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“Insider” on CBA talks: “This is a battle between the owners”

Aug 11, 2012, 6:48 PM EDT

Mike Ilitch AP

Considering the looming specter of the lockout and the telltale murmurs of greed, this summer might feel reminiscent of the last, disastrous CBA negotiations.

There are plenty of differences, though, and Bruce Garrioch spoke with one unnamed “insider” who believes that the real battle isn’t between the owners and the players.

Instead, he believes the biggest debate revolves around how the big-market teams and smaller ones share their revenue.

“We know what they didn’t do, they didn’t share it between the big- and small-market teams,” said a league insider Saturday. “A big percentage went into the pockets of the big-market teams who are now refusing increased revenue sharing as a means to address the disparity.

“This is not a players’ issue anymore. This is a battle between the owners and it’s time for them to settle it once and for all between themselves.”

That insider then turns to the argument that the owners hope to keep taking from the players to make up the difference.

“Many people think a 50/50 split in revenue between the owners and players is a fair resolution,” added the insider. “That means players should accept a 7% reduction in their share annually. Over six years, that’s over $1 billion. Why? The players accepted a salary cap and 24% rollback last time.

“Since then, NHL revenues are booming. Why should players give back again? What’s the justification for this?”

Some might argue that logical concepts (such as being “justified”) aren’t especially welcome in high stakes negotiations. Either way, word is that the players’ counter-proposal should come on Tuesday.

(H/T to Kukla’s Korner.)


Bettman on costs, potentially locking out.

Some optimism from Ron Hainsey.

Steve Montador‘s interesting analogy.

  1. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 11, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Ya based on what this insider said, the players don’t deserve this. If there are teams that are just losing money, that isn’t the players fault. It is garys for not moving the damn team!

  2. hockeyflow33 - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Based on the unexpected level of growth, what would the concessions have looked like if growth was stagnant?

  3. ikillchicken - Aug 11, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Agree with this completely. The owners can’t possibly justify a significant reduction in player salary when the big market teams are raking in money like crazy. If the smaller market teams can’t keep up then that needs to be addressed through more revenue sharing.

    • hank10 - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      No, what this means is that if you are an owner and cannot pay the market rate for players, either sell the team or the league should contract. Never understood why every burgh that has 200,000+ population feels they deserve a pro team in any sport. If the ownership and fan base cannot support a team then time to say adios. More revenue sharing? Oh right, so that way a team can match a $100M offer sheet even though they cannot afford it outright but can with help from their deep-pocket partners. If you can’t afford to pay, then you can’t afford to play.

      • tealwithit - Aug 13, 2012 at 6:38 PM

        You do realize that only a fraction of the teams are actually turning a profit? I don’t really see how it’s fair to expect owners to lose tens of millions of dollars every year and be cool with it. Most of them don’t get into the game in order to make money – They just want to be able to break even, while putting together a team that’s competitive and keeps the fans happy.
        The Sharks, for example… They sold out HP for every regular season game, and have one of the most devoted fan bases in the NHL (which also means huge merchandise sales.) And yet they lost $15 million last season. What that says to me is that it’s nearly impossible to put together a playoff team (or even just a good team) without the owners having to dig into their own pockets year after year. It doesn’t seem like it should have to be that way.

      • tampalightening - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:17 PM

        Solid comment tealwithit. in tampabay, small market, you have an owner that has invested over $40 mil in updating the venue, building a presence within the community to marry hockey and the community, AND create a community foundation that donates $50,000 EVERY home game to LOCAL charitable organizations. Is it wrong to expect that revenue sharing be more common sense and equitable? Tampa Bay Lightening is not in a major market and has no where near the revenue as New York Ranger, Bruins, Capitals et al., but yet are expectied to put in the kitty the same as if they were a Major Market. Not right. Finally Tampa has ownership that actually cares about the sport of hockey AND the Community that supports them. Revenue sharing in its current form, bad idea. Luxury Tax, interesting wrinkle that could benefit the small market ownership that is actually looking to be owners of a team and not have their hockey team be a nice tax deduction.

  4. villi5ed - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Who knew that Mike Ilitch and Phil Spector were separated at birth?

  5. lammy5555 - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    If there is another lockout it will kill the league. These owners need to get over their egos and get a damn deal done.

  6. greatminnesotasportsmind - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:36 PM

    This is just one “insider.”

    The NHL and NHLPA should just do what the NBA and NFL did. 53%/47%.

    NHL gets the realignment they want

    NHLPA gets their Olympics

    Get it done for a minimum of 10 years.

