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Final NBA revenue numbers in from last season

Jul 22, 2011, 8:35 PM EDT

NBA & NBA Players Association Announce New CBA Getty Images

It’s all about the Basketball Related Income (BRI) number.

The entire lockout is really about the BRI — length of contracts, hard or soft salary cap, guaranteed deals, revenue sharing are all secondary issues. What matters most is how much pie everyone gets, how you divide it up after that matters less.

So we know what numbers we are talking about, here are the BRI figures from last season, just released by the league Friday.

BRI increased by 4.8% from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11. Total player compensation also increased by 4.8% from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11.

Player salaries going up is not a coincidence. The last CBA (which was considered a huge win for the owners when it was formed) tied player compensation to the BRI, with the players getting 57 percent of it. So, when league revenue went up, the players got more. Out of each NBA paycheck eight percent is held out and put in an escrow account by the league, then a portion of that money is returned to bring the players to 57 percent of the BRI. This year the players got their full eight percent returned plus a little extra to get to the 57 percent figure.

The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million. Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16%.

Nice spin by the league, but as we said, how much the players earned was tied directly to how much the league made, so if player salaries went up….

When the big wigs from the owners and players start talking again next month, look for talks about how the BRI will be divided. When they are close on that, everything else will fall into place.

But the two sides are nowhere near each other on the BRI split right now.

  1. bigtrav425 - Jul 22, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    i personally think this BRI is a bunch of BS made up by someone.Iv never heard about it EVER until a few weeks ago..id bet it was made up by a players agent because it sounds like it favors the players….i believe that the NBA owners lost money just by looking at all he below average-average players making to much money then they should i.e Anderson Varejo from the Cavs

  2. thetooloftools - Jul 23, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    This NBA lockout is not going to go away soon.
    Bosh and James walking on max deals to “play together” and win “not two, not three not four or five” rings
    is really messing up any leverage the players may have thought they had where money is concerned because those two sent the word out that “it’s not about the money”.
    Well, if it’s not about the money fella’s, what’s the problem?

    • secdominance - Jul 23, 2011 at 4:24 PM

      Congrats on being the first person to blame LeBron for this. The players aren’t asking for more money, the owners are asking for more money. No one is forcing them to give the Joe Johnson’s of the world max deals, but somehow its just keeps happening. If you want to blame someone, blame Mark Cuban. His free spending has driven up costs.

      • northjoe - Jul 23, 2011 at 6:07 PM

        Bad deals like Joe Johnson don’t matter. Teams are tied to 57% of revenue. If the total spent is less than 57%, then a bonus is paid to the players. Cuban has nothing to do with it. The league agreed to a bad deal the last time around.

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