One potential solution to the revenue-sharing problem is to expand the season from 16 to 18 regular-season games, replacing two preseason exhibitions with the real thing. This would make the overall revenue pot larger, meaning owners could cut players' share of the revenue, yet players would not see a significant dip in pay.
But players chafe at the idea of having to play more without getting a raise. They argue that starters see far more playing time in regular season games, and that the intensity level is also much higher, increasing the risk of injury. Some owners have also privately shared worries about the risks to their primary investment, players.
"There's almost no downside to the fans, but I think there's a tremendous downside for the league and the union," says Mike Cramer, a sports-business expert at the University of Texas, Austin. "They're playing with fire by going to two more games."