NBA lockout: Hawks employees hoping to avoid cuts

Impending new Hawks owner Alex Meruelo won't have a game to watch for a while. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

Impending new Hawks owner Alex Meruelo won't have a game to watch for a while. (Johnny Crawford/AJC)

While NBA players launch their moronic “Let Us Play” campaign on Twitter, it’s safe to say they won’t have to worry about their next rent or mortgage payment for a while.

Maybe they should try selling peanuts at Philips Arena.

The NBA has canceled the first two weeks of the regular season. So far, there’s no massive hysteria among the fan base. No surprise.

But here’s something to think about: While owners and players engage in a high-level, thumb-twiddling war, a lot of regular people with regular jobs are about to lose a significant part of their income.

Front office employees of the Hawks have yet to hear from either impending new owner Alex Meruelo or impending lame duck majority owners from the Atlanta Spirit about whether there will be a payroll reduction — be it in the form of layoffs, furloughs or salary cuts. But at the very least, about 300-plus game-day employees — concessionaires, ushers, ticket-takers, stat crew members, security, etc. — are out of jobs. Restaurants at CNN Center and around Philips Arena already took a hit when the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg.

This lockout will last as long as it takes for players to cave. The owners created this mess by giving out stupid contracts. But the economics of this league can’t support the current CBA and the players need to realize that. Until then, regular people with regular jobs will take the hit.

When the NFL locked out out the players during collective bargaining talks), Falcons owner Arthur Blank instituted mandatory two-week furloughs (although he reimbursed workers after a new CBA was reached).

The Hawks were scheduled to play their first exhibition Monday night at Philips against the Detroit Pistons. The last time there was a NBA work stoppage in 1998-99, the league played a 50-game season, which began Feb. 5.

To the credit of Hawks’ ownership at the time (Turner/Time Warner) and then team president Stan Kasten, the Hawks did not have any front office layoffs or salary cuts during that lockout. There are no such guarantees this time.

By Jeff Schultz

64 comments Add your comment

Chandler Going Deep..

October 11th, 2011
11:30 am

1st! Again….

Chandler Going Deep..

October 11th, 2011
11:31 am

Billy Hunter said the owners may lockout for a year or two…

With the economy the way it is? Not a good idea..

Jeff Schultz

October 11th, 2011
11:38 am

Chandler — Don’t pay attention to anything Billy Hunter, David Stern or anybody says right now. It’s all negotiating rhetoric meant for public consumption.

Matt from MN

October 11th, 2011
11:40 am

God, I want this lockout to really hit the ASG hard!! I sincerely hope that each and every one of them is forced into bankruptcy. While I feel for people working for the Hawks, I just can’t get over my deep seated anger at the ASG for selling the Thrashers.

PMC

October 11th, 2011
11:42 am

Why not just sell the team to Halifax and save all the money during the lockout?

These are the worst owners in all of sports and they “HOPE” to avoid cuts really?

Good luck folks

PMC

October 11th, 2011
11:43 am

I don’t think players start getting injured by the lockout until November, I don’t expect any negociation until that period. They probably don’t get anything real done until next year.

PMC

October 11th, 2011
11:44 am

Which member of the ASG will cry on the air this time?

Hawkeye

October 11th, 2011
11:47 am

Hawks
Who are the Hawks? i thought they went to Canada…Didn’t the ASG sell them off somewhere….Who the crap cares? When they do come back…we will still have OVERPAID JJ , a very very limited bench, and no cap room for new talent. i say lets bypass this season completely …void all contracts and start over.

phillips arena vendor

October 11th, 2011
11:48 am

What is gonna be playing at the arena? The circus?

WitStream

October 11th, 2011
12:04 pm

By the same token there are myriad examples of people whose profits will rise due to redirected disposable income thanks to the lockout. Try that angle next time?

Bill

October 11th, 2011
12:17 pm

I know the ASG is a lousy ownership group. They deserve to go in the tank thanks to mismanagement.

The owners made this bed. They expect us to change and wash the sheets? No thanks.

Jamaaliver

October 11th, 2011
12:28 pm

Not the way Alex Meruelo wants to introduce himself to his new employees, cutting their pay/salary because of a dispute between millionaires.

Heath

October 11th, 2011
12:35 pm

I’m not a fan of the sport, but the economics of it never made any sense to me in the first place. If a MLB team has the attendance of even the best NBA teams, the media uses it as an example of how baseball is a game of the past and cities won’t support it. And can you even imagine an NFL team crowing about 20,000 people per game? I mean the Arena League used to draw more than the NBA at the turnstiles.

Hawkeye

October 11th, 2011
12:43 pm

phillips arena vendor

What is gonna be playing at the arena? The circus?

