Jun 27, 2012, 1:19 PM EDT
As the Sept. 15 expiration of the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement with the NHLPA creeps closer, “there are people who believe that the game has never been better,” said league commissioner Gary Bettman in a wide-ranging interview with Sports Business Journal.
Presumably Bettman doesn’t disagree with those people, as he references “the competitive balance” and “the excitement and the entertainment the game has provided.”
The business of hockey has never been better either. Revenues have grown 50 percent since 2006-07, from $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion.
Suffice to say it was a far different story prior to the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season. Numerous teams were in dire financial straits back then, and the on-ice product, bogged down by clutching and grabbing, left much to be desired.
The result was a salary cap, aka “cost certainty.”
“(We) knew during the year off that (the fans) understood our problems and wanted us to fix them,” Bettman said. “So I wasn’t surprised that with a healthier foundation, we could grow the game in ways the game had never seen.”
All of which begs the question – if everything is going so well, why are so many people predicting another work stoppage?
At this point, all we can do is speculate. But perhaps the answer lies with the players’ association, led by new chief Donald Fehr.
Perhaps this time it will be the union that goes on the offensive, looking to claw back some of what it surrendered in the last negotiation.
Perhaps all the good news coming out of the NHL offices is a way to sell the status quo, despite speculation the owners will attempt to cut the players’ share of revenue from 57 percent to 50 percent, or even lower.
With CBA talks reportedly set to begin Friday, we should start to learn more about the positions each side will be taking.
- Report: Plotnikov paid $500K to get out of KHL contract 8
- Philadelphia signs ’15 first rounder Provorov 8
- Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets 20
- Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal 21
- Sabres lock up O’Reilly through 2022-23 71
- Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal 27
- Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract 29
- ‘Hawks would like to re-sign Oduya, but still working through ‘financial hurdles’ 17
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick 73
- Voynov takes plea, gets 90 days in jail plus probation 66
- Blockbuster: Kessel traded to the Penguins (131)
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (105)
- Trade: Jackets land Saad; Anisimov and Dano headed to Chicago (93)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (90)
- Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick (73)