With the NFL's lockout this close to being resolved, it's probably time to turn our attention to the much less talked about, but more dire, NBA lockout.
Though the NBA lockout has slipped through the cracks thus far, in terms of what's at stake for players, owners and fans, the NBA's situation is a lot trickier.
Some of what's to follow is fact, while some is opinion. I fully expect Bleacher Report's NFL fans to bash this article.
I personally would be far more devastated if the NBA missed games this season. The New England Patriots consume me on Sundays, sure, but I'm invested in multiple teams and personalities in the NBA: The Boston Celtics. The soon-to-be-bandwagon-favorite Minnesota Timberwolves. The Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook saga. It's all at risk.
Most of my reasons for thinking this are basketball focused, not business focused. I won't pretend to know much about the finances. I'm an English major.
NBA executives say that 22 of the 30 NBA teams are losing money, which is unfathomable. The Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers all fill less than 80 percent of their arenas. The 20 percent of empty seats always happen to be the most expensive seats, so it looks worse on television.
The players will claim that only 10 or so teams are actually losing money and that the 22 figure comes from inflated finances. Either way, the NBA should not be losing money, especially after the 2010-11 season, because...
This past season was the best season I've ever seen. I've never watched so much non-Boston Celtic basketball, but found myself invested in at least five other teams for a variety of reasons.
I liked watching the Minnesota Timberwolves because of Kevin Love and Michael Beasley. I'll only like them more with Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams.
I liked watching Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook struggle for shots in the playoffs. I wonder if Durant will ever get as mean as he'll need to be to win a title with Westbrook?
I liked watching Blake Griffin.
I liked hate-watching the Miami Heat.
And the Golden State Warriors are always fun.
The point is, interest in the league was incredibly high for a number of reasons, while the NFL, by most accounts outside of Wisconsin, had another run-of-the-mill season.
For every game the lockout steals from the season, casual fans will turn against the NBA and its players for being unable to settle on millions of dollars of salary for the best job ever. This is especially true because...
I've seen it first hand. The TD Garden wasn't so loud when the Boston Celtics were winning 20 games a season with Wally Szczerbiak and Ricky Davis getting big minutes.
Add two Hall-of-Famers in Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and suddenly you have one of the most electric (or drunken) arenas in the league.
Fans won over by the stellar 2011 season could be lost just as easily as 2012 slips away.
The supply needs to meet the demand, which right now is very high. If the NBA skips a season, the marginal fans will flock elsewhere (hockey, eh?). This would be devastating because...
It's impossible to root against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Same goes with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Dallas Mavericks and Steve Nash.
This means that there are plenty of options for people in big cities without an NBA market (Seattle, Vancouver, Las Vegas) to root for. If I lived in Seattle, of course I could root for the Thunder, but, at the same time, nobody would question my new-found love for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Cocky. Arrogant. Front-runners. Your 2011-2012 Miami Heat only exist for you to hate if the lockout ends. And what fun would it be to not hate the Miami Heat for a season?
Find me a villain in the NFL.