NBA lockout: NBA Fanifesto Website Launched For Disenchanted NBA Fans

LA Times reports — Now 144 days into the NBA lockout, it remains difficult looking for any encouraging signs.

That’s why three-year Indiana Pacers ticket holder Evan Massey recently launched NBA Fanifesto, which includes more than 1,400 fan signatures threatening a boycott should both sides fail to start the 2011-2012 season by Christmas Day. Massey, who declined to reveal his profession and age, talked to The Times about his recent role as the site’s fan outreach coordinator.

On fan feedback

A lot of fans specifically reached out asking if there will be a group effort to boycott the NBA. Some have talked about sending letters to owners and player reps and standing outside of NBA arenas with signs. I don’t know if we’ll go that far, but fans definitely plan on stopping buying NBA products. We don’t think it will make a huge difference, but letting the fans speak their minds to people and giving them some pressure will make them realize the toll it’s taking on the fans.

When you do think these proceedings will significantly hurt the league’s fan base?

That point will come in January if they don’t reach a deal. That means there likely won’t be a season. They will lose the majority of their fans. They’ve had more support the last couple of seasons, but they’re not near the top. The NFL is way above them. I believe 30% of hard core fans and 45% of the casual fans will leave.

On the players and owners

I understand a little bit on both sides. The owners are entitled to a 50-50 split, which the players were against in the negotiations. I don’t see what’s wrong with it myself. The owners are signing the paychecks. As for the players, I understand they want to the system issues tweaked. They both have good points, but neither of them want to talk about them and change their opinion.

If there will be a season

We’ll lose a season. I don’t see the two sides agreeing unless the courts force them. After all this time, I don’t see them losing their demands. They’re entrenched with what they want. After they lose a season and all that money and see what it’s done to their fan support, they’re going to be forced to make a deal. I could see right after the season getting canceled that they go to the bargaining tables and get the lockout done before next year’s draft.

On if he’ll really cancel his Pacers season tickets

If there’s a season, I’l buy some tickets. But if they lose a season, I’ll have second thoughts. If you have a 50- or 60-game season, you’re willing to forgive. If they do that again, there won’t be much damage. But they have to hurry up. –Mark Medina

Will We Have a Basketball Season? NBA Lockout: Steps To Make A Deal

My thought, is just agree on the damn 50/50 split in basketball related income. More money is being lost, with cancelled games because the two parties CANNOT come to an agreement. It seems that the OWNERS are more unified than the PLAYERS themselves (a lot of sidebar conversations, going on). It has come down to greed, but what is more upsetting is all of the people that are out of jobs (outside of the NBA players) whom are suffering from this NBA LOCKOUT. So far all games for November have been cancelled.

1. Stop the in-fighting. I’m not in a position to assess the accuracy regarding the report from Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock that says NBA Players Assn. President Derek Fisher made a side deal with NBA Commissioner David Stern to accept a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. Nor am I going to try parsing the statements made from Fisher, players union executive director Billy Hunter and Stern. But the mere fact that these stories emerged indicates there’s a split within the players union.

Peep these tweets from various NBA players, about the lockout & how the 66th NBA season still remains at a standstill. TWEET TWEET

Fisher acknowledged to me weeks ago that it’s harder to keep the players union more unified than the owners since he can’t levy fans and has more constituents in players and agents to please. But the  union’s inability at least to make it appear they are on the same page hurts their cause for a CBA in their favor because the owners know more and more they can cause the union to crack even more.

2. Both sides need to be willing to compromise on basketball-related income. As the New York Times’ Howard Beck recently noted, both sides are actually near a deal, but remain $100 million apart mostly because of their disagreement on how to split $4 billion in revenue. The players union made concessions starting from 57% to 53% to 52.5%, all the way to 52%, and Hunter refused to lower that number in Friday’s meeting. Meanwhile, the owners have offered a 50-50 split three separate times, but the players union hasn’t budged. Each BRI percentage point, as Sports Illustrated’s Sam Amick notes, is worth $40 million for each season. Considering the both sides stand combine to lose about $800 million due to canceled games through November, it’s simply illogical neither side is going to budge.

3. Iron out a few system issues.  That proved to be the union’s strategy last week when it devoted two days of avoiding talk about how to split up BRI. Amick reported both sides agreed on player contract length (shortened six to five years) and an amnesty clause (each team can waive one player under contract for CBA’s duration). But there’s still some unresolved issues. The league is reportedly proposing annual increases of 5.5% for Bird players and 3.5% for non-Bird players, while the NBAPA wants increases of 7.5% and 6%, respectively. Both sides disagree on whether to have early termination and sign-and-trade options. And lastly, the NBA wants a 10-year CBA with an option to terminate after the seventh year, while the players union want that option after the sixth and eighth year. Should any side make consessions on these issues, it might be easier to further bridge the BRI gap.

Update NBA Lockout: Owners, Players Focus On Fixing System Issues

LA Times reports — The fatigue wore on their faces, but it hardly masked their enthusiasm.

NBA Commissioner David Stern smiled as he struggled recalling what day it was after wrapping up a 15-hour negotiating meeting early Thursday morning.

NBA Players Assn. executive director Billy Hunter smiled as he joked that players union vice president Maurice Evans should answer questions for him.

NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver smiled when Stern needled him for “allowing all hell to break loose” when he missed last week’s contentious meeting because of flu symptoms.

National Basketball Players Assn. President Derek Fisher smiled when he acknowledged what he called a “slim” possibility both sides could salvage a full, albeit delayed 82-game season should they reach a deal by this weekend.

The reason for such a sudden mood change less than a week after talks broke off points to one simple reason: After reaching a stalemate on how to divide the basketball-related income, both sides instead talked about system issues. Neither side would quantify the exact progress. Stern still acknowledged the likelihood the league will scrap the games played in the last two weeks of the season. And he said, “There’s no deal on anything, unless there’s a deal on everything.” 

But the talks proved at least productive enough for another meeting to take place in New York at 2 p.m. EDT, with some optimism that Thursday’s meeting will bring both sides closer to a deal.

That a 15-hour-long meeting resulting in only undefined progress on system issues would bear such optimism surely reflects on slowly the lockout has proceeded. But it also shows owners and players recognize that they were better served focusing on that area rather than on the basketball-related income.

After all, that issue caused last week’s talks to end abruptly. The players union dropped their percentage from 53% to 52.5%, and even considered a bandwidth between 50%-53% depending on how much revenue the league accumulates. But Silver and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt accused the players union of refusing to continue discussions unless they met their basketball-related income demands. Likewise, Hunter and Fisher accused the owners refusing to budge on a 50-50 split.

“If we had any hope of trying to recapture the lost games, we had to get back in and talk,” Hunter told reporters. “So we parked the [basketball-related income] and talked about the system.”

It’s possible meetings will go sour as soon as both sides return to that issue. But for now, the strategy shift at least has ensured more meetings, more agreements and more possibilities of brokering a deal.

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