David Stern

The National Basketball Association has scuttled the first two weeks of the regular season as part of its dispute with the players union, and the impact on television programming and the league finances is huge.

As Reuters reports, TNT, ESPN and ABC collectively shell out about $930 million to broadcast NBA games, while earning some $1.25 billion ad revenue — and that doesn't even include regional sports-cable channels.

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NBA Commissioner David Stern told The Associated Press that both sides are "very far apart on virtually all issues. ... We just have a gulf that separates us.

"With every day that goes by, I think we need to look at further reductions in what's left of the season," he added.

Contact continues between both sides, but no formal talks are scheduled.

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Union President Derek Fisher emphasized this was a lockout, not a strike, noting it was the owners' decision not to be playing basketball.

In June, the decisive game of the NBA finals -- in which Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat and schadenfreude poster boy LeBron James — averaged 21.07 million viewers on ABC, according to preliminary Nielsen figures. That was a whopping 59 percent higher than with last year's Game 6.