The current NBA TV deal pays the league $930 million annually. The new deal, starting with the 2016/17 season, will pay $2.67 billion annually. That’s close to treble the last deal. The overall value over 9 years is $24 billion.
That’s why LeBron James has only signed up for two years with the Cavs. That’s why people like Sam Amick aren’t exaggerating when they call it staggering. That’s why the Nuggets look extra smart for locking up Kenneth Faried for five years now. It’s why every single thing that’s new or different is getting analysed.
And it’s also why there’s almost a need for those of us afraid of another lockout to justifiably get our retaliation in first.
As pretty much everybody is pointing out. The last deal saw the owners cry poor, before record-setting franchise sales hammered home the idiocy of that already implausible stance. The current salary cap is set at $63 million. When everybody thought the new deal was going to be around $2 billion, the word was it would jump to around $80 million. This figure is a whole lot bigger and could move the cap as high as $91 million.
Stating the obvious, these are all staggering sums of money and there’s more than enough to keep everybody happy. Just like last time. We all remember what happened last time. I definitely do, I was in the early throes of chronic insomnia and the lockout really didn’t do me any favours.
To his credit, Adam Silver is aware that the last thing his tenure needs is a lockout within three years of it starting and is making the right noises. When Roger Goodell is sitting right there, why try to take the crown of most hated commissioner in sports? Or worse, if Goodell is gone, Silver might be right in the crosshairs. As it stands, the only thing he needs to do to keep people liking him is keep games happening. Okay, he’s up against Goodell, Gary Bettmann, and…Googles…oh Bud Selig hasn’t stepped down yet but it’s some guy called Rob Manfred (sorry Don Garber, you don’t get to join the party yet).
As Tom Ziller points out, the sum may be so big that the amount may stop another lockout. Everybody should get paid but that doesn’t mean everyone will. We’re here and wary because three of the four major sports in North America have been through labour battles since 2010 and baseball is about to have one too.
It really comes down to this. Greed is good but being rich and cool makes people want to hang out with you more. Come on NBA owners, do you really want to see the CBA get your stars for a month or two during a lockout…hmm you might but trust me it’s a terrible idea.
You’re rich, you just got richer, you may now build another pool to fill with money to swim in. Give the guys who help make you richer a fair cut. While you’re at it, formalise the D-League as a real minor league and pay them a living wage. You’ll find the money to do that in the spare wallet you keep in case you get mugged.