2011 NBA Lockout: Public Relations Failure Report

Know about the NBA lockout 2011 report and the failures that were recorded by the teams in the NBA. Check out the details of the leagues.

Recent media coverage has revealed a growing trend among news organisations and media companies to give the audience in-depth coverage of sporting events, including scandals, disputes, and news updates. These crises are increasingly widespread, mainly when there are issues with drugs, money, sex, or violence. The coverage frequently focuses on on-the-field or legal concerns and direct conflict with stakeholders and personalities off the field. Such situations frequently result in serious reputational issues for sporting organisations, clubs, and other stakeholders (including players, club owners, fans, and the management).

The most frequent are fair play scandals because they garner the most media attention and involve athletes, clubs, or sports administrators who are frequently accused of rigging results. As recently seen in the Spanish Football League, where many clubs could not afford to pay their players adequately, clubs in numerous sports organisations have also encountered financial troubles.

National Basketball Association (NBA)


The National Basketball League (established in 1937) and the Basketball Association of America, two rival organisations, were combined to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), a professional basketball league, in the United States in 1949. Four teams from the American Basketball Association (ABA), which collapsed that year, were admitted into the NBA in 1976. It currently operates over seventeen franchises in various US cities. Since then, team additions, subtractions, and relocations have increased the total to thirty.

The Western and Eastern Conferences are divisions of the NBA league’s thirty teams. Four times during the season, each team must play every other team in its division. Each team will play six opponents from a different division within the same conference in the remaining 24 games. A team must play 12 games or three times each against the other four clubs in each of the two divisions. The total number of games played in this category is increased to thirty by requiring each team to play every other team twice.

NBA 2011 Strike

The NBA strike started on July 1, 2011, and it will continue until an agreement is reached between the NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). NBA players are protesting the league’s owners’ plans to cut their pay by nearly 40% and implement a hard wage ceiling of $45 million for each team, compared to the current soft cap of $58 million. The agreement between the NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association was set to expire on June 30, 2011. Thus, negotiations started early this year. The National Basketball Players Association, which represents the players, rejected the new numbers and suggested adjustments.

The union had complained to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in May of this year about the NBA, claiming that the basketball governing body was dishonest in their negotiations. The NBA disagreed, claiming their actions complied with the federal government’s labour rules. The players eventually agreed on a $500 million wage decrease that will be implemented gradually over the next five years. In contrast, the owners proposed a $2 billion reduction in pay over the following ten years. The NBA also proposed a $62 million flex cap, but the union rejected it because it would still result in a hard cap. By June 30, 2011, the two parties had still been unable to reach an agreement, which led to the lockout. Each side blamed the other for the deadlock.

On August 1, negotiations resumed, but to no avail. Even when the NBA filed a complaint alleging unfair labour practises against the union with the NLRB and a Federal District Court in New York, no agreement was reached during the ensuing negotiations, which took place on August 31 and September 13, respectively. Their main point of contention continues to be the salary cap system established by NBA owners. Even though the players promised to boost their salary cut offer if the NBA owners agreed to bend their hard cap stance, the owners have refused to give up their position.

Again, some owners believe that the players’ willingness to accept a pay cut is acceptable, but others insist that there must be a system that allows all clubs to compete favourably. This condition might result in the NBA league for the 2011–2012 season being cancelled, among other things.

Stakeholders Impacted by the NBA Lockout

The NBA’s principal participants include the players, owners/clubs, staff, union, and spectators. Other significant parties impacted by the lockout include USA Basketball and the International Basketball Federation.

Ineffectiveness of Public Relations Tactics

Since the owners have maintained their position, several players have realised that the NBA’s public pronouncements and assurances that the matter will be handled quickly are not sincere. As a result, more than 60 NBA players have signed with overseas teams and will compete in those leagues until the impasse is concluded. This suggests that their public relations efforts failed to persuade the International Basketball Federation that a solution would be found quickly, allowing on-contract players to relocate abroad temporarily.

Other athletes have chosen to compete in national exhibition tournaments or neighbourhood pick-up games. Due to the NBA’s inability to persuade critical players like FIBA, the international organisation decided to cancel their contract to collaborate on the 2012 Olympic Games. The NBA lockout in 2011 has changed from the one in 2005. Since neither party is ready to break their agreement, things could get worse before they get better. Public relations tactics used by both parties have failed to persuade interested parties that all is fine and that a deal is close to being achieved.

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