s more than just the revenue from opening night across the league; it’s the credibility that has been squandered.
Sports are popular because they are visually mesmerizing and they speak to our inner competitiveness. They are also often emblematic of our times. With incomes sliding, and more and more people facing hardships and struggles that they couldn’t imagine and don’t deserve, the labor negotiations which pitted millionaires versus billionaires couldn’t find middle ground even when separated by a few percentage points.
Hardcore fans will be back, we always are, but the league’s success–any league’s success–is in captivating the casual fans. To millions of casual fans who tuned in last season, the league just announced itself to be a bunch of fatcats who don’t know how to compromise. Most of those fans will find better things to do with their time.