Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NBA Owners vs Arena Owners

One subject I've touched on before is the bizarre unwillingness of the rich to take on the rich. There are exceptions of course.  Microsoft, and Netscape, and Apple, and Google seem to be suing each other all of the time over one thing or another (perhaps its specific to the software industry).  But other large firms never really seem to be willing to take on other large firms, even when their interests are diamterically opposed.  I bring this up in the context of the NBA lockout because its curious to me why we do not see any arena or stadium owners (or their employees, labor unions, etc.) suing NBA owners over lost revenues due to the owners' decision to lockout out the players.  Remember, there is a current NBA collective bargaining agreement in place. The NBA owners just decided they don't like it. As a result, they have preemptively decided to lockout the players from fulfilling their contracts (how owners can unilateral void agreements made between two parties without paying any financial compensation to the other party is beyond me - I mean, people who can't afford their home mortgage payments can't unilaterally void the mortgage contract.  Perhaps someone familiar with labor law can fill me in).  So why aren't the stadium owners suing the NBA owners for void of contract?  How come the owners of The Staples Center aren't suing Jerry Buss? There has to be millions and millions of dollars in lost ticket revenue and merchandise sales in each stadium alone. Plus, the uncertain nature of the current negotiations ensures that these venues cannot be leased for other events to replace this revenue (concerts, circus, etc.).  So why don't arena owners go after the NBA (barring the few cases where the NBA owners own the arenas)? It would seem to be a slam-dunk case. Yet, not a single stadium owner has taken such a step. Only the city of Memphis has even broached the idea of suing the Grizzlies over lost revenues. Why aren't more cities taking such steps?  Why isn't Bloomberg suing James Dolan?  Okay, well I know why.  But that sure as hell doesn't make it a good reason.  I thought the powerful 1% were greedy enough to care more about money than their personal relationships.  Can't I even count on that to increase social welfare? Does every aspect of this game need to be rigged?

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