/Why recent big-money deals in sports can't be sustained

Why recent big-money deals in sports can't be sustained

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A look at which NBA players have signed new contracts during this year’s free agency period.
USA TODAY Sports

Get those cartoonish contracts while you can, because the clock is ticking.

While even run-of-the-mill NBA free agents figure out how to spend their new largesse — $23 million for J.J. Redick, really? — and the NFL divvies up $7.8 billion among its 32 teams, it’s nothing but bad news for the TV partners that make those ridiculous numbers possible. The cord cutting is accelerating, not slowing, and live TV viewing is dropping.

Which means that the bubble beneath the massive player contracts is bound to pop. It might even explode.

“I do see a significant correction coming,” Michael Leeds, a sports economist who chairs the economics department at Temple, said Thursday.

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“With the cord cutting and all of the chaos at ESPN, I think that there’s every reason to believe that we’re seeing a major change, a sea change,” Leeds said. “And the (leagues) … could be in for major changes the next time things come around.”

For decades, ESPN,…

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