Why is this happening again? This is the question on all the minds of hockey fans. 8 Years ago the Owners decided to lockout players to get there Salary Cap that they so coveted. It cost the NHL a full season, but they got the players to break and got their Salary Cap. 8 Years Later we are in the Same Position with the lockout Looming in less than 30 Hours. The NHL has had record Revenue Growth since 2004-2005 thanks to expanding the Hockey Fan Base, Exciting Play, New Television Contract, and a recent return to Winnipeg. Yet the NHL is stating that 18 teams are losing money. Due to the Revenue Growth it has caused the Salary Cap to skyrocket since 2005(From 39 Million in 2005 to a Projected 70 Million in 2012). Contracts with players have also lead to problems. Teams like The Rangers, Devils, Sabres, Red Wings, and Flyers have been accused of circumventing the Salary Cap over the last few years. This CBA was talked about over the last year that it would be Big Market Owners against Small Market Owners. However this summer the Owners have decided to reunite again against the Players.
The Owners have been wanting to negotiate since last November, but Donald Fehr and the players weren’t ready. The Owners reached out again in January and April, but got the same answer. Once the Season ended in June both sides were ready to negotiate and the NHL submitted it first offer at the Beginning of July. Many people claimed that it was a slap in the face of the players asking them to give back 24% of there contracts next season and drop from 57% in Revenue to 43%. Players consider this a major slap in the face, even though Owners have been getting 43% over the last 7 years. In August the Players offered there first proposal and too many seemed like a fair deal, but the underlying details proved that it was too good to be true. Players said they would be willing to give back some of there Revenue over 3 years, only if the NHL would match or exceed the Revenue Growth of 7.1% from last season. Also they would snap back to 57% in the 4th and final year of the deal. This would likely put the League back in the same position it currently is right now. Both have made concessions since, but no major movement on either side.
The Latest Offer from the NHL was consider by Donald Fehr and the Players as a take it or leave it offer. The Owners wouldn’t not redefine Hockey Related Revenue like they offered in their previous deals, yet the players end up getting 49% of Hockey Related Revenue next season and over the following 2 years decrease to 47%. In hopes of fueling talks to get a CBA done to save the start of the Season, the opposite happened the PA called the NHL offer insignificant. As many Hockey Insiders have stated the NHL and NHLPA are in 2 different universe.
The Players seem to be galvanized group unlike in 2004 don’t want to see any significant roll backs for next season. They also want to maintain a 1.87 Billion Dollar Share in Revenue. Gary Bettman in his press conference yesterday claimed with the NHL lastest offer that the players would lose more money in a short lockout, than they would if they would take a 9% rollback. The Players are staying strong however for now. The Players have said that they don’t want to give back any more, considering that they gave back so much the last time. Yes Players at that time did give back a lot, but since has really gained more than they would of expect when they signed the CBA in 2005. Players have seen Average Salary go up and have seen Revenues increased. Considering after the fact the Players didn’t suffer as much of as many have thought.
Many have suggested that the Players aren’t worried about negotiating, but are more worried about the PR battle. The one thing that is for sure so far in Negotiations both sides are greedy and the only loser in all of this is the fans. Hopefully for our sakes common sense and reasoning will prevail before we lose another season.