How realistic would it be to have a permanent contract agreement with an opt out for both sides?

Every few years one of the major sports get close to a lockout or strike, such as the ones that occurred most recently in the NBA and the NHL. Its because every time the Collective Bargaining Agreement is due to expire between the players and the owners, both sides wants more than they’re currently getting and they gnash and scream until the last minute. Inevitably, they all agree on a deal that expires in 5 to 10 years and the whole thing happens all over again.

How realistic would it be for both sides to agree with a permanent contract, one that cannot be changed except by the agreement of both sides, locking in the terms of that contract, that runs perpetually no matter the change in circumstances? In some years, owners may benefit, but other years might see the players do.

I understand that both sides want the flexibility to renegotiate to suit them, but only one winner can be had in any given contract; one side’s going to get less of what it wants than the other and both sides know that. So even if they all have supreme confidence in their negotiating skills, its all a matter of timing, skill, public perception, and other things that cannot be controlled. Why would they want to go through that every few years? Shouldn’t the threat of such a thing scare enough of them into wanting to avoid it permanently?

If that do that, they can avoid the fan unrest and bad publicity that comes with every single contract negotiation. Players look bad, owners look bad, the league looks like its a mess. People who work for them get shafted, stadiums sit empty, and ratings go down. Granted, they’ve always rebounded, but it usually takes a long time, long enough for the current CBA to expire again. The benefits to avoiding all that can be easily counted in dollars and it is not insignificant. Do both sides really think that over the long run, such disruption is not harmful and end up making them both a little bit poorer?

I think a contract whose terms cannot be changed would be good for the long term stability of the league. There would pretty much never be a disruption in play. For things that one side wants, they can offer to give up something in order to get it. None of this lockout/strike crap if the deal doesn’t get done because under this format, if the deal doesn’t get done, it defaults back to the current contract and no disruption in play would happen. In fact, negotiations could leave the public sphere entirely, just float requested changes in the contract to the other side, see what their response is, and make the deal if its to both your liking. What’s the downside?

[QUOTEPlayers look bad, owners look bad, the league looks like its a mess. People who work for them get shafted, stadiums sit empty, and ratings go down. Granted, they’ve always rebounded, but it usually takes a long time, long enough for the current CBA to expire again. ]


Pretty much NONE of that is true. Concessionaire’s and custodians who work at the stadiums aren’t employed or paid by the teams or team owner. Coaches and office employees continue to get paid by the owner. And if you have a guaranteed contract as occurs in mlb and the NBA the player must be paid, that payment simply gets delayed so the players may want to think twice and cut back their outings to the strip club to make it rain $45,000 in singles on the stage to say, 3 nights a week instead of 5 and cut back on their pot orders from the local druggies.

As for that last sentence quoted, that’s an out and out lie pure and simple. Granted the recent NFL lockout ended in the preseason and there were ZERO empty seats opening day. There were ZERO fans chanting that the owners and players were rich scumbags…well aside from the usual drunken oiks screaming racial slurs for 3 hours every Sunday during the NFL season.

Fans simply because they are fans and morons have no memory, they just want to see the goddamn games.

Now then as to your overall premise, no. It’s a stupid idea because it is based on the premise that the players and owners and agents and union reps are all decent human beings who all act above board at all times.

This is bullshit.

EVERYBODY in EVERY sport cheats. EVERYBODY tries to gain an unfair advantage. To think otherwise is laughably naive. If such a stupid agreement as you propose were put into place the owners would immediately set out and ultimately be successful in opening up new revenue streams that would benefit them and them alone and the players would be screwed because according to you, the labor agreement can’t be changed.

And in fact, the labor agreement exists pretty much for the players benefit, not the owners, in fact they would love your proposal because it would allow them to vastly underpay players without taking inflation into account. Not that inflation really matters when talking about millions of dollars per year, but you get the idea.

I say zero, for one simple reason; what happens when one side finds a loophole in the deal? The other side is powerless to change it.

DING DING DING! We have a winner.

The reason we don’t have a permanent contract is that one side or the other always comes up with shenanigans that are outside the scope of the current contract. Or the business changes with the times, and the current contract doesn’t cover it. Or something else changes.

I would harbor a guess that MOST businesses change their contracts at similar timeframes, we just don’t make a huge deal when negotiations fall through.

First of all, are there any examples of loopholes in past CBA’s that were patched up only after that existing CBA expired?

Loopholes I can think of would be the expansion of media to online and digital formats. However, that need not benefit only one side. I disagree that such a loophole could exist that only one side would benefit. If such a thing is not covered by the existing contract, then both players and owners can exploit it. Kobe Bryant can sell his own digital media stuff online without giving the team a cut, but the team can do the same. One side may exploit it better than the other, but that chance is even to both. Any new revenue streams would be beneficial to both sides

As for inflation, I think its not unreasonable to think that if there was a permanent CBA, they would take inflation or a similar variable into account for increasing salary/revenue sharing.

It’s not about loopholes so much as it is about unforeseen consequences and changing business conditions: not inflation, but changes in the economics of the business. For example revenue in some baseball markets is going crazy because of local TV deals. As a result, some teams can more or less ignore the salary cap while other teams don’t have that kind of opportunity because they play in small markets (or, like the Braves and Nationals, are locked into shitty deals). I’m not sure anyone saw that coming when the current CBA was signed.

Naming rights to stadiums don’t benefit the players in any way, so you are wrong about revenue streams being beneficial to both sides, unless of course the union rep is smart enough to say that a % of money from naming rights must be given to players, which is no sure thing.

As for what you think is and isn’t unreasonable, whatever.:rolleyes: The baseball owners fucked the players and the union in their butthole for decades, even after free agency hell the owners colluded successfully on 3 separate occasions to hold players salaries down, they were only found out and ‘punished’ years later. The commissioner KNEW about it and did nothing to stop them.

Keep in mind that while the stadiums and/or arenas do lose some revenue, most of them still function as all-purpose venues, for concerts and the like. Granted, the economy here in Pittsburgh did suffer from the lockout and a lot of local businesses were hit pretty hard. But to to say that the stadiums just stand empty isn’t true. The people who work there have their hours cut, obviously, but they’re still working.

(In fact, the old Civic Arena wasn’t even intended as a sports venue when it was first built, but a concert hall. The Penguins didn’t even exist at the time)

NBA/NHL arenas aside the majority of them are empty when there aren’t sporting events being played. And as far as concerts go, they aren’t as frequent as you are implying. Now there are exceptions like the rodeo which causes the Spurs to undertake the longest road trip in the NBA every year, but aside from one or two concerts and the semi occasional monster truck motorcross nonsense MLB and NFL stadiums are empty outside of games 98% of the year.

Depends on the city. I doubt Madison Square Garden is going to be hurting for business, for example. Here in Pittsburgh, we get a lot of concerts and conventions. And as I pointed out, the old Civic Arena wasn’t even built as a sports venue, but a concert hall (in that case, the Civic Light Opera). That’s where the Beatles played when they came to Pittsburgh, the Doors put out a live album recorded there, etc.
(It was also the first arena to feature a retractable roof)

I didn’t say the arena employees weren’t hurt by the lockouts. But where I come from, it was the businesses surrounding the arena (the restaurants, bars, hotels, etc) that were really hit the most. Not everyone can afford to go to some of these games, so they go to local bars to watch. Or if they are going to the game, they’ll stop in to grab something before or after the game. The hotels, where people are coming in from out of town. It’s more than just those who work directly with the industry.

If you think I’m defending lockouts, I’m not. (I was pissed off, big time) Just correcting a misconception.