It looks like I am going to lose my bet with Philco. You watch, those bastards will start playing on Jan 4th or something. But the rumblings from folks in the know seem to be optimistic that they are close enough on the key issues that they can get it done, even though both sides seem stubborn as hell...so I am also optimistic that we will play.
And I guess I'm one of the few folks who are on the owner's side, if just slightly.
Blues could lose with new labor contracthttp://www.stltoday.com/sports/hockey/blues-could-lose-with-new-labor-contract/article_9271fa65-9ceb-5824-999c-166e0df9bda7.html
By Jeremy Rutherford firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if the NHL is ultimately deemed the “winner” of the collective bargaining negotiations, it may not mean a victory for the Blues.
The franchise lost an estimated $20 million during the 2011-12 season, so it doesn’t take a sports economist to figure out that the best-case scenario for Tom Stillman’s new ownership group would have been a rollback in players’ salaries.
The NHL’s initial offer, last July, suggested dropping the players’ share of hockey related revenue to 43 percent from 57 percent under the previous agreement. That was never expected to fly with the union, and now with the sides still unable to produce a new CBA despite agreeing on a 50-50 split, it’s difficult to project which concessions will eventually be made by either side.
The league and the union communicated again Thursday through federal mediators but no progress was made.
A strong possibility even if there is a breakthrough in the four-month-old lockout is that the Blues won’t benefit regardless of how negotiations end up, and thus the momentum created from a 109-point regular season and trip to the playoffs in ’11-12 will be met with backlash despite no explainable gain.
The union has agreed to a seven-percent cutback in “HRR” and moved toward the NHL on contract issues, but the league’s agreement to pay $300 million in “make-whole” money, honoring players’ existing contracts, could create a larger challenge than many small- and mid-market franchises expected after the negotiations.
Many believe the Blues are among a group of clubs not thrilled with the NHL’s decision to increase its make-whole offer from $211 million, and while that proposal is reportedly off the table, it would likely return in exchange for contract concessions by the union.
The resulting aftermath – fair or unfair to players – will be a difficulty for the Blues to foresee turning a profit, even though they have ticket prices ranked in the bottom-third of the NHL and had two rounds of layoffs on the business side during the lockout.
The league established a record revenue in 2011-12 of $3.3 billion but did itself no favors boasting about those gains, considering that its also facing record costs. Last month, Forbes reported that three teams – Toronto, New York Rangers and Montreal – accounted for 83 percent of the league’s income, while 13 of the 30 clubs – including the Blues – lost money.
The league has failed to deliver the message in these negotiations that there is a “business need” for many struggling franchises to fix the economic system. Instead, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has dropped lines such as “we’re paying the players too much,” which only motivated the union’s contingency.
Forbes valued the Blues at $130 million, ranking them last among the 30 teams in the league. With a payroll that would have been close to $51 million in 2012-13, ranking 26th according to Capgeek.com, another projected financial loss this season illustrates the vulnerability of the franchise.
The Blues have continued to collect from the NHL’s revenue-sharing program, and according to recent CBA negotiations, the total amount of those funds will increase to as much as $200 million from $140 million. However, several league sources have confirmed that as many as seven to eight teams could be added to the recipient group, meaning that clubs such as the Blues would actually get back less than they have received in the past.
Toronto, despite a Forbes’ value of $1 billion after turning a profit of $81.9 million last season, tops the list of money-making teams that don’t seem willing to split the pie more evenly, and so far, the NHL hasn’t shown a desire to make that happen.
The assertion that only the “big boys” have Bettman’s ear has proved to have validity during the lockout and questioning why the clubs with less influence haven’t banded together to make their voices heard is legitimate. But that movement would now to be too late, as negotiations, seen to be going in the league’s favor, have crossed the point of real returns for many teams.
For the Blues, even the NHL’s contractual priorities aren’t necessarily appetizing.
The NHL set out to ensure that teams would have players’ rights for 10 years instead of seven, which would have helped keep the Blues’ young core intact, but the league has backed off that. The NHL, meanwhile, has insisted on limiting signed contracts to a maximum length of five years (seven with the player’s current team), which could shorten the Blues’ plans on the term for defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s next deal.
At this point, the lone development viewed as a potential positive for teams such as the Blues is the expected decrease in the salary cap. The projected cap is $70.2 million, and while transition rules to get all teams below a lower cap have yet to be agreed upon, clubs may eventually be forced to unload players, some of whom the Blues may be in position to target.
That, however, would mean spending more money. While new ownership has indicated a flexibility to increase payroll to upgrade the roster, it may not be wise for a franchise attempting to limit its losses and find stable footing.
After taking steps toward that end last season, the Blues could be facing a lose-lose proposition when the CBA talks wrap up.
I'm just tired of players demanding this and demanding that when almost half of the teams are losing money and 83% of the league's revenue is brought in by three teams. The players make guaranteed money, and a lot of it. The average salary in the NHL right now is over $2 million/year, which is higher than the average salary in the NFL.
Players are talking about if they sign this deal or that deal, they'll be losing x many dollars. Well you know what? You guys have been vastly overpaid for over a couple decades now, and we've seen three work stoppages because of it.
The owners have proven they aren't responsible enough to balance their books, so certain things have to be worked into the CBA to prevent folks from overspending and making sure teams don't lose $20, 30, 40 million every year.
The owners aren't playing with guaranteed money, the players are. Once a player signs a contract, they are getting the money (well, as long as a new CBA doesn't roll it back some), but still, even with a roll back, no matter how unfair that is, they are getting paid and making a lot of money. The same can't be said for the owners.
It's a sad day when your employees are making truckloads of money, but the bosses & ownership groups are losing money...of course, that is, if you believe the books. And its' all we have to go by..even though part of me doesn't think teams lose quite as much as they say...but I have no proof, so whatever.