No Basketball Is Bad for City, Says Bloomberg

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The NBA season will be at least 100 games short this season as owners and players continue labor negotiations. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that's bad news for the economy and the city's budget in a "sports-crazy town" like New York City.

Bloomber said NBA Commission David Stern's canceling the first two weeks of the basketball season is a lose-lose for everyone. "It's not good for the economy, and it's also not good, you know... New York's a sports crazy town and the Knicks provide lots of excitement," he said. "Some years they're good, some years they're bad. But, you know, you want 'em to be here. You want 'em to play."

Owners and players are apart on several issues, including the salary cap system.

Stern said the sides are "very far apart on virtually all issues...We just have a gulf that separates us."

He added, "With every day that goes by, I think we need to look at further reductions in what's left of the season."

Bloomberg said that will hurt a lot of New Yorkers who earn a living through the sport, as well as the city."When those basketball players play in New York, they pay that percentage of their salary, you know, they pay tax on it," Bloomberg said.

Based on last year's average announced attendance leaguewide (just over 17,300 per game) and the average ticket cost last season, those now-canceled 100 games represent nearly $83 million in lost ticket sales —  and that's before the first concession or souvenir is sold or the first car pays to park.

Union president Derek Fisher emphasizing that missing any games does put the season in jeopardy, but he also stressed this was a lockout, not a strike, and that it was the owners' decision not to be playing basketball.

No formal talks between the two sides have been scheduled.

This is the NBA's first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.

With the Associated Press