It’s common sense that the Denver Nuggets should be able to play in their own arena for a playoff game on the date and time that the NBA sets.
Unfortunately, in the case of the Nuggets spat with the WWE , it doesn’t make much legal sense.
As you’ve heard by now, World Wrestling Entertainment’s “Monday Night RAW” is scheduled to take place at the Pepsi Center in Denver on the night of May 25th, the same time the Nuggets are now scheduled to play the Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.
The NBA determined the time and venue when the Lakers beat the Rockets on Sunday night. The WWE says they signed the contract nine months ago.
Even though the Nuggets are the main tenant of the building and the team is owned by the same guy who owns the Pepsi Center, Stan Kroenke, the lawyers representing the venue did not take into account that the Nuggets could still be playing the playoffs when they signed the contract with the WWE.
We know this because there is no sort of remedy provision that says that in the case of a conflict, this, this or that will happen. The only clause that is in most of these contracts is a force majeure, which basically would say that the venue and its operator is not responsible for any losses in the event something, like a force of nature, occurs.
But knowing how late the NBA makes its final scheduling of games in the playoffs, the folks at the Pepsi Center should have put in specific provisions for this happening.
For those who don't realize how big the WWE is, let me give you some numbers. "RAW" is broadcast in 30 languages in 145 countries. The WWE uses 12 tractor trailers, 2 TV trucks, a generator truck, a satellite truck and seven tour buses to carry the equipment (as much as 110,000 pounds of cargo) and crew to weekly events.
This is obviously going to be resolved soon and I’m confident the Nuggets will be playing Game 4 on May 25th at the Pepsi Center. But that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to be a precedent setting moment as far as contracts with sports team venues go.
Many have confused the issue by showing how much publicity Vince McMahon and his cronies have milked this snag for. Yeah, we know, if it were Tuesday night instead, we're pretty sure that Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra (who the Pepsi Center has booked) wouldn't have put up the same kind of fight. But that doesn't take away the fact that Kroenke and the Pepsi Center are in the wrong here.
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