Donald Fehr had a good day in the media yesterday. The appealing part of the NHLPA's CBA proposal was that the players are apparently willing to put a cap on salary growth over the next three seasons, but want to avoid a rollback of current salaries or a straight-out reduction in their share of Hockey Related Revenues. Let the small-market teams benefit from overall league growth by redirecting new money into a "more aggressive and targeted" revenue sharing scheme.
How forward-thinking, many wrote. How magnanimous.
Note especially Donald Fehr's phrasing in the media scrum after yesterday's session. He basically said that if the NHL continued to grow revenues at the post-2005 rate, the giveback by the players would amount to roughly $465 million. Then, in a real eyebrow-raiser, he said if that growth continued at the pace of the last couple seasons, that figure could approach $800 million. Wowza!
That ain't happening, though.
Last season, two major new business deals drove a huge revenue boost for the league compared to 2010-2011. First, there's the broadcast agreement with NBC and its affiliated channels, worth $200 million per season. Secondly, Molson became the league's North American beer sponsor for seven years and $375 million (averaging out to $53.5M per season). Add in the benefit of moving a franchise from Atlanta to Winnipeg (where they sold out every game with some of the highest ticket prices in the league) and 2011-2012 looks like a year when a lot of very good things came together.
Those major boosts are already on the books, so expecting similar levels of revenue growth in the years ahead may be unrealistic. The concessions touted by the NHLPA could be significant if that growth continued, but if not? The owners would not get any benefit.
Fehr's proposal could be seen as a move to lock in the gains the NHL has already achieved and will benefit from in the years ahead, while the owners seem intent on making sure they get more of the cash regardless of whether revenues continue to grow or not. As Gary Bettman said this afternoon, there is a still a "wide gap" between the two sides.
Did you really expect anything different? If the NHLPA proposal was such a bold and innovative way to ensure the overall success of the league, wouldn't the owners have thought of it already? Whether or not you agree with that statement, you can bet that thought has crossed many owners' minds!
You're afternoon hockey notes contain more on the CBA and other items from around the league...
Nashville Predators News
One month out: The NHL labor talks and how the Preds may benefit | nashvillepost.com
J.R. makes an exhaustive run through the CBA story to this point, and how the Preds might benefit from things like increased revenue sharing and the ability to trade cap space.
Nashville Predators CEO Jeff Cogen knows team's money limits | The Tennessean
In order to support a competitive team, you can expect regular price increases going forward.
Can Craig Smith earn an opportunity at center?
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Grange on NHL: Cloaked in compromise - sportsnet.ca
Michael Grange points out that the NHLPA proposal wasn't quite the bouquet of roses some made it out to be.
Gary Bettman says ‘wide gap’ remains in NHL labour talks - The Globe and Mail
The Commish rains on the parade some members of the media were planning for Donald Fehr.
Why I Want To Kill Game Time - St. Louis Game Time
I can certainly sympathize.
Pacioretty Signs For What? - Habs Eyes On The Prize
Habs fans are giddy over the deal that locks up this goal-scoring power forward for 6 years.