Saturday, 15 September 2012

Owner greed no valid reason for a 50-50 split

It's started already.  Fans are blaming the players for the current NHL lockout.  A lockout imposed by the owners.  Maybe they need to review the definition of a lockout.


Definition of LOCKOUT: the withholding of employment by an employer and the whole or partial closing of the business establishment in order to gain concessions from or resist demands of employees

It astounds me that anyone even thinks of siding with the owners, and their facile 50-50 split. The players are who we pay to see, not the owners. I don’t care about Jeremy Jacobs and Charles Wang, they’re all crooks and monopolists and fraudsters. Why they get half the money they declare, plus all that they embezzle is inexplicable.

The 50-50 split sounds reasonable to simpletons, since it harkens back to kindergarden, when we were taught to share and share alike. It does not apply to this situation however. The owners recklessly cancelled a season, locking out the players and depriving fans of the game they love, in order to obtain ‘cost certainty’, which was a hard salary cap. The players’ share of revenue was rolled back from more than 60% down to 55% at that point, accomplished by the players taking a 24% pay cut. Eight years later the owners come back and ask for more cuts? To support hockey in moribund locales like Phoenix and Uniondale? So that more of the inflated ticket prices and jersey sales end up in their pockets? How exactly will you benefit personally from another lockout to prop up those franchises? Wouldn’t you be better off with fewer hockey teams, with less diluted talent, with more franchises in Canada, where they will draw fans?
Give your head a serious shake. The only reason there won’t be hockey in the fall is because of owner greed. They’re the ones who opted out of the current CBA, and they’re the ones who will lock out the players. The players would gladly continue to play under the current conditions, but Gary Bettman won’t, so that Phoenix doesn’t have to meet a salary floor that he agreed to less than a decade ago.

If there is no hockey, it’s not the players’ fault. They are not going on strike. The owners are the ones who opted out of the current CBA, the one during which revenues grew and they signed the biggest broadcast deal ever with NBC. The owners are preparing to lock out the players. So the owners are the ones who will deprive you of the game you love, in the name of greed. They got everything they wanted last time they tried to kill hockey, a salary cap and 24% wage rollback, but they’re coming back to strangle it a little more.

And for those of you who say that players come and go, but that doesn't matter, since you're only really a fan of the team, think again. You had no attachment to Jean Béliveau, Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Saku Koivu? These guys were just interchangeable cogs? Their personality had nothing to do with your love of the Canadiens?
The game is what it is because of the players. They’re paid very well to play a game they love, but that’s not an excuse to rob them of some of the ticket revenue to give it to Francesco Aquilini and Ed Snyder.
Also, if the owners operated as pure businessmen, I’d give them credit for what they do, but they rely on exemption from anti-trust legislation and taxpayer subsidies for their operations. If Pierre Karl Péladeau built the Colisée, then the beatification of owners would make sense. Rather, he’s going to let the citizens of Québec assume all the costs and risks, and then turn around and gouge them as much as he can with ticket prices and cable bills. So give me a break with the owners being responsible for the league’s existence.
Read “Net Worth”, you’ll see what the NHL owners did for the league, they almost killed it, only used it to fill dates in their arenas between wrestling and boxing matches. They defrauded generations of players. The owners are never the heroes.
We'd actually be way better off if we didn't have owners and instead ran NHL teams as public trusts or utilities.  Do you really think that if the NHL was a league with 12 or 20 community-owned teams like the Green Bay Packers, with revenue sharing to even out the bumps in the road, and salaries reflective of the consummate skill of the players but not necessarily inflated by the current monopoly which charges you $100 for a ticket and $200 for a jersey, that you’d enjoy the games less? What value does Boots Del Baggio bring to the equation?
Owners didn’t create the NHL, they didn’t invent hockey, they almost killed it. And they’re killing it to this day, by focusing on ways to raise the price of beer to $10 instead of trying to improve the product on the ice.  Now they're shutting it down on the fans who paid for these teams ten times over.

We love hockey.  The players love hockey.  The owners love the money they wring out of hockey.

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