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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, and NHL revenues.

Why is the NHL the most dysfunctional league in pro sports?

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Old
11-06-2012, 12:05 AM
  #51
Disgruntled Observer
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MLB, NFL, and NBA are all sports that have long established fanbases over all of the USA/Canada.
The NHL is dramatically less popular usa wide, and is trying desperately to grow the sport in non traditional markets.

Of those four, which one makes the most sense to share less of the pie with the players? The ones with established fanbases? Or the one trying to grow?

The painfully obvious answer the NHL.

The last lockout saw the players unwilling sign a CBA that gave them 57% of revenue (currently higher than any other sport north america).
You get that? The nlh players (from the least popular league of the big four, in a sport that is trying to grow) stayed locked out for an entire year to avoid signing a cba that had them taking the highest % of any NA professional sport.

Now the players refuse to sign a CBA because they want to continue taking the highest % of revenue than any other sport in NA. For a sport that's trying to grow.

The players are the problem.

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11-06-2012, 12:13 AM
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disgruntled Observer View Post
MLB, NFL, and NBA are all sports that have long established fanbases over all of the USA/Canada.
The NHL is dramatically less popular usa wide, and is trying desperately to grow the sport in non traditional markets.

Of those four, which one makes the most sense to share less of the pie with the players? The ones with established fanbases? Or the one trying to grow?

The painfully obvious answer the NHL.

The last lockout saw the players unwilling sign a CBA that gave them 57% of revenue (currently higher than any other sport north america).You get that? The nlh players (from the least popular league of the big four, in a sport that is trying to grow) stayed locked out for an entire year to avoid signing a cba that had them taking the highest % of any NA professional sport.
Now the players refuse to sign a CBA because they want to continue taking the highest % of revenue than any other sport in NA. For a sport that's trying to grow.

The players are the problem.
makes no sense



OWNERS are the problems

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11-06-2012, 12:17 AM
  #53
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Originally Posted by cbcwpg View Post
1- No trust by the players. The players in the NHL were being screwed over by the ownership for as long as anyone old enough can remember. The mistrust has always been there. The players just don't believe the numbers the owners are giving them.
Do the players believe their $2.45m avg salaries? More than NFL players make?

...and football players do not have guaranteed contracts.

Do they belive their 300 - 600% salary increases since the last lockout?

Today's players know nothing about Eagleson or "bad owners," they've had no real conflict. All they know is the big fat paycheck they get, then Fehr tells them that they're getting screwed.

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11-06-2012, 12:20 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Ringmaster316 View Post
makes no sense



OWNERS are the problems
I'm saying that in the last cba, the players stayed locked out for an entire year to avoid taking the highest % of revenue of all NA professional sports.
They then, at the end of the lockout and after missing a season, reluctantly signed the 57% cba.

In other words, they were so offendd at only taking the highest % of revenue (that's not good enough for them), that they lost an entire season fighting it, before finally accepting it.

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11-06-2012, 12:22 AM
  #55
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Originally Posted by whskybarJM View Post
because you have a wannabe napoleonic rat as the comish
because you have too many egotistic owners with a terrible fanbase
Because you have too many people in charge who think they should be the # 2 sport in the country
Because you have too many people in charge who value the causal fan majority over the people who actually love the sport
wow! so the NHLPA gets away squeaky clean after all of this??

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11-06-2012, 01:01 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by MoreOrr View Post
I really don't see the NHL as being particularly dysfunctional any more than many other leagues. I think the OP's thinking here is just a case of internal criticism, criticism by us as fans of the League that we primarily follow. The NHL has it's issues, there's no doubt, but these issues have manifested in virtually all leagues at point or another, albeit to varying degrees.

The problem the League has is fairly basic, IMO... There is extreme economic disparity (likely also exists to some degree in most professional leagues), and the League has catered too much to the higher economic end, paying out salaries that are simply too high for at least half of the League to afford. Perhaps the owners have finally come to the realization that the economic structure they've had in place is just costly; but they're expecting a bit too much, too quickly, for the players to willingly take salary reductions in contracts that they negotiated at higher levels. For many owners, the economic adjustments need to be done with urgency, but they need to find some way to be slightly accommodating to the players if they expect the players to be at all willing to accommodate to them. The owners have to take their share of the responsibility for the economic problems that the last CBA caused them.
that may very well be the single most contributing factor. but, as you said, this likely exists in most leagues. yet, some how, all the other leagues have managed to field the product every single year.

there is a uniqueness about NHL hockey that has brought about the need and, indeed, the acceptance of lengthy work stoppages. there is no other serious sports league that would gas an entire season for 200 millions dollars. they would find a way; they would compromise and even sacrifice. for some reason, and i don't think any of us truly understand why (i know i don't), these words are not part of the vocabulary of any of the major stakeholders.

could it be because, in the last 30 years, hockey has become an expensive sport and the players, on average are from well-to-do families compared to other sports? Hockey is not a third world, ghetto sport. Perhaps the east block players are not from money, but the NA and Scandinavian players are from the southwest side of town. they are from wealthy subburbs.

