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Jets owner justifies lockout

Jan 10, 2013, 4:15 PM EDT

Mark Chipman AP

Mark Chipman isn’t convinced that the NHL’s new 10-year CBA will solve all the league’s problems; however, the Jets’ owner knew something had to be done – even if it meant another prolonged lockout – to ensure all 30 franchises had a better chance to be profitable.

“We had studied the league very carefully leading up to buying the team,” Chipman told the Winnipeg Free Press on Wednesday. “I came to the conclusion the lockout in 2004-05 created a significant correction in the model but hadn’t gone all the way. There were still big holes and they needed to be filled or the operation of a 30-team league was going to be fiction.”

So…is the NHL fixed now?

“It certainly is a lot closer,” said Chipman. “Is it optimal? I’m not sure yet. Let me put it to you this way, if this doesn’t work by the time the deal expires, I’m not sure what the next step would be. This ought to give all the teams in the league a chance to be viable.”

As for Gary Bettman, Chipman had nothing but good things to say and is “very, very” supportive of the commissioner:

“There wouldn’t be a team in Winnipeg but for Gary and I owe him for that and I always will. I also admire how he handled this very difficult negotiation.”

  1. hockeyflow33 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Less teams offering $200 season tickets and more Canadian franchises would probably help

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:09 PM

      More Canadian franchises? Sure. No issue there. But what exactly is the issue with Vinik issuing a limited number of cheap season tickers in an attempt to reach out to fans after an extremely controversial lockout? How exactly is encouraging fans to return a bad thing?

      • tbbolts91 - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:21 PM

        well said mr jenkins

  2. elemeno89 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    not all businesses make profits 100% of the time. even larger fortune 500 companies post quarterly losses every now and again. it’s part of the risk you take when purchasing the business. i understand that there are owners in this to make cash, but buying teams in crap markets wont fix that. and if these guys really want to own a business to make money, they really aren’t in the right profession and should probably make a decision towards something other than athletic franchises…

    • halfcentaur - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:08 PM

      So you think that owners not only not making profit, but actually paying millions of dollars a year to operate a franchise isn’t a problem? If nobody thinks they can make money from owning a team, then who is going to buy them when they get put up for sale? Do you want to see 6 or 7 teams on life support and struggling to maintain from year to year like Phoenix is/was? “If you want to make money then don’t own a pro franchise” yeah that’s SUCH a better solution. So nobody should buy small market teams, and if they do they should just accept the fact that they’ll lose millions of dollars a year? That is stupid.

      And it’s not that they once in a while suffer a quarterly loss then make a billion dollars the next quarter like those Fortune 500 companies you mention, it’s that they suffer a loss then suffer another loss, then another, then another, and so on. It is not the same thing at all. If owners can’t make money, they’ll leave. If nobody buys the team, the league contracts. If the league contracts, that means less hockey for fans to watch and less markets to grow in. It also means less jobs for players so it’s also in the unions best interest to keep the league expanding and profitable.

      In short, people like you REALLY don’t know what they’re talking about….

      • mp1131211 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        Are they really paying millions per year, or is it millions out of their inflated pay? I run a business and know first hand that there are many ways to make your books look different depending on what you want you outcome to be. For example, if my biz brought in 100k in a year, but I pay myself 90k, that only leaves 10k for expenses and taxes before I have to start using my “own money” to keep the business open. But its not really my money because I over paid myself when I decided to take 90 percent of what came in. But on paper, its a loss, when in reality I just should have paid myself 30 k and used whatever left over from expenses to mark as profit.

        These owners aren’t “losing” anything. They are simply not making as much as they would like to.

      • mp1131211 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        If owners were REALLY putting in millions of their own hard earned cash, they would just shut it down. Plain and simple. But that isn’t happening. These are PAPER losses, not real losses, that we are talking about.

      • elemeno89 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:50 PM

        1.) your quote “If you want to make money then don’t own a pro franchise”, is not an actual quote from my comment. so that makes me think you don’t know what a quote is.

