from Gary Belsky of Time,
You may not have noticed that the NHL hasn’t started its season yet, which is arguably Problem #1 for the wannabe major sport league: Ice hockey is fourth in a three-horse race of professional team sports vying for the affection of casual U.S. sports fans. Problem #1A is the lockout of players that’s been in force since Sept. 15, which has resulted in the cancellation of nearly 550 regular-season games to date. And in the event you are following the inaction rinkside, don’t be fooled when league officials or anyone else claims that the main issue is greedy players. The real problem in pro hockey is not in the locker room, but rather in the owners’ suites and commissioner’s office.The NHL would like you to believe that owners give too much money to players. That was the owners’ position almost a decade ago—the last time the league locked out its talent—when players were getting 74% of total revenues. After an entire season was voided, the NHL Players Association caved, agreeing to lower its members’ share of revenue to 57%. Peace and harmony have ensued since, but now the owners want an even bigger piece of the pie, claiming financial hardship.
Don’t believe them, not for a minute. First, as I’ve written about before, sports team accounting is misleading at best, given that owners can claim to be losing money when a) they’re often really not; b) there are tax benefits from those losses that are real; and c) the value of their teams continue to rise.
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