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?