No…the NBA is on strike…..the circus will not be there…the clowns want all the money

PMC

October 11th, 2011
1:01 pm

Don’t worry, Widespread Panic will play every single night for the next year.

Trojan

October 11th, 2011
1:15 pm

I hate “lockouts” and I hate strikes. No one accepts individual responsibility any more.

The NBA should be careful. With college and pro football, the NBA may be forgotten.

Weather Channel Expert

October 11th, 2011
1:18 pm

LOL for the players and ASG. Thrashers lost 5-1 the other day…let’s see how long the Winnipeg fans support that terrible product.

BL

October 11th, 2011
1:24 pm

If the lockout takes out the whole season does that take a year off of player’s current contracts? Basically…..is it one less year the Hawks have to waste money on Joe Johnson?

C dog

October 11th, 2011
1:26 pm

The Hawks are not going anywhere. They have a long-term contract with the city and Philips arena guaranteeing their stay here. Get over it.

Why do people keep talking about ASG? Its all about LPL = La Pizza Loca era. The new ownership will get approved once this mess has settled. ASG is dead (they only own a little stake in the Hawks/Philips and that stake will be zero in a few years).

big cat newnan dawg

October 11th, 2011
1:29 pm

At one time I enjoyed b-ball. The days of Magic and Bird are long gone, and all we are left with is a bunch of young cry babies!!! Really? We are fighting battles around the world and Americans’ are losing their lives. People are unemployed, and those owners and players think they mwtter?? Who cares?? I hope they never come back!! Let’s all BOYCOTT the NBA when they come back

Weather Channel Expert

October 11th, 2011
1:30 pm

Until ASG owns 0% please do not support the Hawks and Philips arena.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 11th, 2011
1:42 pm

“Thrashers lost 5-1 the other day…let’s see how long the Winnipeg fans support that terrible product.”

Do they have any other choice? What else is there to do in Winnipeg?

UGA Insider

October 11th, 2011
2:10 pm

Widespread Panic is playing in Charlotte this NYE. That’s the real bummer for Phillips.

Claire Brown

October 11th, 2011
2:13 pm

Thank you Jeff. for writing about the people who work hard at their NBA jobs evryday, the connsessionairs and their employees, the restaurants and the wait staff and cooks and dishwashers near the arenas. They are the ones whose jobs are in danger of being eliminated.

Crazy Pizza Lady

October 11th, 2011
2:14 pm

Players r stoopid. I hope they wise up quickly. Life is short.

Stat Man

October 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

You had me until adding “stat crew members”.

I was a “stat crew member” for the Hawks for 10 years and I can honestly say, nobody on the stat crew will miss a meal because the miss their NBA checks (after paying for gas, I think the current guys take home about $ an hour).

On another note – starting in the first week of January when there is nothing in the sports section to report on besides college hoops for a 3 month stretch until baseball – it will be interesting to see what you AJC folks will come up with!

JSS

October 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

The Panic!!! How the players stupid, that is the Golden Chasis, only a fool would give that up!

Poor Hawks employees, reduced to 66% of their pay if they are lucky.. Heaven forbid they have to go on unemployment in GA! Then they’ll have to listen to that 2nd rate pizza man tell them it is their fault! And that ain’t politics, it is an observation!

cpsman_atlanta

October 11th, 2011
2:34 pm

ASG and Mayor Reed, the biggest morons in Atlanta right now. How could you let the one team that actually put butts in the seats and had a bigger overall following around the metro area, and you knew that this lockout was going to happen? Have you ever been to Hawks games? Less people there most nights than the Thrashers. While ASG is headed out the door, don’t re-elect this mayor, who is out of touch. How’s he going to explain to the 400+ part time employees that you jobs aren’t available this winter?

steven A.

October 11th, 2011
3:00 pm

From a public relations standpoint, the players will lose the public opinion battle. However, a blind man
could see that

steven A.

October 11th, 2011
3:03 pm

Cont’d from last post….the blind can see that guys like JOE “FRANCHISE” JOHNSON could never play up to the level of his contract and furthermore did not deserve it with his “Dow Jonesy” type of play.

Hawkeye

October 11th, 2011
3:33 pm

Good news

Georgia Tech will play some of their home games at Phillips this years….should put 5000 in the seats…which is the actual number that attended the Hawks games, not the made up announced crowd to make the sponsors happy. Always amazed me …the arena over half empty yet the announced crowd of 14000 people….

Bluestreak

October 11th, 2011
3:54 pm

For the vendors and others, I hope these idiot millionares wake up and agree to a deal tomorrow.

For the players and the owners, I hope Billy Hunter was serious and David Stern is dumb enough to lock them out for 2 years. The owners were stupid for giving out crazy amounts of money in contacts to players that were not worth the money. You can’t blame the players for taking the money, but they need to realize the league is about the fans.

