NBA Lockout: Why it Affects Fans More Than Economy

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David Stern
The NBA's fans are the ones that will feel the sport's lockout the most, and even they should move on quickly.

Now that the NFL lockout is over and its free agency frenzy has slowed down, sports fans' attention has turned to the NBA lockout 

The NBA faces far more challenges to getting its season back on track though, especially if the acrimonious nature of discussions this week is any indication.

David Stern and the NBA Players Association have both dug their heels in preparation for a long, drawn out battle for a new collective bargaining agreement. Stern has said the NBAPA is negotiating in bad faith and has moved to block the union from decertifying. He has even gone as far as threatening to void all existing contracts, a move that is unlikely to gain him any supporters from the NBAPA camp.

One of the main disagreements between the two groups is the validity of the NBA's claims that 22 out of 30 NBA franchises are losing money. Stern and franchise owners claim the league is losing money left and right, while the union says the league is cooking the books.

As the league and union drag out their battle both stand to lose significant amounts of money. Players will not get paid their contracts and the franchise owners miss out on all of the income from actual games.

Similar to the NFL lockout, analysts have predicted that major companies stand to lose money if the entire season as lost. But while the league and players stand to lose money, major companies will not be negatively affected by a lost season, says one sports economist.

Instead, you, the fan, could be the only one losing in this scenario.

"Economically we won't even notice it," said Dennis Coates, professor of economics at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. "In terms of our daily lives, it's not a big deal. "

"(For) hardcore basketball fan this will be something that is missing and you will feel that emotionally, but for most people it won't affect their lives or their income. They will find something else to do."

Will the NBA's Biggest Endorsers See a Drop?

Some of the league's biggest sponsors are TMobile, Sprite, Gatorade, Adidas, among others. ESPN and TNT also pay major money to get the sport's television rights. But even with heavy investments in the sports, it won't make nearly as big of an impact on their bottom lines as a casual observer might expect.

On Sprite, official soda for NBA-"No possible impact. People are still going to drink soda."

On Adidas, jersey maker for NBA-"Market might be a little slower but I don't see them taking a major hit. That apparel line is just one piece of a large corporation."

On TNT, a NBA television rights holder- "I would assume they would take a loss in advertising dollars. They do get pretty good audiences and marketability on those broadcasts, but they still will have to show something so they will still get advertising. They will also have to pay less than they have to pay NBA for the rights to broadcast by showing something else."

Fans Will Find Alternative to NBA

So although the major companies might not feel the impact of a lost season, a true basketball fan will certainly miss the sport, especially with all of the excitement around the NBA finals this year. But the key, says Coates, is to just move on -- no matter what psychological impact the loss of NBA has on you.

"Just find something else to watch," Coates said. "Spend money doing those things. We won't even notice it.

"Some people will feel psychologically affected or emotionally affected but even that I think it will all pass."

 

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