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Report: Based on NHL charts, league thinks gap might be over $1 billion

Nov 16, 2012, 8:15 PM EDT

Gary Bettman AP

The NHL wants a 50/50 split of hockey-related revenues and it doesn’t believe the players are even close to giving them that, based on a series of NHL charts obtained by the Star Tribune’s Michael Russo.

Part of the problem from the league’s perspective is that the union wants a “guaranteed” player share of $1.916 billion in 2012-13, which doesn’t account for lost revenues as a result of the lockout. By the NHL’s model, if the league’s revenues shrink by 17.5% in a lockout shortened 2012-13 season, then the players would end up with 70.3% of HRR.

“The issue of how you deal with damage from the lockout is a tough one, particularly since it is impossible to know the extent of the damage,” NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr told Russo.

“What we have suggested to the owners several times is that we put aside that issue for the moment and concentrate upon the overall structure of the deal. If we do that, based upon the last proposals from each side, we think the parties are much closer than they have ever been on the economics. If we could bridge that gap, then we could come back quickly to the lockout damage issue.

“For whatever reason, the owners have declined to do that, and seem to be intent on portraying the parties as further apart than we think we are.”

The NHL also doesn’t feel that the union’s proposal will result in a 50/50 split by Year 5. In fact, if 50/50 is the goal, then two NHL models have the players and owners over $1 billion apart over the course of the next five seasons.

The NHL’s models anticipate that the league will grow by 2.5% in 2013-14, compared to the record $3.3 billion that the NHL raked in last season. From there, the NHL anticipates annual growth of 5%.

Every day that passes takes money out of the potential pie that the NHL and union have to split from, which might make a deal that much harder.


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Why did Bettman suggest a two-week moratorium on talks?

  1. flyeredup - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    Shut this puppy down. I can’t wait to cheer for a lost season!

  2. stakex - Nov 16, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Take whatever side you want overall, but on this one issue I firmly side with the owners. If you only play 50-60 games, you only get paid for 50-60 games. You don’t get paid for a full season if theres not a full season. If the players are going to absolutely insist that they get paid in full for a partial season, there will be no season at all. Its that simple, because as the league correctly points out that would make their share of HRR 70%… which the league will simply not even humor.

    This is an area where the players need to accept the reality of the situation and realize that every game missed is money lost, plain and simple. The very fact that they are still trying to get paid in full for the season shows they are not ready to be serious about this.

    • mpg44 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Absolutely agree ! These players must be spending the lockout in fantasy land and most certainly are not in the realm of the real world where the rest of us love!!

      I would also like to point out to both the NHL and the nhlpa that the supposed one billion dollars that is in question is already gone and should not even be in question. The remaining amout however is and if you like to see any of it , I as well as the rest of the fans , will tell you to end this nonsense immediately !!

    • woodstakes - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:12 AM

      I agree with both of you. I was so wrong about this very subject. I just argued yesterday on PHT that there was NO WAY the players were serious about the whole “$1.9 Billion” number, that it was either the league doing a spin job on something the players said or that the owners misinterpreted what the players said and decided to leak it to the media to make the players look bad. BUT, Fehr had EVERY chance to deny that the players were not asking for that, instead he spun in a “We think we should discuss… blah blah blah..” I have been behind the players virtually 100% throughout this lockout, but that request is simply ridiculous by the players. I guess the only thing that anyone could possibly say in their defense is… that its the owners own faults for whatever lost revenues they’ve had this season so the players feel like telling them a big ole “FU! Its your fault not ours, so we want what we would have been paid. We did chose to have a work stoppage!” Which, is fine if they feel that way, a lot of us agree there was no reason to have the stoppage. The league wasn’t going to fold if we had 1 more year of the current CBA, however to expect to get paid for a whole season when you may play at best 2/3 of one… come on guys!! The players really screwed the pouch here!

      • freneticgarfieldfan - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:47 AM

        I wouldn’t say teh lockout is 100% owners fault: they wanted to start negotiations in January, whereas the NHLPA let them wait until end of June. So at least part of the blame gotes to the players. And that the owners don’t want to prelimiarily operate under the expired CBA is so obvious, the players couldn’t really consider that.

  3. buffalomafia - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Fans should demand lower ticket prices!

    These players are millionares already!

    Screw them!

  4. Stiller43 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM


    Youre why everybody hates the flyers. Youre pathetic.

  5. vanchuk - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM


    I see where you’re coming from, but lets say that player X is paid $750000 for n 82 game season, but is a healthy scratch for 42 of those games so he only plays 40 games. What does he get paid? Well he gets his $750000, right? That’s because he was ready to play those games and through no fault of his own, he was not playing those games.

