As long as I'm already digging myself a hole, what the hell, let's keep digging! This post is in response to some of the comments in the 'Behind the Scene at DC' post questioning the possibility of a merger or assuming it's a dead issue or ought to be after the DC shens. I won't address what ought to be but I do want to shine a bit of light on the situation. As I have stated before the impetus for the merger is coming from outside either league and is being spearheaded from within the PBIndustry. The industry wants one league because they are incapable of acting cooperatively even in situations where they all might be best served if they could cooperate. Instead they are pushing the leagues to merge, regardless of outcome, to achieve a result they (the industry) can't accomplish themselves. (If there is only one league to support it will be cheaper than two and there won't be any room to maneuver for advantage by any of the industry players. At least in the short term.) That is the core of the merger effort.
It's rubbish but it's their rubbish. (For more on the subject check out 'Merger Counterfactual'.)
Frankly I'd be tempted to call their (industry's) bluff because somebody would break ranks and as soon as that happened they'd all fold--like they've always done before--but then I'm not the one risking the league 80% of the players play which makes it an easy call for me.
However there are impediments to a deal being done. (I suspect the conduct at DC wasn't helpful but also probably wasn't a deal-breaker either.) I have, in the past, alluded to a larger problem when it comes to the merger. (A problem beyond personalities and personal priorities and egos even. Who'd a thunk it, right?) I'm talking about the practical fact that there is no NPPL really. At least not the sort where you can review the ownership structure, the participating teams or individuals, the terms of their internal agreements, shared assets and liabilities, etc. There's a few teams and owners who have, or think they have, some claim on an ownership stake but there is no legal entity for the PSP to deal with. Which is going to make doing a deal a little tricky unless or until that "problem" is addressed.
But it could also be that there's a solution within the "problem." We know that the current NPPL board is split on the merger. (Those against it would either have no team as the majority of their players also play elsewhere or they couldn't afford it or be competitive.) And therein lies the beauty of the "problem." What if the PSP, instead of negotiating a merger, proposed, by invitation, to negotiate with a limited number of teams and owners--largely those already receptive to the idea--and simply ignored the rest? (As it stands now if there's no Bart Y. in the NPPL there's no NPPL. You gotta wonder how much Bart enjoyed getting screwed by his own league.) If there is no legal entity that identifies and gives substance to the NPPL there's no need to pretend there is and deal with the collective. Instead come to terms with the stable, substantive teams and owners and call it a day. Tell the industry if they can't say no to whatever scraps of the former NPPL are left over that's their problem and as far as the PSP is concerned they are the only legitimate national tournament series organization.
Next time, Format War.