When the NBA comes back if the lockout is an extended one, they need to all realize how lucky they are to play for their job and give the fans their due. Just showing up to play basketball and make more money than they are worth is what has made the NBA less than what it was in the Jordan/Bird/Magic/Nique years.

PMC

October 11th, 2011
4:13 pm

Henceforth the NBA lockout shall be refered too as the Joe Johnson Bailout.

club level

October 11th, 2011
4:29 pm

The Hawks and Johnson’s A$$ is the very reason for this mess………….

Hank

October 11th, 2011
4:30 pm

BL, I believe if there is a full lockout, players will lose that year on their contract. So yes, it would be one less year we would have Joe for. Also, I believe all this years free agents plus those who’d be available next year would all still be available.
http://www.zooatlanta.org/home/article_content/jazzoo

Hank

October 11th, 2011
4:31 pm

Sorry, wrong webpage. Here’s a good Q&A site about the lockout.
http://www.nba.com/news/lockout-faqs/index.html

club level

October 11th, 2011
4:31 pm

The hawks and johnson’s A$$ are the very reason for this mess……….

(STILL) 2-10 Against Ranked Teams

October 11th, 2011
4:32 pm

……yawn!!! I will KEEP MY WORD that as long as the ASG have ANYTHING to do with the Hawks team, I will NEVER set foot in Philips Arena again….

thanks for selling off the Thrashers you a$$holes!!!!

Freewheelin' Franklin

October 11th, 2011
5:00 pm

Tough gig today Jeff. Writing about the Hawks & the NBA is like writing about two mules wrestling over a turnip, who cares?

Who Cares

October 11th, 2011
5:00 pm

The NBA season shouldn’t even begin until after the NFL playoffs. Make the season start Feb 1 and run through May 31st. Then cut back the players paychecks accordingly.

bulldogsteve

October 11th, 2011
5:01 pm

I wonder how many agents told their underclassmen clients that this was going to happen? No sympathy from me for any players that left college early to the NBA. I hope they all went home to live with Mamma.

jon

October 11th, 2011
5:02 pm

you posted this at 11:00 or so and you have 30 comments… you know what that means NOBODY CARES ABOUT THE NBA RIGHT NOW! JUST SAYIN!

Who Cares

October 11th, 2011
5:04 pm

I’d rather pay $10 and watch a semi pro team play at the Gwinnett Arena. The player’s salaries need to be cut dramatically and the savings passed on to the fans. Cheaper tickets and cheaper beer and popcorn.

Najeh Davenpoop

October 11th, 2011
5:41 pm

“The NBA season shouldn’t even begin until after the NFL playoffs.”

I kinda agree. Not that the season should only last three months like you said, but that the NBA is foolish to compete with the NFL. They should start the season on MLK day and end it in August before the NFL starts. Competing with the MLB would make so much more sense for them.

“The player’s salaries need to be cut dramatically and the savings passed on to the fans. ”

Good luck getting owners to pass savings on to the fans.

slyyy

October 11th, 2011
5:53 pm

I think it is totally proposterous that idiots like JJ and Jsmoove make millions of dollars for nothing while you would consider laying off a person that makes a fraction of that.

Dr. Warren

October 11th, 2011
5:59 pm

The Hawks new owner looks awfully sweaty. Only natural when one has just bought into the scintillating Atlanta sports market, I guess.

Paddy

October 11th, 2011
6:22 pm

Trojan….the NBA has already been forgotten. It happened years ago. Fan base went elsewhere and is not coming back.

When former Ga Tech PG Anderson said, “fans have no idea how expensive it is for just the insurance on my 8 cars”, he depicted the mind set of the NBA player. That statement alone, made it easy for fans to walk away from the NBA game. There are 1000 more comments just like that if you have the stomach to look them up!

Paddy

October 11th, 2011
6:28 pm

slyyy….. What fan in any sport is going to pay to see front office and arena workers play intramurals. At least have an idea of the history of sports and its contract negotiations before making such a stupid comment. There is no job in sports without the players. What planet do you live on?

bill

October 11th, 2011
6:30 pm

Truly do hate that they employees are being affected by this mess, they deserve better based on their loyalty to the Hawks. As for the NBA and this strike, WHO CARES…a bunch of overpaid thugs, who can’t play the real game. No defense to be found, just a bunch of so-called personalities. Cancel it forever and it won’t be missed…

Had enough

October 11th, 2011
6:47 pm

WHO CARES!!! It’s time all these prima donna’s get a wake up call…the general public is SICK of their fat paychecks and entitlement; those who are good guys will continue to be good guys, but a look at the news let’s us know that we’re placing our “hero worship” in the wrong direction!!!! With more and more crap coming from these “professional” athletes, their days are numbered anyway…