NO MOVEMENT DURING THURSDAY’S TALKS
There was no significant movement during Thursday’s round of CBA talks but we’re starting to see an actual negotiation process go on for the first time and neither side becoming furiated at issues they don’t agree with from either side. That’s led to over 15 hours of talks in the past three days but there has yet to be big movement on a number of core issues, including the biggest issue from the NHL’s standpoint, how to get to a 50-50 revenue split in year one. Gary Bettman has promised the owners he would get them a 50-50 split in year one and no one imagines them balking at that stance anytime soon.
Leading into Wednesday, the league felt that the NHLPA was coming around to the idea of negotiating off a 50-50 revenue split in year one but Wednesday afternoon the NHLPA came at the league with two new offers, regarding revenue sharing and the league’s “make whole” provision. The “make whole” proposal would see the players share drop to 50-50 of revenues by year three, not year one or year two. On Friday, the NHLPA gets to hear the league’s response on this critical issue.
Regarding the revenue sharing proposal, another core issue where the two sides don’t see eye to eye, the players are proposing for $260 million in revenue sharing, an increase of $20 million from their previous offer, which isn’t flying with the NHL’s higher revenue teams who have been strongly against a significant increase in revenue sharing. The NHLPA is not going to be able to keep pushing so hard on that issue if the players want to play this season. The NHL’s offer of $200 million in revenue sharing is likely going to be the max that the league goes. Some owners already feel the league has made more concessions than they expected Bettman and Bill Daly to make.
Where are things going?
With talks continuing on Friday, the positive is that talks remain alive to progress in the next 24-72 hours on some of the core issues, and the state of negotiations are in a better place than they were weeks ago, but negotiations remain very fragile and could still blow up at any point.