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Wednesday, June 22, 2005 

Labor Peace or Else

Yesterday's agreement between the NBA and the player's union, described by Comissioner David Stern as a "50-50 deal", may foreshadow the next NFL labor deal. For the NBA, avoiding a lockout was critical, for several reasons:
1. The last lockout was very costly to the NBA.
2. Like the NHL, the NBA has to be concerned about the number of fans who already dislike the game. A lockout would just rub salt in the wound.
3. With the NHL most likely coming back next season, an NBA lockout would have handed the NHL a golden opportunity to restore, and maybe even expand, their fan base. I'm sure the NBA benefited from the absence of hockey this past season.

For the NFL, there's great reluctance to change what isn't broken from the owner's point of view. In fact, the salary cap has enhanced parity and the league has never been more popular. An uncapped year would lead to chaos. But the costs of a lockout in the NFL, even a short one, could also be staggering. Each team only plays 8 regular season games at home, so even a brief two-week stoppage would represent a significant revenue hit.

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