The gaming industry may have taken a serious blow yesterday when the NBA officially locked out its players. We had hoped it wouldn’t happen, but now that hope is lost.
Coming off one of the most exciting and most watched NBA seasons in over a decade, the NBA now risks losing its momentum with fans with the lockout. Prior to the lockout, everything NBA related was booming. The NBA was recording record numbers in television viewers, internet hits and the NBA Draft, though among the weakest in recent years, received some of the highest ratings for an NBA Draft in the past fifteen years.
What should be troubling to NBA fans and bettors is that the differences between the players and the owners are significant and could mean this lockout lasts much longer that the NFL’s, which needless to say was messy from the very beginning.
ESPN’s Tom Penn, who has the experience of working with all 30 teams in the league, told Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornhesier on the sports show “PTI” that he’d put the odds of the season being canceled at as high as 75 percent. Charles Barkley has openly stated he wouldn’t blink an eye if the entire season was cancelled.
Thirteen years ago in 1998-99, the NBA went down this same path and the entire season came within 24 hours of being cancelled, this time the differences are more glaring. The two sides differ on almost everything from player salaries, to the owners wanting a hard cap and the removal of guaranteed contracts. The league says 22 of 30 are operating in the negative and many owners claim that it will cost them less to shut down their arenas than to host games.
To put it quite plainly, it doesn’t look good.
Sportsbooks might as well squeeze out as much as they can from the NBA now with an offering on how long the NBA Lockout will last.