28 November 2011

Owners Win Basketball Strike

The NBA strike/lockout is over after 149 days. This year's season will have 66 rather than 82 games, with the strike costing each side about $400 million. Over the next ten years, players will give up about $300 million a year in salaries, reducing their take from 57% to 50% of the take. The total pie is about $4 billion a year. There are other minor details.

This has strong echos of the larger economy, where the top 0.1% are seeing their incomes grow much faster than the rest of the top 1%. Even united in a union, the players had less bargaining power than the owners.

Odds are that most of the NBA players will go bankrupt within a few years of retiring, and an NBA career is not a long one. The owners in contrast, are much more likely to hold onto the money that they make.

People who study such things say skill matters more in basketball than almost any other professional sport. The difference between a great basketball player and a very good one is greater, for example, than the difference between a great baseball player and a very good one. This doesn't bode well for football players, who have a somewhat lower skill component, play fewer games, and have careers that are similarly short and has players similarly prone to bankruptcy within a few years after they stop playing.

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