NHLers just seem to expect more than the other pro athletes.


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11-06-2012, 01:29 AM
  #57
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Originally Posted by Butch 19 View Post
wow! so the NHLPA gets away squeaky clean after all of this??
The PA's leadership has changed. The players have changed. But Bettman's a constant. Jacobs is a constant. Snider is a constant.

So 6 or 7 years from now when there's another lockout, and there's someone else in charge of the PA, and many of the players playing now have moved on but Bettman, Snider and Jacobs are still leading the charge, maybe then people will see the picture for what it is.

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11-06-2012, 01:49 AM
  #58
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Quite simply, the NHL BoG more resembles an old boys club than a group of forward thinking businesspeople.

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11-06-2012, 02:27 AM
  #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyfan2k11
Because the owners, bettman and the players are delusional. They believe the league is up there with the NBA and MLB when it's nothing more than a fringe sport at best. It is on a lower tier than the other 3 leagues. However, the players feel they deserve more of the pie than the players in the more stable, wealthier leagues. The PA is a huge problem. They're dumb.
This is 100 percent correct.

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11-06-2012, 05:36 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by Gnashville View Post
Fans blaming other fans in markets they don't and not the greedy owners/players. How dysfunctional is that to blame someone else that loves the sport and his/her team as much as you?
I dont blame the fans you do have, just the ones you dont have.

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11-06-2012, 06:12 AM
  #61
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I hope fans prove me wrong, but I haven't heard of mass cancellations of season tickets yet, so I'm doubting we'll see that change if this goes on a few more months either. And the fans certainly aren't responsible for the systematic problems in the league's structure and administration, but they are for not giving any incentive to the league to try to avoid future lockouts after the last one. If the NHL returns much in the same was as they did after the previous lockout, there will be another lockout when the new CBA expires, just you watch.
If you ask me it doesnt make sense for them to just bank on fan loyalty (which is a big maybe anyways)

They arent holding out because they want more money from the fans. Quite the opposite, they are losing a ridiculous amount of money every day. Theyre merely grappling over the money that is available.

It doesnt make sense to intentionally shut your business down every few years (even if your customers are extremely loyal) just to have your personnel fight over how to divide the pie. Ultimately youre only going to lose money, so its bad for business as far as I can tell. To me it would make more sense to make a deal both sides can agree to over the long term.


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11-06-2012, 07:23 AM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hockeyfan2k11 View Post
Because the owners, bettman and the players are delusional. They believe the league is up there with the NBA and MLB when it's nothing more than a fringe sport at best. It is on a lower tier than the other 3 leagues. However, the players feel they deserve more of the pie than the players in the more stable, wealthier leagues. The PA is a huge problem. They're dumb.
The league (NHL) really is up there with the NBA. There isn't that much of a gulf between the two leagues. The NBA has revenues about 15% higher. Let's not exaggerate here, that's pretty close. And the NBA isn't exactly the model league if you're looking for "stable" and "wealthy". They've had far more basketcase franchises than the NHL recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Butch 19 View Post
Do the players believe their $2.45m avg salaries? More than NFL players make?

...and football players do not have guaranteed contracts.

Do they belive their 300 - 600% salary increases since the last lockout?
I'm gonna have to call BS on this. I'm sure there's a few guys out there who make $6 million now who used to make $1 million in 2004 but if that's what you're basing your comment on, that's just plain nutty.

Best estimates of the last season before the lockout, players got about 70% of $2.1 billion, or $1,470,000,000. Last season they got $1,883,000,000. That's an increase of 28%, not 300 to 600%.

NFL footbal players do not have guaranteed contracts, this is true. However they usually have signing bonus money that is guaranteed, at least the good ones do. NHL players really only have 1/2 or 2/3 of their contracts guaranteed, depending on age and experience. They can be bought out. The guaranteed-vs-non-guaranteed contracts thing here between the NHL and NFL does exist, but it is wildly exaggerated quite often on these boards.