    So now, if all 700+ players are ready and willing to play the games, but are held out of action through no fault of their own, should they not receive full pay? In a perfect world, yes they should.

    Having said that, this world is far from perfect. And I also see where the owners are coming from. They sacrificed a season to obtain “cost certainty” and want to be certain that their costs are within budget.

    Having said THAT, they’re all a bunch of rich spoiled brats!!! I want my hockey back!!!! (If you can call the shenanigans my Canucks employ “hockey”) HA!

    • mpg44 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:20 PM

      Only problem with that is the players most certainly have a hand in this mess. Please don’t believe that either side is innocent .

    • buckeye044 - Nov 17, 2012 at 8:36 AM

      No way you can say it was no fault of their own. They saw this coming when they hired Fehr. Owners can’t open a season with an expired CBA then worry about the players striking March. Many of the players had contracts worked out with European team before the work stoppage was official.
      Fehr may get them a good agreement but it will cost them in the long term and if it’s only a 5 year deal we’ll be here again way too soon.

  6. sprtsfan1 - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    This season is lost. I blame the players. Owners are losing money, players don’t care, they just want their money. You don’t play, you don’t get paid. Just like if I didn’t go to work, I don’t get paid. Pretty simple concept.

    • williplett - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      There are at least ten teams owned by billionaires and the rest are owned by individuals or groups that have hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal. Blame the players if you like, but the owners chose to lockout the players after a few years of record profits. The teams that are losing money are mostly ones the league and the commish chose to place in non-traditional hockey markets or ones that were poorly managed. Shutting down the game when good things were happening was the owners call.

      • valoisvipers - Nov 17, 2012 at 11:20 AM

        @williplett By now you should know the difference between record Revenue and profit. Crosby last season make more than 24 NHL teams. So williplett when you earn your first billion you can buy a NHL team and lose money every year after that on them, you will be so happy to be giving away all your money to these poor deprived hockey players.

      • williplett - Nov 22, 2012 at 3:08 AM

        Or the NHL could come up with a profit sharing plan that makes props up the lesser franchises. You know…

  7. xxakshunxx - Nov 16, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    F- em all

  8. phillyphanatic77 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    The fact that they can’t agree on how much they disagree should tell us all we need to know about this negotiation. The owners have been totally unreasonable since before their first offer. And Fehr seems to be misleading the players into thinking they can outlast Bettman, and at some point he’ll cave. 04-05 should indicate to them that Bettman is willing to sacrifice an entire season in order to get what he wants and satisfy his massive ego. Both sides firmly believe they’re right and absolutely refuse to acknowledge that the best thing for the game is to have both sides make sacrifices. The union was so concerned about being pushed around (like they were in the last lockout) that they made a mistake in putting Fehr in charge, because he’s so far the other way. Now it’s two unbelievably stubborn negotiators going head to head, and the result, as would be expected, is gridlock. You could put Congress in charge of negotiations and they’d have a deal before these two. That’s how dire this situation is. Since this lockout started I’ve had to watch the phillies, the eagles, and now the Sixers terribly underachieve. I just want my Flyers back.

  9. ndrick731 - Nov 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    I believe that the players wanted play while negotiating and the owners said go to hell we are locking you out. Now they want to cry about missing games. This whole lockout is about trying to break the union once and for all. All the while refusing to open up the books so your supposed to take the word of the owners on how much money their supposedly losing. I have cancelled my season tickets and the only games I will ever see again will be on TV.

  10. flyeredup - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    Stiller43….great hockey analysis (not)

  11. westof1club - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    “What we have suggested to the owners several times is that we put aside that issue for the moment and concentrate upon the overall structure of the deal.”

    Read carefully. Sounds like he’d like to address issues outside of lost revenue 1st and then after a framework is set possibly compromise and negotiate a prorated amount for being locked out.

    But if you are kissing ownership’s butt throughout this garbage, it’s easy to ignore logic.

  12. cspsrbums - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Owners locked out players period players Re not striking. Hope the NHL folds like the Twinkie did today.

  13. dominator290 - Nov 17, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    Where do they plan on getting this 2.5% revenue increase from? The millions of ticked off hockey fans like myself, or the now non-existent casual hockey fans? Good luck…

  14. Doesnotmatter - Nov 17, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    I wonder how those charts were “obtained”? Guys, some of you are really falling for the league’s PR campaign. Its a lockout, not a strike.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      Aaaaaand the players are in a fake union. The players are basically mocking actual labor negotiations where people are fighting for an honest days wage and safe work conditions.

