Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I do not know who is more foolish

It really is a toss-up.  Who is more foolish, the NHL owners or the NHL players?

Last year the league raked in $3.3 billion, which is more than the GDP of a significant number of countries around the world.  Yet the owners and the players would derail this gravy train, for the second time in less than a decade, because they cannot come up with a way to share that amount.

You would think that with revenues being that high they would realize that there is more than enough to go around and that everybody could come away being very wealthy.  True some would be wealthier than others but really everybody concerned would make more money than the average fan in their lifetime.

The owners first offer was outrageous.  As an opening gambit in a negotiation asking the players to take a 24% pay cut while ignoring ways the owners could assist some of their poorer brethren was hopelessly unreasonable.  I understand that opening gambits are supposed to be somewhat unreasonable but this one was unreasonable in the extreme.  I also realize that some of the teams in the league are having financial difficulty but alot of that could be resolved by pulling some of these teams out of non-traditional hockey markets and putting teams into places where profitable teams would be virtually guaranteed. 

The players first offer was clever as it gave the appearance of being conciliatory but it really was a outright rejection of the owners offer and their point of view.  I understand that the players want to keep the gains they have achieved in the last seven years but it is hard to feel any sympathy for them when the most untalented hack, whose only function on a team is to end the career of the stars on opposing teams, can earn a minimum salary of over a half a million dollars. (And if they are successful in their function enough times they get raises to over a million per year.)

If I were a betting man I would bet a fair chunk of money on the NHL season not starting on schedule in October and considering the two main negotiators are Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr I would bet that hockey fans will be denied an entire NHL season. 

What I would not bet on however is that either of the two sides suffering any consequences for their actions.  I imagine that fans will flock back and pay the outrageous sums for tickets, concessions and merchandise whenever NHL hockey restarts regardless of what happens in the next few months.

So I guess I should make an addendum to my opening question.  Who is more foolish, the NHL owners, the NHL players or NHL fans?


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