It all seems so simple doesn’t it? The NHL’s owners want X percentage of HRR and the players want Y percentage. Why can’t the two sides just meet somewhere in the middle and the world be a better place?
Ever been to Bangkok’s Patpong Market? Here’s how an interaction might go:
Me: How much for this T-shirt?
Salesman: I give you very good deal… thirty dollars!
Me: I’ll give you five dollars.
Salesman: (looks at me like I just turned purple) You crazy. Gimme real price.
Me: Six dollars?
Salesman: (shakes his head as if I’m incoherent)
Me: (pretend to be walking away)
You know how it ends. We eventually settle on a price of $7 or so and the salesman has still made a 50 per cent markup.
According to this chart created by the Globe and Mail‘s James Mirtle, the players are asking for 54.3 per cent (decreasing to 52.4 per cent by 2016-17) of HRR this season, while the NHL is asking for 49 per cent (decreasing to 47 per cent by 2016-17).
On the surface, and to many fans, they’re only 5 per cent off each other’s offers, but that’s not really the case. Problem is, the NHLPA is actually asking for a two per cent pay increase next season (followed by a four per cent, and six per cent in the following two years), based on the assumption that league revenues increase seven per cent. Essentially, they are asking for $1,907.4 billion regardless of league revenues. In other words, if league revenues stayed the same as last year, the players share of HRR would actually increase to 58 per cent!
The owners, on the other hand, want salaries tied to revenues. Right now, they’ve asked for 49 per cent, but Gary Bettman has said they’re willing to negotiate that number.
What’s strange to me is that the majority of the public is siding with the players. The “billionaire owners” want more money for themselves, and they’re locking the players out, so they’re the ones at fault. But it’s a little ridiculous that the players are requesting a guaranteed raise, is it not?
Solution: the players must agree to accept a certain share of HRR this season. That’s the philosophical difference here. Once they do that, they can shoot for the stars like the Patpong market salesman and ask for 75 per cent of HRR for all I care. Heck, the owners pretty much did that with their original 44 per cent proposal.
At least they’d be speaking the same language. Then they’d negotiate and come to a number both are happy with.
Holy shit, it is so simple!