Thursday, September 13, 2012

NHL Lockout Looms

There's been a lot of this, talking, at the NHL negotiations in New York. (Photo: bleacherreport.com)
Brace yourselves, hockey fans, an NHL lockout is imminent. Simply put, the NHL and the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) are too far apart on one simple concept: revenue sharing.

It's the same problem that we had in the NBA and the NFL; the players want more money, but the owners don't want to give it up. In the NHL, however, it has been taken to a whole new level.

In the current expiring collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the players get 57 percent of the total revenue. However, in talks for the new CBA, the owners have offered the players as low as 43 percent of the total revenue. That's absurd.

Recently, however, the owners have reportedly been offering more and more to the players. Reports have stated that they have offered them 47 percent and 49 percent in their most recent proposals. Both numbers are still too low and don't expect the players to agree to them.

Another interesting note that says a lock out is coming is the fact that the owners signed an agreement saying they have no problems going to a lockout. That, in and of itself, is enough to say that the NHL will be locked out this coming Sunday (the CBA expires Saturday night at 11:59 PM).

In my opinion, the players should settle for nothing less than 52-54 percent of the total revenue. They are the ones on the ice playing night after night and they are the reasons for the revenue. They should get a majority of the money that they, inadvertently, raise. Fans buy tickets to see them and fans buy their jerseys.

Unfortunately, the NHL is much like the NFL, MLB, and NBA in that it is a business and all about the money. I agree that players should be paid less than 57 percent, but I definitely think it should be more than 50 percent.

Another thing you have to look at is the fact that the NHL has grown since the last lockout. The NHL is making more and more money every year. Since the lockout, D.C. has caught hockey fever and the Capitals fan base has grown ten-fold. People that watched hockey once in a blue moon were starting to make time to watch a game.

In comparison to 2005 (when the last lockout ended), 57 percent of the total revenue is a lot of money. Like I said above, the NHL has grown in popularity and therefore it brings in more money. Lowering the percentage owed to the players makes sense, and in my opinion, they'll still be making a lot of money.

As a hockey fan, I hope that they can reach an agreement soon. I have grown to be a huge hockey fan in the past eight years and it has even come to be a part of this blog.

But, as a journalist, I don't see the NHL hockey season starting on time. Barry Melrose said something interesting in an interview on ESPN today. He said that once the money stops rolling in to the players (because they will no longer be getting paid once the current CBA expires) negotiations will pick up speed because they need that money. It's a small little statement that makes a lot of sense. They need to pay for their fancy cars and big houses.

Melrose also went on to say that he thinks the NHL will back in November. Pierre LeBrun and Katie Strang, both also of ESPN, think that the lockout will end in December. I agree with all three in a sense that I think it will end before the new year. I don't expect the NHL to lose another season in ten years due to a lockout.

It's all about money. The owners want more and the players want a majority. I think that the players deserve more than 50 percent of the revenue. It's them and their names that are making that money. Pay them and give them their due.


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Source: ESPN