League to lay off about 80 amid economic slowdown, Stern says

Updated: October 13, 2008, 5:22 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- The NBA is eliminating about 80 jobs in the United States, the first major American sports league to announce layoffs because of the worldwide economic turmoil.

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Commissioner David Stern told The Associated Press last month the league would cut staff in anticipation of the downturn. He said Sunday the figure would be about 9 percent of the American work force, and the league confirmed the number of jobs the next day.

"We made the decision some months ago that the economy was going to be a bit wobbly so we began a belt-tightening," Stern said in London, where the New Jersey Nets beat the Miami Heat in a preseason game.

The NBA continues to hire in other countries, he said, as it seeks to grow internationally.

Stern emphasized that the league is still hitting its business targets.

"My guess is that by the time we tip off in a week or so, we will be down modestly in season tickets. ... We think we'll be up in revenue, but I just can't say for sure whether we'll be up or down in attendance because it's just so touch-and-go, because sports tickets are very much disposable income," he said. "So, we're not going to see a huge impact, but I dare say we will see some impact."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press