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11-06-2012, 07:31 AM
  #63
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The NHL has lost more man-games to labour strife than all other pro sports leagues combined, worldwide, in all history!!!! It is a completely disfunctional league; the valley that currently separates the two parties would (likely) be already bridged by every other league.

Why? can we point to why this league is so adversarily and hostile? Does it go back to Campbell and Smythe? Or Eagleson? Or is it just a factor of expansion creating such a league imbalance, combined with Bettman's easily dislikable personality? Some have suggested it is the 'fight to the death' mentality ingrained in hockey players. Is it the owners antics, like Philaldelphia and Minnesota? Is it the players, who seem to think they are comparable to MLB, and the NBA? Is it a league-wide mentality that is obsessed with dollars and cents and has no regard whatsoever for the integrity of the league? None of the stakeholders seem to be aware or care that they are a laughingstock.

I can't imagine that NHL owners and pioneers are any different from those of other leagues. Pro sport history is littered with examples of rich guys exploiting the talents of wide-eyed, naive farmboys (with is what most early pro athletes were). And the billionaires in other leagues throw money around just as wildly.

If the current labour dispute is resolved this week, hands up those who believe the NHL's labour problems are gone? Is there any reason to believe there will not be a shortened or lost season in 5 to 10 years?

I don't know if there is any one reason, but the NHL is the most disfuntional league in the world, AINEC!!!!

WHY?
Years of Mis-Trust because of the Eagleson situation and the owners mis-stating revenue as recently as 1994.

Granted, they did open their books in 2005, and while that is a nice start, it doesn't completely wipe out the previous issues.

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11-06-2012, 07:45 AM
  #64
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To me, it is the fact that the NHL’s business model does not lend itself to league wide parity. Simply, given the lack of a large enough centralized revenue stream, a confrontational attitude will always be the result, in Owner vs. Owner situations, as well as Owner vs. Union negotiations.

The goal of league wide parity in expenses (at least player expenses) without enough league wide parity in revenue will consistently create labour strife. The owners will always point to the fact that certain teams are not making enough/any $$ to be viable without a cut in player expenses. Conversely, players will always be able to point to the fact that certain teams can afford much more in player expenses, and still remain very profitable.

Owners of “rich” teams will always be against increased revenue sharing, as they want to keep their businesses as profitable as possible. Therefore, for the “poor” teams to remain profitable, they’ll need to demand concessions from the players. Wash, rinse, repeat.

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11-06-2012, 07:51 AM
  #65
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Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
To me, it is the fact that the NHL’s business model does not lend itself to league wide parity. Simply, given the lack of a large enough centralized revenue stream, a confrontational attitude will always be the result, in Owner vs. Owner situations, as well as Owner vs. Union negotiations.

The goal of league wide parity in expenses (at least player expenses) without enough league wide parity in revenue will consistently create labour strife. The owners will always point to the fact that certain teams are not making enough/any $$ to be viable without a cut in player expenses. Conversely, players will always be able to point to the fact that certain teams can afford much more in player expenses, and still remain very profitable.

Owners of “rich” teams will always be against increased revenue sharing, as they want to keep their businesses as profitable as possible. Therefore, for the “poor” teams to remain profitable, they’ll need to demand concessions from the players. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This post is a complete homerun.

Until the issue of revenue disparity is addressed, the league will continue to lockout the players, CBA after CBA.

3 for 3 currently.

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11-06-2012, 08:22 AM
  #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustE View Post
that may very well be the single most contributing factor. but, as you said, this likely exists in most leagues. yet, some how, all the other leagues have managed to field the product every single year.

there is a uniqueness about NHL hockey that has brought about the need and, indeed, the acceptance of lengthy work stoppages. there is no other serious sports league that would gas an entire season for 200 millions dollars. they would find a way; they would compromise and even sacrifice. for some reason, and i don't think any of us truly understand why (i know i don't), these words are not part of the vocabulary of any of the major stakeholders.

could it be because, in the last 30 years, hockey has become an expensive sport and the players, on average are from well-to-do families compared to other sports? Hockey is not a third world, ghetto sport. Perhaps the east block players are not from money, but the NA and Scandinavian players are from the southwest side of town. they are from wealthy subburbs.

NHLers just seem to expect more than the other pro athletes.
If that is the central point in question here, then we should be asking, Why is this League more likely to have these lengthy work-stoppages than any other? If one sought a place to point the finger, one idea could be an intense anamosity that has possibly developed between the players and the League. But the players have to deal with the owners on a somewhat regular basis, and we rarely see signs of such an anamosity. Could it be then a hate for how Bettman runs the show? I don't know. But the ultimate picture we still see is a fight over $, and NHL players truly have been getting into the area of getting paid more than what the economic ability of most of the teams in this league is. That is the immediate problem at hand.

