Revenue sharing was a big part of this summer’s Collective Bargaining Agreement talks, but the most secretive part. The owners wanted it to be something separate from the CBA itself, the players wanted it included, but what was going to be included was vague.
Even when the deal was finalized and the lockout lifted, the details of revenue sharing were not finalized and unclear. But now they are starting to come into focus. In part due to a story in the Sports Business Daily on Tuesday (hat tip to IamaGM).
Looks like the NBA is going with a “pool” system for revenue sharing, something that is dramatically different in both style and amount than it was in the last labor deal.
Sources said that the core of the plan calls for all teams to contribute an annually fixed percentage, roughly 50 percent, of their total annual revenue, minus certain expenses such as arena operating costs, into a revenue sharing pool.
Each team then receives an allocation equal to the league’s average team payroll for that season from the revenue pool. If a team’s contribution to the pool is less than the league’s average team payroll, then that team is a revenue recipient. Teams that contribute an amount that exceeds the average team salary fund the revenue given to receiving teams.
So, what does that really mean? Well, if you’re a small market team it means a lot of money.
For example, one high-revenue team could contribute 50 percent of its total revenue, minus certain expenses, for a total of $70 million put into the pool. A low-revenue team could contribute total revenue of $45 million. After allocating to both teams the average team payroll of $58 million, the low-revenue team would receive $13 million in revenue sharing to make up the difference between its pooled revenue from the league’s average payroll. The high-revenue team would be contributing $12 million to be distributed among receiving teams, adding financial balance between the markets.
Remember we are talking about the local revenue — money from ticket sales, concessions, parking and local television deals — not the national television deal revenue which is already split evenly between the teams.
There are caps on the percentage of revenue so that the big market teams — Lakers, Knicks, Celtics — get to keep a good percentage of their money. Jeanie Buss of the big-revenue Lakers toes the company line in the SBJ article. Of course, they have so much money coming in starting next year from their new local television deal this isn’t fazing them. At all.