For fans who like excitement rather than watching teams sleepwalk through the regular season, this past year in the NBA was a step in the right direction. While the season was only shortened because of a lockout and will go back to its normal 82-game length next year, many fans enjoyed having 16 less regular-season games. According to NBA commissioner David Stern, the league is going to at least explore the possibility of making the shorter season permanent.
“We’re going to certainly look at it and raise the issue with the owners,” Stern said during an interview with CBS Sports Network’s “Rome” Show. “The reason you don’t make it a shorter year is because of the infrastructure that’s been built. You have all of the buildings that have been selling an 82-game schedule. You have these local TV deals. You have these network TV deals. So, we’d have to negotiate with our players to take 20 percent less every year on the salaries that they’re getting. That is a problem.”
In other words, it’s not going to happen. Since the NBA’s TV ratings actually increased this year because a shorter season led to more drama and urgency, it’s possible the owners would agree to shortening the season to 66 games. Unless the owners could somehow find a way to funnel some of that money to the players, however, the players would never go for it.
The last thing the league wants is another labor dispute, so there’s not way this issue picks up any serious steam. There are simply too many variables between television deals, ticket and merchandise sales, concessions, and player salaries. Those of us who hate seeing star players miss a week with a hangnail will keep our fingers crossed, anyway.
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