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11-06-2012, 09:11 AM
  #67
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Simple. Because it and its employees want to act like they're a major sport in america when their revenues and market share say otherwise.

All the problems, most notably the union wanting compensated like other major NA sports when the NHL generates much less revenue, stem from that point.

The NHL is quickly becoming the redheaded step-child of American sports. Mostly at the hands of its union and fehr.


To anyone who wants to point to fehrs work on baseball as a good thing, keep this in mind. Ratings have been in steady decline for 5 years nationally and this was the least watched world series ever. The effects of Don fehrs system that allows everyone to make money on revenue sharing but kills competition in baseball are finally being realized. The product has been so damaged and so few teams are relevant that no one outside a few major cities even care. A system that allows owners to make money without having to be competitive sounds great to the union but its terrible long-term for the integrity of the sport.

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11-06-2012, 09:20 AM
  #68
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Originally Posted by Disgruntled Observer View Post
I'm saying that in the last cba, the players stayed locked out for an entire year to avoid taking the highest % of revenue of all NA professional sports.
They then, at the end of the lockout and after missing a season, reluctantly signed the 57% cba.

In other words, they were so offendd at only taking the highest % of revenue (that's not good enough for them), that they lost an entire season fighting it, before finally accepting it.
If you are going to rant and rave at least get your facts correct. The CBA did not give 57% of revenues to the players unless said revenues grew considerably, which they did.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
To me, it is the fact that the NHL’s business model does not lend itself to league wide parity. Simply, given the lack of a large enough centralized revenue stream, a confrontational attitude will always be the result, in Owner vs. Owner situations, as well as Owner vs. Union negotiations.

The goal of league wide parity in expenses (at least player expenses) without enough league wide parity in revenue will consistently create labour strife. The owners will always point to the fact that certain teams are not making enough/any $$ to be viable without a cut in player expenses. Conversely, players will always be able to point to the fact that certain teams can afford much more in player expenses, and still remain very profitable.

Owners of “rich” teams will always be against increased revenue sharing, as they want to keep their businesses as profitable as possible. Therefore, for the “poor” teams to remain profitable, they’ll need to demand concessions from the players. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This is probably the single post in this thread that does the best job of condensing the issues into a short, neat package. The problems stem from a combination of asymmetry in the generation of revenue and total expenses paid on that revenue. One part of this solution is reducing the share that goes to the players (which will happen), but the other part they don't seem willing to touch is to give up the pretense that the NHL can have NFL-style parity, and reduce the cap floor considerably.

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11-06-2012, 09:45 AM
  #69
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Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
To me, it is the fact that the NHL’s business model does not lend itself to league wide parity. Simply, given the lack of a large enough centralized revenue stream, a confrontational attitude will always be the result, in Owner vs. Owner situations, as well as Owner vs. Union negotiations.

The goal of league wide parity in expenses (at least player expenses) without enough league wide parity in revenue will consistently create labour strife. The owners will always point to the fact that certain teams are not making enough/any $$ to be viable without a cut in player expenses. Conversely, players will always be able to point to the fact that certain teams can afford much more in player expenses, and still remain very profitable.

Owners of “rich” teams will always be against increased revenue sharing, as they want to keep their businesses as profitable as possible. Therefore, for the “poor” teams to remain profitable, they’ll need to demand concessions from the players. Wash, rinse, repeat.
100% this. The NHL is just putting a bandage on the wound. We're gonna be in the same situation 8 years from now.

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Originally Posted by sina220 View Post
Simple. Because it and its employees want to act like they're a major sport in america when their revenues and market share say otherwise.

All the problems, most notably the union wanting compensated like other major NA sports when the NHL generates much less revenue, stem from that point.
The players change, the NHLPA leader changes. The one thing that remains is Bettman, and his Puppet Masters.

Keep blaming the greedy players who sign their own contracts though.

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11-06-2012, 09:46 AM
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So many good posts on this thread. We can try to deny it but the NHL will for the foreseeable future remain the weak sister among major sports in the U.S. One can argue the NHL isn't even in the top
6 or 7 down south.

Barring a major TV contract there is little the league can do to help the struggling teams unless significant revenue sharing takes place. I'm guessing 300M minimum.

Aside from being big markets... many teams in the North East benefit from saving a bundle on travel costs. I'd love to see what the travel/hotel costs are between the Rangers and Dallas. Geography shouldn't be a factor in permitting one team to benefit over another.

