Don’t Look Now: The NFL Lockout Could Almost Be Over.

~  The longest labor dispute in NFL history may finally be reaching it’s conclusion. Reports have been growing in numbers that the lockout that is over 125 days and counting may soon be over. It’s safe to start talking about football again, here is what we now know….

 According to ESPN, the Owners and Players are working are working very hard towards reaching a deal that could eventually be voted on by the players on Wednesday July 20th, 2011 and then voted on by the owners on Thursday July 21st, 2011. If all lights are green, an announcement that the lockout is over could be made by Friday July 22nd, 2011.

 These are of course projected dates and bumps in the road can still come about that may push things back. The players (NFLPA) still have to reform their union that they took apart at the start of the lockout, if the sides want to bargain collectively.

 The deal that is reportedly on the table would assure the players of 46% – 48% of the leagues total revenues, which now exceed $9 billion per year. This of course was the main reason that led to the lockout. The deal would be a 10-year agreement.

 One potential major bump along the way is the pending lawsuit that the players have against the owners. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are big name plaintiffs in that lawsuit. Will they want compensation in return for dropping the lawsuit and help clear the path towards ending the lockout? That remains to be seen. Compensation could reportedly come in the form of a lifetime exemption from a franchise-player tag. That’s a pretty heavy form of compensation to put on the table.

 What matters most right now is that a deal is close to becoming a reality for the players, owners, and the fans.

 The NFL does not want to risk losing more money (revenue) heading into their pre-season schedule. It’s important to keep in mind as well that the regular season starts September 11th which will mark 10 years since the tragic events of 9/11. It’s logical to think the league would want to play their games on that day for the fans instead of dealing with any backlash over them still trying reach a deal over money.

 So the question that is asked every year around this time looks like its safe  …

 Are You Ready For Some Football??? … Stay Tuned!

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NBA > NJ Nets Deron Williams Could Play Overseas If Lockout Continues

 ~ The NBA lockout of 2011 is full of sub-plots that could eventually steer the league towards a conclusion sooner or much later than the players, owners, and fans anticipate. Recently the option for the players to take their talents overseas during this lockout has come to the front of the line. Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is reportedly very close to a deal to play in Turkey if a settlement has not been reached in the NBA Lockout by this fall.

 The option to go overseas to play should now begin to be looked as a serious threat now for both the owners and the union of the players. The possibility of this move could put pressure on the owners to reach a deal sooner than they want to. The league is already apparently losing major amounts of money as it is.

 As for the players, this could also work against them as well. It’s kind of hard to justify a united front at the bargaining table when some of the players are picking to go play (and get paid) elsewhere until it’s alright for them to resume making their money here.

 Williams isn’t the only player strongly considering the move. Kobe Bryant has been reported to be considering a similar move to play overseas.

This wouldn’t be a permanent relocation. Williams would almost certainly have a clause in his reported 1 year $5 million dollar contract to have an opt out as soon as the lockout ends.

 The risk Williams or any other NBA player would take with them is the chance of getting injured. Williams has guranteed money coming his way from New Jersey that would not be protected if he is injured overseas. In the case of Williams, he is headed into a potential contract year due to him being able to opt out of his deal in the summer of 2012. He’s also coming off a wrist injury that shut down his 2011 season.

 The bottom line out of all of this is that the players are looking to make sure they have cash flow coming in this fall in case the season does not start on time. At the end of the day, money talks. This could be the beginning of a whole new topic that impacts just how quickly this lockout finds a resolution.

The NBA Lockout: A Price To Play … At What Cost?

~ The NBA scene has taken a turn for the expected worst. The league offically is in a lockout phase as a result of the owners and players being unable to come to a mutual agreement on what matters most in professional sports, the money.

Paying attention to what’s been going on in the NFL with their lockout (currently over 100 days and counting), the writing is clearly on the wall for NBA fans to prepare themselves to be without basketball for a long time to come.

 It was optimistic to think that the NFL lockout would be over by summertime. Optimism only gets you so far in this world before reality takes over. In this case, optimism has me believing the NBA will start it’s new season on time in the fall. Reality is looking at me with one hell of a side-eye right now.

 The theme to lock in on is the same as with the NFL, there is money on the table that needs to be divided up a lot better than it has been lately. Small-market teams need to be able to compete financially with the big-market teams in order to keep pace on the basketball court.

 While the NFL team owners have been making money, the owners in the NBA are claiming major financial losses. Reportedly, 22 of the 30 teams in the league lost money this past season. As for the players, they want a bigger piece of the revenue pie. Clearly, the system that was in place is not beneficial to either side right now.

 The fans are only left to wonder now how long this will take to get resolved. That’s not what the NBA wants to happen following one of their most exciting seasons in recent history. One thing that is evident is that the NBA can’t continue to lose a reported $300 million dollars. As long as that is the case, the owners are going to draw just as hard a line in the sand as the players have. This is going to last awhile.

 The end result will eventually be a reality check paid to both sides as we get closer to the start of the season. The threat of lost games is a major card that’s played in negotiations. It does not get played until the very end in most scenarios. It’s like the Joker or Ace of Spades card that we hold onto until we absolutely have to play them to win a hand in a Spades card game.

 Eventually, both sides will be forced to play their cards. It’s either that or jeopardize the momentum that has pulled in fan support. The NBA is coming off a very strong season with captivating storylines. The longer this drags on, the greater the risk of alienating the fans. The fans that pay for tickets to their favorite NBA team’s games, purchases their favorite team’s merchandise, and logs on to their favorite team’s website.

This league is global now and it’s expected that every few years, money and entitlement is going to become an issue of division. However it’s also expected that with everyday spent fighting over that money, the growing fear of losing even more money changes optimism into reality.

 It’s not a matter of will we see the NBA season start on time, it’s at what price will see it start on time.

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