Sunday, 19 August 2012

Looming Lockout

Image Source: Heritage Classic Tickets blog
2012 NHL lockout is looming. Gary Bettman, once again, is showing off his stellar labour relations. Here in Winnipeg downtown businesses here are fearing for the worst - the Jets have been a major boon to to restaurants and shops in the area, bringing new blood back to the core. No Jets games means an uncertain fall/winter.

This is all happening because Gary Bettman apparently thinks that the strenuously negotiated system from last lockout urgently needs updating. Cost saving plans from the players association just aren't enough for this man, he needs it all, fans be damned.

It's such a shame there's going to be a season delay, the Jets have such a nice lineup.

How many crises, bad franchise location decisions, and just plain incompetent choices does Bettman have to make before he's sacked?

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  1. I don't like the system MLB has, nor would it be good for Winnipeg. I don't trust either side to do what's in the best interest for the fans, and I don't begrudge the owners for pushing for a more equitable arrangement with the players. The only reason the players got such a high percentage from the NHL was to get the salary cap in place. I don't trust Donald Fehr to do whats in the best interest of the league. His only concern is to get the players the best deal he can, which is fine, good luck. But the only reason we have the Jets back is the cost certainty of the last CBA.. if Bettman can negotiate a deal that makes it even better for True North to operate, I'm for it. It's not like the players are going to be going poor any time soon.

    Still, hopefully they come to a long term agreement without a lockout. It was the players (from what I hear) who didn't want to start negotiating the new CBA earlier, though.

    1. Why lower a strenuously, hard fought, and toughly negotiated deal from just several years back when the current CAP works? Teams like the Jets certainly don't seem to be suffering at the moment, hell the Jets were profitable enough to be a "have" team.

      If there's any real, structural problem in the NHL it's all those teams Bettman keeps trying to set up in sucky non-traditional markets.

    2. Does it really work? The Jets, in their inaugural season, were a have team. That's with some of the highest ticket prices in the league. But it won't always be that way. A business shouldn't have profitability be so precarious. Contrast with the NFL which pays its players salaries with just the TV contract.. An NFL franchise is a license to print money. Then theres the MLB way which would be impossible here, or the NBA that has teams moving every other season. Bettman might be naive for trying to set up hockey in non-traditional markets, but the owners got expansion fees out of it and both the players and owners want to expand the fanbase and increase the amount of TV contracts eventually. He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

      And there are a lot of issues with the old CBA. Costs are escalating too quickly.

      Plus, while there would be no hockey without the players, sure, that's no reason for them to have too lopsided a piece of the pie. Theres tons of support staff who could get paid more instead.

    3. Still seems to be quite a bit of demand for Jets season tickets, as well as expanding opportunities for merchandising.

      But I'll probably have to look closer at the NHL's economics to see just how large a share of the pie goes to support staff and see if owners have traditionally translated concessions from the Player's Association into improved wages for other staff or just shucked up the margins themselves. There really should be de-escalation on both sides.

      I'd personally preferred Bettman to grow the team outward from traditional markets to quasi-traditional markets in Central Canada, perhaps some parts of the West, and the North Eastern US rather than just trying to plump teams in the deep South for shits and giggles.

    4. Do the Leafs and Rangers make money? Yeah probably. But for most teams, especially the other Canadian teams, it's probably barely a break even proposition. Should revenue sharing be expanded? Definitely. But at the same time, should players really get more than 50% of the revenue?

      I don't see the NHL working in many more Canadian markets. Winnipeg, another team in Toronto, and Quebec City maybe. But Saskatchewan is just not an option. Alberta already has two teams. BC .. I don't see a point in putting a team in Victoria. 10 Canadian teams is the maximum there could be. And that's probably pushing it.

      The NHL needs to be in more midwestern and northern US cities though. The footprint in the south is too large. One of the Florida teams (Panthers ideally) should move. The fact that there are four teams in New York is overkill. Islanders or devils should go elsewhere. Phoenix will move or fold sooner or later.