NBA Contraction or Expansion? How about both.

Earlier this week, David Stern was talking about the new labor agreement that he was thinking of for the NBA.  He discussed the potential of cutting player salaries by about one-third, quite a large chunk of change.  In discussing this, he also said that this was the starting point, and there is the need to negotiate between the owners and players to come to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) before the next season.  Though he avoided the subject, Mr. Stern did discuss the potential of contraction for the NBA, citing that there were some markets that no matter what the franchises do, can not sell enough tickets to finance their operations.  This would give the indication that the NBA may indeed be too big, or possibly that franchises are not in cities which are truly ideal for them.  In the days following these remarks, Stern sort of dodged any more questions about contraction, a word that fans always seem to get anxious about.  We have had discussion of contraction in Major League Baseball, and actual contract in Major League Soccer which turned out to be quite successful for the league, and allowed it to re-expand into other markets that were more inclined to come to soccer matches.

So many were surprised when David Stern discussed expanding the NBA to Europe.  That’s right, not only does Stern seem like the idea of teams playing in Europe, he seems to want a whole division of teams in Europe.  Stern states:

“I think we’ll have a division and I think the Heat will play in Boston one night and then they’ll go to Paris and spend a couple days on the Champs Elysses shopping and relaxing,” Stern said.

“And then they’ll go and play five teams. And when they finish that, they’ll play them again. Then they’ll come home, having had a nice trip to Europe and they’ll be finished with their European obligations.”

So the question is, how far into the future.  Again we turn back to Mr. Stern’s words:

“And now what I’m saying is, ‘It’s inevitable, it’ll happen in 10 years.’ But in terms of globalization, we’re going to see a desire for franchises in Europe – and in about 10 years, you’ll send me a postcard.”

So mark your calendars folks, David Stern is saying we will have NBA teams in Europe in ten years… Maybe he can move some of those teams whose aren’t doing so well financially overseas for a few years to see how well they fare there.  It would be interesting to see an international version of the NBA at some level.  While soccer does have Champions League in Europe which is spread through many different countries, I’d be curious to see how a sport league would do having teams placed on different continents.  The travel time and away time from home would seem to be a negative, and probably quite costly.

On a final note, it is possible that if the NBA and NFL do not both get their new CBA’s negotiated, that there would be no NFL or NBA next season.  I’m sure the NHL, MLB, and NCAA wouldn’t mind this.




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