NBA labor talks break off


The possibility of a lost season for the National Basketball Association is increasing as the teams and the players ended three days of talks with a mediator without an agreement, and without even a time and place to meet again.

According to the Associated Press, the two sides haven’t come to terms on how to split league revenues. The players are said to have offered a sliding scale proposal that would pay them between 50%-53% depending; the owners are said to have countered with proposal for a 50%-50% split and adjustments to the salary cap that the players wanted. But the players said they would not accept 50-50 without agreements elsewhere, and the owners won’t talk about other issues without a 50-50 agreement.

Are the sides at all close? Here’s a clue: The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service is bailing on the talks for now. FMCS’s George H. Cohen (pictured)  said, “As a follow up to the NBA’s and NBA Players Association agreeing to my invitation to conduct negotiations under the auspices of the FMCS, three days of mediation have taken place. During this period, a wide variety of issues were addressed in a professional, thoughtful manner, consistent with what one would expect to take place in a constructive collective bargaining setting. Regrettably, however, the parties have not achieved an overall agreement, nor have they been able to resolve the strongly held, competing positions that separated them on core issues.”

He said there was no purpose in continuing at the moment, but offered to come back on the mutual request of the owners and players.

RBR-TVBR observation: It’s hard to put a price tag on goodwill, but it’s important enough that we see it listed as an intangible asset in broadcast stations sales all the time. The NBA built up very strong goodwill assets last season – it’s a shame to see them trash it now, at who knows what cost?