How did hockey season get shut down before it ever really started? Sports correspondant Kyle Coleman takes us inside the 2012 NHL Lockout.
The only professional sports league to lose an entire season is once again involved in a lockout. National Hockey League owners forced a lockout this past Saturday, after giving Commissioner Gary Bettman the power to pull the plug if an agreement was not reached between the owners and player’s league (the NHLPA) by the time their collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight on September 15th.
The previous CBA agreement drafted in over seven years ago, decreased players’ salaries by close to 24% and mandated a hard salary cap. Since then, there has been incredible growth in hockey and both sides are accusing the other getting more than their fair share. As it now stands, players take home about 57 percent of the hockey related revenue and that number is growing each year. Owners want it closer to a 50/50 split.
The players association released a 3 minute and 30 second video released yesterday starring Pittsburgh Penguin captain Sidney Crosby and other NHL players stating that they loved their fans and wanted to keep playing all while attempting to renegotiate the CBA.
The owners then countered with a statement heralding the previous agreement, which it says has created “one of the most meaningful regular seasons in pro sports.” It continues:
While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League’s economic system… our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.
Owners claim that they are losing money at a record clip, saying that as many as a dozen teams are in the red. In 2004, Bettman was able to produce an audit that showed that the NHL lost $232 million dollars the year before, which prompted owners to follow him to a lockout, and for many fans to sympathize with owners. The problem now is that hockey revenues are at an all-time high.
Fact is, neither the players nor the owners were prepared for this growth when they last agreed on a deal; each now wants more of a slice of the growing pie. And then there’s that little TV deal that was signed with NBC in April of 2011 that pays the NHL roughly $200 million dollars a year and allows fans to watch every single Stanley Cup playoff game that is played for the first time.
Clearly, the NBC deal is for FANS of the game; the players and owners only seem to be looking at it for its pretty profits. And speaking of fans — they came back to hockey eight years ago after the last lockout, will they come back again?