A mechanism should be put in place so that every team has equal (or as close as possible) travel expenses. Perhaps revenue sharing already alleviates that to some degree but I'm not sure.

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11-06-2012, 09:47 AM
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I really hate when people suggest that the players made 57% o HRR over the course of the last CBA...

The reality is they only made that in the final yr of the CBA.

People (especially Mr. Fehr) tend to ignore/forget that they started at 54% in yr one.

Owners, being shortsighted, did not think revenues would grow at the rate it did...

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11-06-2012, 09:48 AM
  #72
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So many good posts on this thread. We can try to deny it but the NHL will for the foreseeable future remain the weak sister among major sports in the U.S. One can argue the NHL isn't even in the top
6 or 7 down south.

Barring a major TV contract there is little the league can do to help the struggling teams unless significant revenue sharing takes place. I'm guessing 300M minimum.

Aside from being big markets... many teams in the North East benefit from saving a bundle on travel costs. I'd love to see what the travel/hotel costs are between the Rangers and Dallas. Geography shouldn't be a factor in permitting one team to benefit over another.

A mechanism should be put in place so that every team has equal (or as close as possible) travel expenses. Perhaps revenue sharing already alleviates that to some degree but I'm not sure.
You want to compare... compare Vancouvers' travel costs to the Rangers. And not only the costs, but the effect of all those miles on the players.

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11-06-2012, 10:20 AM
  #73
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Originally Posted by JaymzB View Post
To me, it is the fact that the NHL’s business model does not lend itself to league wide parity. Simply, given the lack of a large enough centralized revenue stream, a confrontational attitude will always be the result, in Owner vs. Owner situations, as well as Owner vs. Union negotiations.

The goal of league wide parity in expenses (at least player expenses) without enough league wide parity in revenue will consistently create labour strife. The owners will always point to the fact that certain teams are not making enough/any $$ to be viable without a cut in player expenses. Conversely, players will always be able to point to the fact that certain teams can afford much more in player expenses, and still remain very profitable.

Owners of “rich” teams will always be against increased revenue sharing, as they want to keep their businesses as profitable as possible. Therefore, for the “poor” teams to remain profitable, they’ll need to demand concessions from the players. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Great post. It's a flawed model the NHL has, it's not just Bettman and the owners it's not just the PA and the players. They're working with a broken model and they'll go round and round ever 8 years until (hopefully) somehow it gets fixed which is a whole other messy discussion.

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11-06-2012, 10:20 AM
  #74
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Originally Posted by CGG View Post

I'm gonna have to call BS on this. I'm sure there's a few guys out there who make $6 million now who used to make $1 million in 2004 but if that's what you're basing your comment on, that's just plain nutty.

Best estimates of the last season before the lockout, players got about 70% of $2.1 billion, or $1,470,000,000. Last season they got $1,883,000,000. That's an increase of 28%, not 300 to 600%.
See the Simmons piece here: http://hfboards.hockeysfuture.com/sh....php?t=1275909

Not a scientific study of course, but a pretty good sampling of average to above average players. Phaneuf: a 643% raise? Really? (what, 500% wasn't enough?!) Time to give the owners a path to make some big money too here, right?! No??

And I think it is pretty much agreed that at last lockout the avg salary was $1.2m, and now it is at $2.45m. Not toooo shabby. ok, maybe it drops to 2.2

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11-06-2012, 10:33 AM
  #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gormo View Post
If you ask me it doesnt make sense for them to just bank on fan loyalty (which is a big maybe anyways)

They arent holding out because they want more money from the fans. Quite the opposite, they are losing a ridiculous amount of money every day. Theyre merely grappling over the money that is available.

It doesnt make sense to intentionally shut your business down every few years (even if your customers are extremely loyal) just to have your personnel fight over how to divide the pie. Ultimately youre only going to lose money, so its bad for business as far as I can tell. To me it would make more sense to make a deal both sides can agree to over the long term.
There's actually a simple, rational reason for these lockouts.... the NHL ownership thinks that they'll be able to get more and more out of the players with each successive lockout and fans will keep coming back and forking over money as if nothing's happened. If after this lockout and likely the next one, the owners have gone from getting 43% of the pie to 55%, or even potentially more depending on how much they get now and how much they get next time, AND the overall revenue continues to grow, long-term they will more than make up what they've lost in the span of a couple lost seasons, especially if it ends up saving some troubled franchises from being just in the red to being just in the black. Maybe not in overall revenue from the lost seasons, but definitely in reduced losses.

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