        2.) don’t be demeaning about what i know and don’t know. you don’t know my education background, nor personal connection to family owned businesses (which i know cant be compared to multi million dollar franchises) in which the basic methods still hold true.

        3.) if contraction is needed causing franchises in poor markets that dont make money to fold, maybe its time to explore those options. it sucks to hear, but you and i both know that there are more reasons as to why those franchises don’t make it, and most of those reasons don’t rely on cutting player salaries.

        let’s take phoenix. Greg Jamison. the guy was approved by the leagues over six months ago to buy the team, and the last time i read he was still looking to find the funds to close the purchase. the man is buying a business that he cant afford. now maybe something might happen to change my mind, but it looks to me he’s out and the league is going to have to step in again to keep the club from moving.

        let’s take dallas. the team cant even fill their seats. i remember reading an article on puck daddy last season where the attendance for the SECOND GAME OF THE SEASON was just over 6,000. thats horrible. there is no way you can make money by not filing the seats, which is the primary product of purchase for these franchises. its like dunkin donuts making a profit by not selling coffee and donuts.

        i dont want to get in to every team, and why they lose money. but still, its clear to see that there are issues amongst the owners that have caused much mroe damage to the sport. i really do hope that one day we can have a 30-32 team league that flourishes, but having a lockout every 8-10 years to fix what was supposed to be a perfect system is not a good method. you lose the trust, and brand loyalty of your market and primary investors, which are the fans.

  3. alexo0 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    “…or the operation of a 30-team league was going to be fiction.”

    Now they just need to realize that thinking a 30-team league can work is pure fantasy.

    • halfcentaur - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      Or maybe the players need to realize that average players earning $4-5 mil a year is a fantasy. Businesses need to be profitable. Period. If they’re being bled dry then eventually they will fold. If they fold then lots of people, including players, coaches, GMs, stadium employees and concession workers, are out of work. But yeah, let’s allow all this to happen because millionaire athletes who do what they love for a living and essentially get to live out their dreams “don’t get paid enough”. That’s so much more logical.

      • blugold94 - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

        Just to be clear….you believe everything an NHL owner says? Also to be clear…..any financial issues the NHL and it’s underappreciated owners have is because of greedy players?

        Also, the whole idea that people who do things they love should be paid less than those people who do work they hate is ridiculous. You sound like those “fans” who always say “I’d play for half he does”…..

  4. fortwaynekomets - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    Did I just read we will be facing another lockout in 8 years?

    0h Lordy Lordy!

    • mp1131211 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      Yes. That is exactly what I read

    • Doesnotmatter - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:36 AM


  5. Jeff - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I wasn’t opposed to the owners side. I was and am mad because it shouldn’t have taken as long as it did to resolve the issues.

  6. 8man - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    This is really what it was about. The owners have decided that a 30 team league is the right thing for the league to grow and be successful. What we think is irrelevant. It ain’t our money. Same can be said of the players. It ain’t their money. So the financial structure must exist for this be viable. End. Of. Story.

    Some of you are being cavalier and saying, “Contract!” Do you think the NHLPA wants six or ten less teams in operation? Really?

    I’m a Bruins fan. They’ll be the franchise that turns out the lights if the NHL ever closes. But some of you who are fans of fringe teams need to understand, just as Chipman laid it out, how important greater cost certainty is any operation. Or group of operations.

  7. csilojohnson - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    30 teams in 30 cities that want a hockey team could work. Unfortunatly thats not the case.

  8. creek0512 - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    A good commissioner would have united the small market teams and created real revenue sharing like what baseball has.

    • mgdsquiggy17 - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:41 PM

      except you forgot to mention the huge TV deals that MLB is now getting which the NHL can only dream of getting close too. Hockey doesn’t have nearly the same fan base as baseball (especially the casual fans). How many times have you heard of fans going to a hockey game to experience the arena or just get out like you do in baseball? Sit in the sun have a beer and enjoy the day even if you don’t care about the game. Hockey has very very die hard fans but there is such a big drop after that.

  9. Jeff - Jan 13, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    It doesn’t matter the amount of revenue generated. MLB might have more money to share than NHL, but the NHL could still share it earns.

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