NBA

NBA in court case over '70s TV deal

Share This Story

   
 

NEW YORK (AP)

The NBA asked a Manhattan judge on Thursday to side with the league in a legal battle with origins in the bygone era of short shorts, low-top sneakers and big Afros.

The dispute stems from a sweetheart deal that's enjoyed by the former owners of a defunct American Basketball Association team -- and despised by current owners of four NBA franchises.

It all began in 1970, when future legends like Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek and Bill Bradley filed an antitrust lawsuit challenging the NBA's then-proposed merger with the ABA.

As part of a settlement reached in 1976, the St. Louis Spirits of the ABA agreed to fold. In exchange, the NBA was required starting in 1980 to pay Spirits owners Ozzie and Dan Silna a portion of the television revenue earned by the four ABA teams that survived the merger: the Indiana Pacers, now Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs.

Because the four teams must share with the Silnas as long as the NBA exists, the brothers have quietly made a killing off league's explosion in popularity in recent decades -- by some estimates, around $240 million so far.

''Every year, when it came down to take a look at the budgeting process we would all just shake our heads,'' a former Nuggets executive once told the Los Angeles Times.

But the brothers have now called a technical foul: Last year, they asked the court to reopen the old antitrust case, claiming that the league has unfairly cut them out of revenue from international broadcasts and cable packages.

The judge who had originally presided over the case in federal court in Manhattan died last year. But a current judge, Loretta Preska, agreed to take a look.

bracket

BEST OF TIMES

Bird, Jordan and Magic are among our top 10 players in NBA history.

NBA lawyer Jeff Mishkin argued on Thursday that the revenue-sharing provision applied only to national broadcasts by traditional TV networks.

Mishkin said the agreement makes clear that, ''You get network television revenues -- and that's all you get.'' The NBA, he added, ''has never not met its obligation.''

The brothers' attorney, Michael Carroll, countered that wording in the settlement referring to revenue from ''all broadcasts'' should be interpreted to include more modern TV offerings like NBA League Pass, which allows viewers to see out-of-market games.

Preska told the parties she would review their court filings before making any ruling. In the meantime, she suggested they should try to find a way to share the wealth without one.

''I think you people ought to sit down and talk about this,'' she said.

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..