By now I'm sure you've heard the NHL (Gary Bettman and the owners) did not accept the NHLPA's second offer on Friday. As a result the talks have been
recessed and the two sides have not met since. Bettman said the league would not accept a deal that didn't include a salary deduction for the players, funny howhockey players are the least payed professional athletes.
When I read the news on twitter that the owners had not accepted the proposal my heart instantly dropped. Time is running out and with both sides seemingly far apart, now more than ever we face the prospect of a third lockout in 18 years. With just 11 days left until the September 15th deadline, it's time we take a look at what the sides are really wanting from each other.
Here's a few valid points each side has in this never ending battle over who will back down first.. the millionaires or the billionaires.
Let's start with the owners. Right now whether the players like it or not the ball is in the owners court. For the owners it's not about the love of the game, it's about how much money they can make and how little they can pay the players. The league made a record $3.3 billion last season, but the owners are crying poor?
- The owners and the league believe they deserve a bigger cut of the pie known as revenue. Right now the players own 57% percent of the generated revenue, compared to the leagues 43%. That's a pretty significant difference between the two sides. The other reason they want a bigger piece of the pie is to share with some of the smaller market teams who are on the verge of going bankrupt.
- The owners and Gary Bettman believe that they pay the players too much money. In reality yes they do, no professional athlete should be making more than $5 million a year in any sport, period! They are payed to a play a game that millions of little kids play for free. But in terms of professional sports the players are underpaid. Take NFL quarterback Peyton Manning for example. He's arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, his salary is $18 million a year where as Sidney Crosby one of the best players in the NHL makes a mere $9 million a year. No Mr. Bettman you don't pay your athletes too much money.
- The owners are wanting to put a cap on the length of contracts offered to players. Right now we're seeing some very long deals that have players locked up for 12-13 years, the owners are wanting to rope those contracts back down to 5 year deals. Thus brings us to the point of why the owners, who want to shorten the contracts, have been handing out contracts ranging from 6-12 years right before the CBA? They have too. Let's say hypothetically the Pittsburgh Penguins only wanted to give Crosby a 5 year deal but he demanded a deal closer to 10. If the Penguins don't sign him for 10 years another team would gladly sign him. Which is why the owners (despite looking like hypocrites) are handing out long deals, if they don't another team will.
Next we move to the players, who don't really have much to fight over other than the fact the league is trying to take more money.
- The players union feels like they lost in the CBA negotiations back in 2004-2005. They feel like the NHL got a better deal and pushed around the players union. To insure that this would not be the case again this season they hired Donald Fehr. The players refuse to lose this time around. On twitter and in the news you hear the players saying they want a "Fair deal", all they want is whats fair. Problem is there is nothing fair in business and the world of sports.
- The players do not want a deduction in the revenue they earn from the league. Things included in this revenue are; ticket sales, jersey sales and memorabilia etc. Since the last lockout ticket prices have been raised 40%! The players believe they deserve the biggest cut of this pie, after all the fans are paying to see the players play.
- The players are fighting desperately to win these CBA negotiations. They can't afford to lose again to the owners.
The sad thing is both sides are fighting because they don't know what to do with all the money they made last season. It was the NHL's best season and helped them land network deals with NBC and HBO (winter classic) deals with these larger markets would almost guarantee bigger profit next season. But the owners are willing to risk their TV deals just because they don't know how to handle the money now.
Take a minute to watch this fantastic fan made video, it will give you chills. Alone us fans have no voice but together we make a sound.
Bettman and the owners believe they can do anything they want and the players should just have to accept it. That may have worked in 2004 but it sure wont fly this time around. Hockey isn't about the money, it's about the moments and the memories that last a lifetime. Please give the fans the game they love and forget fighting over the money.