      The players are more than welcome to fight for jobs in real world like the rest of us.

      • Doesnotmatter - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM

        I guess you don’t understand what lock out means. And I really don’t care anymore. You can go back to hating the players.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        I understand exactly what lockout means. However I also understand that:

        1.) There are half a dozen teams who are always in the red.

        2.) The NHLPA elected to max out the cap escalator every year since the 2005-2006 season which only exacerbates point 1.

        3.) Cap circumventing deals,which both the owners are on the hook for proposing and the players and the NHLPA are on the hook for signing and approving, exacerbate points 1 and 2.

        So, the players can have as much of a dog and pony show as they want. They are a fake union that has to come to grips with the fact that the league has to eliminate loopholes to exploit and level out revenue sharing.

      • Doesnotmatter - Nov 19, 2012 at 9:19 AM

        1. How is that the PA’s problem? Creating or moving existing franchises to non-traditional hockey markets was NHL’s idea. They finally sold one back to Winipeg last year. The NHL owns one of them. Ice hockey in the desert. Brilliant idea.
        2. Getting rid of the cap floor is a good idea. Let the team pay the players what it can afford. If the team sucks, its their problem.
        3. Who gave the players the cap circumventing contracts? The brilliant minds of some GMs that were backed up by the owners money. How can you blame a player for signing the best deal that is on the table? You wouldn’t? The problem is easy to solve. The cap hit for a player is his yearly salary including all bonuses and not the average amount of the whole contract. The cap hit for Parise and Suter would, for example, be 14 million for each this season. Weber’s would be even higher. Salary plus signing bonuses.

        These are professional athletes we are talking about and most of them will easily get jobs somewhere else. Its a shame that a bunch of businessmen are trying to screw them over.

  15. bills4 - Nov 17, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    Fold the season, let these players suffer. Unfortunately we all end up suffering as well but everyone I know is losing interest fast. Sponsors are not going to come back and this game is gonna tank.

  16. sportsfan69 - Nov 17, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    Mr. Mike Russo,

    Thank you for your hard work as a reporter. Your report has created a Checkmate against the NHLPA. Misdirection, deflection is no longer possible by the Fehr brothers. Each time Donald Fehr speaks out like he did yesterday on Sirius (Hockey Night in Canada show), the League needs publish the charts with the facts, so that the NHL fans are reminded of the facts, that the NHLPA needs stay on track with the contractual issues of the agreement. As the Labor negotiator, I’ve worked from both sides of the table. First from the labor side, then from the management side of it, you can appreciate how difficult these agreements can be to accomplish.

    In my professional opinion, once the majority of the players see the facts and understand it, they’ll come around and we’ll have agreement in place. Especially the third and fourth line players, they understand you can’t expect to be paid for a full season without playing the games. This isn’t fantasy land. Donald Fehr’s approach to the negotiations has a major flaw, you represent the players, along with developing an agreement that will allow the league to grow and flourish, to be profitable for all teams. Large and small. He slipped in his comments yesterday, by mentioning his days as the MLBPA chief negotiator in his distrust that he had with the MLB owners. He further elaborated by mentioning the collusion that the MLB owners had with free agency, that this is the same mistrust that he has now with the NHL owners. THAT’S FUNDAMENTALITY WRONG TO DO IN ANY NEGOTIATIONS.

    I say this in all in sincerity, NHLPA abandon your stands in regards to getting a full season salary for a partial season. The public will turn on you. I will get VERY UGLY for you.

  17. wj4122 - Nov 17, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    How about the fans give up 20% of the money they would have spent on hockey this year and form a fan base union and f*%$$ them both out. The fans are the ones truly suffering. And the rookies or the vets who’s career will be ended by this.

  18. capsfan19 - Nov 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM


  19. mattmc20 - Nov 18, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Fact 1: a 50/50 split of $0 is $0. You can fight about “fair shares” all you want but until you have something you are fighting over nothing

    Fact 2: to assume revenue based on previous years is asinine because your product no longer holds the same value. As of now the NHL is worthless. The only people excited to go back would be Wild fans due to their offseason.

    Fact 3: FANS were sold in the previous lockout that a cap would make it more affordable for families (at least that is what Mike Illitch told us in Michigan). After the deal the Wings cap payroll was cut in half but ticket prices remained the same, lining Illitch’s pockets. Until the FANS get some concessions in this agreement they can all rot for what I care.

    THIS GAME HAS FALLEN ON THE SWORD!! They have destroyed something that meant so much to me because of the memories it ties me to with lost family members. But the NHL nor the NHLPA cares about that!

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