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L.A. Lakers Prepare Refund Policy
Posted By Eric Pincus On September 30, 2011 @ 12:00 pm In All,NBA | No Comments
NBA Lockout talks will continue on Friday with hopes on both sides that by the end of the weekend a resolution can be reached.
There remains a sizable gulf between what the owners and players are looking for but the window for labor peace remains open, at least for a few days more. Much longer and the owners will start to cancel regular season games and/or the season.
Will basketball start on time with the only true casualty some (relatively) unimportant preseason exhibitions or will the deeper-pocketed owners try to bleed out the players whose paychecks would stop coming in mid-November (in most cases)?
Whatever the answer, the Los Angeles Lakers have taken precautions in case part or all of the season is cancelled.
“We appreciate your continued patience as the NBA and the NBA Players Association negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement,” reads a letter sent out to season ticket holders (who have already paid for their 2011-12 seats). “Since no agreement has been reached at this time, the league has postponed player training camps and canceled preseason games through October 15, 2011.”
“Let me assure you that all of the league’s efforts remain focused on reaching an agreement that is in the best interests of the fans, teams, players, and the game,” continues the notice, penned by Tim Harris, Senior Vice President of Business Operations. “The goal is to find a sustainable business model that enables all 30 teams to compete for a championship, fairly compensates players and ensures a world-class experience for fans.”
Harris goes on to detail “two options from which to choose, and both of them will reward your faith in and support of the Lakers with interest on your financial commitment.”
The first choice for season ticket holders is to let the Lakers hold onto all paid funds with “a 5% annual interest rate beginning on October 1st, 2011.”
That accrued interest would accumulate as account credits to be used toward “the NBA Playoffs or toward your 2012-13 season tickets.”
Credits would be accrued monthly based on each individual account’s balance.
The alternative is a refund from the team on “any missed games plus a 1% annual interest rate. Refunds will be issued monthly based on the number of games missed.”
Harris goes on to reassure season ticket holders, “the Lakers has developed this plan to ensure the most important person in the question, you, are completely protected.”
As one of the league’s clear profit-earners, the Lakers would clearly prefer for the season to start on time.
Owner Dr. Buss and the Lakers are expected to make a significantly larger revenue-sharing contribution once a new deal is ratified. The league hopes to get a big enough piece of the projected $4+ billion of basketball related income so that revenue sharing is only a supplemental solution but the Lakers will undoubtedly be a major factor in whatever sharing is set up.
Los Angeles also has a new local television deal with Time Warner Cable that starts for the 2012-13 season which is rumored to be roughly $150 million a year, a sizable hike from their previous deals with KCAL and Fox Sports West.
In the current deal, only national television revenue is shared.
UPDATE: According to a number of Los Angeles Clipper season ticket holders, the Clippers have offered the same refund plan as the Lakers, suggesting it may be a league-wide policy heading into what could be a lockout-shortened season.
Kobe to Lakers, Italy or China
Obviously Kobe Bryant will return to the Lakers once and if the lockout is resolved. If a sizable chunk is cancelled, look for Bryant to play in Italy . . . likely for Virtus Bologna who is reportedly offering $2.5-3.3 million for about 10 games (roughly a month).
Should the owners call of the season completely, China is Kobe’s more likely destination. The Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) has ruled that they cannot issue opt-outs for NBA players to return once the labor dispute is resolved.
Three Denver Nuggets (Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith and Wilson Chandler) will spend a year in China. All were free agents and technically they still may be able to return to the NBA for the playoffs once the season ends in China.
If the hurdle of a 2011/12 season is officially a non-factor, Bryant may get a more lucrative offer in the CBA then what Bologna can provide. Kobe has a massive, massive fan base in China, but he’s also partial to Italy where he spent many of his formative years while his father, Joe “Jelly Bean”, played overseas.
Naturally the Lakers and Bryant would both prefer to see him in purple and gold to start training camp in a matter of weeks.
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