Tuesday, December 11, 2012

NHL Lockout 3

This entry was sparked by a Facebook conversation with a friend after reading this Grantland article.

League revenues have increased 50% in the time since the 2004 lockout. Revenue was $2.2 billion in 2006 and up to 3.2 billion in 2012. Revenue is up 52% from 2004 pre-lockout.

Average player salaries:
-2003-04 1.8 mil,
-2005-06 1.4 mil (they didn't give up anything? Remember revenue went up 7% that season)
-2006-07 1.9 mil.
-2011-12 2.4 mil  

So that's a post lockout increase of 71%. It's a pre lockout increase of 33%. After the league's 52% increase it's a wash to me.

If you're worried about the fans I don't see how, for a moment, you can be pro-owners. It is after all a LOCKOUT! It's not a player strike. The owners could have negotiated while the season played out. The players offered to do just that. The lockout, especially a season long one, is the nuclear option. The owners hit the button without hesitation or diplomacy.

I cannot say it enough, the league has been making RECORD REVENUE!

This isn't 2004. The game isn't dying. It's got issues but nothing life threatening. If anything, it's healthier than ever. This move by the owners is completely unjustified. And this is a negotiation. Instead of talking and exchanging proposals, the NHL execs and owners storm out of every meeting like petulant children.

I don't give a shit about egos. There's a lot of egos at fault in this debacle. The players aren't blameless. They've already lost a lot more money than they're negotiating over. Both sides have.

And like the original Grantland article says the owners don't exactly risk the money it seems like they do. The city of Buffalo owns FNC and let's the Sabres do with it add they please. Glendale, AZ built an arena for the Coyotes and now gives the league $25 million a season for the privilege of letting the Coyotes stay.

Players on the other hand are the ones blocking shots, bare knuckle boxing and risking their brains for the owner's teams. They deserve a seat at the table, a voice in negotiations and fair split of the revenue. 

The owners set the salary cap. They signed the long term contracts. They allowed their GMs to do those things. Now we're to believe it's solely the players to blame for putting pen to paper? Was the Devils owner blameless in the Kovulchuk contact cap circumvention

In this lockout the fans will lose no matter what the outcome is. If the owners win you surely don't think they'll lower ticket prices or find another way to pass savings on to fans do you? No, they get to keep more of our money. If the players win, they get to keep more of our money. If there is another lost season I'm sure the fans will be expected to make up the lost revenue over the next few seasons. Oh they won't say it. We won't ask either. It'll happen though.

In the end the tickets cost more every year. The beer costs more every year. Parking costs more every year. The jerseys cost more every year. Watching the games on TV cost more every year as NBC passes the costs paid to the NHL onto fans by way of higher fees to cable providers which causes our cable bills to rise. Property taxes go up as teams demand more luxurious accommodations in arenas that they keep the profits of. No matter who wins, we lose. Oh, we get to watch our beloved sport and teams. We get something out of it. But as the costs continue to rise we grumble and pay. But we never ask questions or consider not paying.

In all of the numbers I quoted above, league revenue and player salaries, both increases have far out paced inflation. Trust me, I believe both sides are greedy, I just happen to think its the owners who are greedier this time.

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