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Time For Bettman To Hit The Road

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

When it comes to the National Hockey League and its incessant lockouts, there are still a couple of questions we've never found the answers to:

Like, how is it that the average NHL salary of $2.4 million sits between Major League Baseball's ($3.4 million) and the National Football League ($1.9 million), when hockey's revenues are nowhere close to those other leagues?

And we're still seeking an answer to why one side of this hockey debate gets 57 per cent of the revenues and doesn't pay any of the bills, while the other side gets the 43 per cent, all of the expenses, and carries the financial risk.

But, there is one thing we are absolutely certain of today, as hockey winds through its third lockout in the past 18 years:

It is time for Gary Bettman to go.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Comments

Nathan's avatar

Answer 1:
MLB salaries are higher than NHL and NFL both because baseball has a combination of high revenue, lots of team control, and no salary cap.

NFL salaries are below the NHL because the NFL has won almost every concession from their players that the NHL would like to have. Contracts are not strictly guarantee. Roster sizes are much larger, so even a higher cap ceiling forces teams to fit more into their budget. And as a non-structural factor, the relative shortness of the average players career helps, too. There aren’t a lot of players that stay in the league for a long time playing at high level whereby they earn long-term, big-dollar contracts. The NHL and MLB have much longer average career spans.

Answer 2:
Because that’s what the owners dictated? I mean, seriously. Yes, this answer is partly a cop-out, but the owners got what they wanted, so it’s a little crazy to me that the author can imply unfairness in the HRR splits.

A more valid answer is that the owners make more money that isn’t HRR, but certainly is directly derived from the existence and popularity of the players playing the game on the ice. So the players’ valid argument would be that since they are main attraction, it is sensible that they be entitled to even a smidgen more than 50% of HRR. The owners are able to offset and balance their risks from the revenue streams that aren’t considered (and to be clear, shouldn’t be) HRR, despite a causation linked to hockey being played.

I think those are both legitimate answers. What I will concede here is that the real question becomes, putting all the revenue on the table that even has a sniff of being correlated to hockey, to get a real picture of what the dollars look like. Then, negotiate which things belong in the pie and which don’t. It’d be nice to have more visibility as fans as to these numbers.

Just for the record, I don’t think that 57% is inherently right. I don’t necessarily think it is wrong either. I feel the same way if it were a 50/50 split. The point is, it is difficult for us fans to know because we aren’t privy to the numbers we’d need to make those kinds of judgments.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 10/16/12 at 10:18 AM ET

Avatar

And we’re still seeking an answer to why one side of this hockey debate gets 57 per cent of the revenues and doesn’t pay any of the bills, while the other side gets the 43 per cent, all of the expenses, and carries the financial risk.

I’m curious why people keep bringing this up as if a) the owners are all poor, and b) this is a case of two people doing the same thing with one of them taking 57% of the money that comes in and the other taking 43%.  There are 30 owners (or ownership groups) splitting the 43% while there are more than 660 players splitting the 57%.

To most of the owners, owning an NHL team is a hobby.  None of them are basing their livelihoods on hockey whereas all of the players are putting their bodies, brains, mental health and well-being on the line when they play hockey.

Posted by Garth on 10/16/12 at 10:32 AM ET

awould's avatar

Yes. Also, the HRR doesn’t include all the money the NHL generates. The owners are making money in other places. Also, the owners are allowed to deduct certain expenses from the HRR prior to the split. So, the split of all NHL money isn’t quite as large the 14% makes it seem.

To Garth’s point, if the NHL makes $2B in HRR, each of the 30 owners gets $28,666,667 and each player (30 teams x 23 roster players=690 players) averages $1,652,174. I’ve seen the total number of players who play a single game in the NHL is closer to 980 each season. Not sure how it’s broken out for the 57% the players get though. So that $1,652,174 number is likely higher than reality.

I believe the owners still have to pay a lot of that out in other expenses, like team employees, arena costs and management/coaches, but it is still significantly higher than any average player. It’s fair that the owners walk away with more, they are the owners after all, but it doesn’t help them dispel the notion that they’re greedy.

Posted by awould on 10/16/12 at 10:51 AM ET

Avatar

I’ve seen the total number of players who play a single game in the NHL is closer to 980 each season.

Yeah, I just used the basic equation of 30 (teams) x 22 (roster size)= 660 because I don’t know if/how prospects on AHL rosters or playing in the CHL etc figure into this equation.

Posted by Garth on 10/16/12 at 11:43 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I think the NHLPA had something like 720 members last time I saw a number on it.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/16/12 at 04:47 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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