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The NHL and players’ union are engaged in an epic staring match. And the fans want their hockey, so why isn’t anyone blinking? Let’s break it down…
Why the Lockout Should End Soon
1. Both sides have already agreed in principle to a 50/50 split on revenue. Just like NBA and NFL players did. The players will agree to reduce their share from 57 per cent but want the owners to honour existing contracts which means it will take two or three years for the players share to drop from 57 per cent to 50 per cent.
2. If the lockout drags on for much longer then hockey revenue will decrease – perhaps significantly – and the two sides will be splitting up a smaller pie. This is a lose/lose scenario that both sides understand. In addition, several owners are trying to sell their teams and an extended lockout will result in a lower sale price.
3. The NHL does not want to start off on a bad foot with NBC and wants the Winter Classic and the related HBO TV show “ 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” to take place again this year.
Why the Lockout May Not End Soon
1. The owners’ hidden agenda is trying to weaken or eliminate the players union. The NHL recently instructed owners to try and talk directly with the players. In the labour relations area this is a very risky strategy. It is pretty much guaranteed to further sour the relationship between Mr. Bettman and Mr. Fehr because Mr. Fehr will consider the strategy to be a blatant attempt to undermine his leadership.
2. The players or the owners decide to draw an arbitrary line in the sand and refuse to make any further concessions.
If a deal is not reached by the beginning of December then we believe negotiations will go into a deep freeze and whenever a deal is reached it will take years for the game to recover financially.
So, to the NHL and players union, all together now…. BLINK… while it still matters to your fans.