Tick Tock, Tick Tock…….The CBA expires in just two days and the NHL remains headed towards a second work stoppage in seven years and a fourth work stoppage in the last 20 years.
As both sides exchanged proposals on Wednesday, the fact that they’re still negotiating off of different proposals clearly shows that the two sides are worlds apart. Aside from the core economic issue of hockey related revenue, the two sides have also yet to find common ground on free agency, contract length or entry level contracts. The league has been looking to make free agency go from 27 years old to 31, implement a contract length of five years and expand entry level contracts from three to five years. The players like how things are.
As the clock is ticking the NHL on Wednesday looked to put the full court press on the players with commissioner Gary Bettman saying that the league’s latest offer will be the best offer that the players receive if the players reject it and a lockout is put in place. The core economic issue remains hockey related revenue. The NHL’s offer on Wednesday’s see’s the players revenue share reduced to 49% for 2012-2013, giving the owners a 51/49 split, and that number would see the players revenue share drop to 47% by the end of the six-year deal. That’s an improvement over the league’s low ball offer in July that had the players seeing their revenue share drop to 43%.
Players currently receive 57% of hockey related revenues and when Don Fehr comes out in yesterday’s press conference and starts giving reporters a history lesson on the fact that the players received 74% before the last lockout, it truly shows that neither side is close to being on the same page. The NHLPA’s latest offer has players receiving 54% of hockey related revenue in 2012-2013. When it comes to the money at stake for both sides, a 5% gap is a huge gap from a financial perspective.
“This proposal had meaningful movement in it and it was an attempt to engage the union finally in trying to make a deal,” Bettman said. “Their {NHLPA} proposal was not much different, other than some things around the edges, “Bettman said.
I believe Bettman that the NHL’s offer on the table until Saturday will be the best offer that the players see if they reject it or opt not to work off it. The owners are always going to win this battle and the players know it, but there’s no indication that the players will cave this early. Many believe that will come by November or December. The owners have sought a 50/50 revenue type split and they will get it at the end of the day.
A lockout effects a lot of people from team employees who could be laid off to even the fans who dish out an outrageous amount of money for tickets, yet, won’t be seeing any reduction in their ticket prices anytime soon as lets be honest, the owners and players could care less about the fans. The players just want their money and the owners know that the fans will return even if there is a lengthy lockout. For the ones that don’t, teams like Pittsburgh have thousands of people on a season ticket waiting list who will gladly jump at the chance for tickets if disgruntled fans don’t renew next season.
The talk from Bettman during the last lockout that a salary cap would lead to fans being able to buy tickets at a reasonable price has become an absolute joke.