  7. blomfeld - Aug 12, 2012 at 2:21 AM

    “Piss off” on an iceberg bound for Tahiti, you jerks ! …

    My old friend Stransky, who’s a physicist and an expert in “forensic causation analysis” just dropped by today and weighed in with his views on this entire matter … and according to his calculations, the bottom line is that the “NHL owners = vermin x 10 squared” …

    If the NHL owners and players think that we faithful fans are like “hookers or dogs” who obediently respond to given commands, then they have another thing coming !

  8. raiderdoug - Aug 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    I love all the contraction talk. Don’t you know that the NHLPA loses about 30 dues paying members per team with contraction? Yes, that will benefit everyone!

    The NFL is built on revenue sharing. MLB has it (not enough, IMHO). Successful leagues have all their franchises healthy and competitive. Even if the Rangers/Maple Leafs have to pay a few more mil in revenue sharing, it’s not like they’re not going miss raking in dumptrucks full of cash.

  9. geo91 - Aug 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Mike Illych reminds me of Tales from the Cryptkeeper

  10. ndrick731 - Aug 12, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    No different than anything else in life. Greed rules. The owners will destroy the sport. As a season ticket holder if they lock them out and lose all or a good portion of the season I’m done. I know others who feel the same. I’m not putting up with this crap every time an agreement expires. Plenty of other things I can spend my money on. Felt the same way about baseball and after they went out I never went to a game again. Don’t get me wrong they are both greedy but owners are taking it to a whole new level.

    • jtrain1966 - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM

      I feel the same way . If they lose another year because of a work stoppage, or lock out however you want to put it, i’ll just buy season tickets to MIZZOU football ! They may not be the best team in the nation but, they will be playing in the SEC which is the best conference in college football .

  11. paperkid96 - Aug 12, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    So let me get this straight. If i make money as an owner i have to share it with another hack who cant make money. Suck it! The players shouldn’t have to prop up bad businesses either. Sink or swim.

    NHL needs to get rid of the salary floor. period. It will help salaries from escalating simply because teams wont over pay to reach the floor.

    I want contraction. We don’t need teams in cities that cant support them.

    • jtrain1966 - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:32 PM

      Then what about the BANK BAILOUT of 2008 !

  12. hockeydon10 - Aug 13, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    Interesting facts to see before one agrees with the billionaire (or near billionaire) owners crying poor. I’m a little baffled why REPORTERS don’t report this sort of thing. It’s right there in the CBA. I know it would take a little research and work, so maybe that’s too much to ask of hockey reporters today. After all, this took about 5 minutes to find.

    * The top ten money-making teams contribute to the pool. The bottom 15 money-making teams are eligible to collect from it.
    * The amount of money contributed by the top ten teams is set by a formula that includes a percentage of overall league revenues and some playoff revenues. The exact number isn’t worked out until the season is over and all revenues have been counted.
    * For a bottom-15 team to collect a full revenue sharing cheque, it must reach at least 80% capacity in home attendance (last year that meant averaging about 14,000 per game) and show revenue growth that exceeds the league average. Missing either threshold means a cut in the share.
    * In 2010, a full share of revenue sharing was about $10 million.
    * Teams in markets with more than 2.5 million television households cannot qualify for revenue sharing. By my unofficial estimate, that means the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers, Blackhawks, Ducks, Sharks, Stars, and Kings are ineligible.

    What does this mean? It means every team with an operating loss EXCEPT the Coyotes, Islanders, Ducks, & Sharks had that negative operating income turn into a positive because of the current CBA. This means that really only four teams (give or take each year) lose money.

    So, what is really being discussed is the 10 rich owners that pay into the pool want the players to prop up the 15 worst teams.

  13. tealwithit - Aug 13, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Keep in mind, we really only get one side of the story from the media. Hint: It’s the NHLPA’s side. I haven’t been able to find one article that lays out ALL the facts and presents an unbiased overview of the arguments from both the league and the players. Clearly, the league made mistakes with the last labor agreement and they need to go back and amend some things, with the cooperation of the NHLPA. Given the NFL and NBA’s recent agreements, it’s no surprise that the owners in the NHL would try to get closer to a 50/50 split. Especially considering the financial problems that most teams are having, and the ridiculous contracts that players are demanding.
    I’d just like to get a bit more of an in-depth explanation of things, rather than the same old “The owners are screwing the players… It’s billionaires arguing with millionaires.” If anybody knows where I can find that, I’d really appreciate a link.
    Also, I have to hand it to the players – They’re killing it with the social media, so their point of view is dominating the internet and rallying fans in support of the NHLPA. Smart strategery.

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