To some, sports are irrelevant in their everyday lives, where others not only follow sports, but live for their game. If this wasn’t the case, then professional sports wouldn’t be the multi-billion dollar markets that they are today.
Essentially, fans are customers to professional sports. Our hard earned money that we spend on every ticket and piece of merchandise sold pays for their salaries. So when it comes to the sport of Hockey, where the NHL is in a season jeopardizing lock-out, what are fans supposed to do?
Our loyalty to the sport is simply unappreciated as the Owners and Players Union opt to delay playing time over revenue sharing.
Like in all professional sports, except baseball, the NHL has a collective bargaining agreement which is a contractual agreement between the team’s owners and the players that divvies up the revenues.
This so called “Hockey Related Revenue” determines a salary cap that each team can spend on their roster every season. Teams are to stay within the cap limits in order to make the league an even playing field.
Well, this past summer, the leagues’ current collective bargaining agreement had expired after being in effect for the past five seasons. The previous CBA had revenues split 57% in favor of the players and 43% to the owners. That sharing brought the salary cap up to 70.2 Million Dollars according to capgeek.com, for each team to spend on their players rosters.
This brings us where we are today, over two months of a season lost and still no new CBA. The owner’s and player’s association have been meeting and negotiating on and off since August with little progress to show for it.
In a nutshell, the owners have argued a point that the players’ current 57% is too much and is causing higher market franchises to have “stacked rosters”. They make a point that is the reason lower market teams suffer in revenues due to lack luster team performances and standings.
Well, if you are a player, this would obviously make you feel outraged that someone wants to cut your salary limits back. They argue that it’s the owners to blame for this problem back from the beginning and don’t feel they should be the ones to suffer from it.
That brings us to where we are today; ongoing meetings and bargaining sessions but no hockey season. It’s the fans that suffer the most, as this would be the prime time in the year for us to gather and watch hockey games. The simple fact is that neither the owners nor players would be who they are without us. Halting a season just to fight over how the pie is split is a slap in the face to fans.
The least they could’ve done is play under the current CBA until a new agreement is reached, but the owners refused to go that route. Back in 2005, during the last NHL lockout, the third whole season in the history of the sport was completely cancelled.
Many fans were lost and statistics show that it took all the way up until last year to regain the ratings and viewers that they had pre-lockout. Many fans have lost hope already and don’t plan on returning when a new season begins. That’s yet another blow that the league will suffer over this non sense.
Many can argue that either side is right or wrong, but it’s easy to see that both sides are at fault. There is still some hope that we will see some sort of a shortened season, much like the NBA had last year.
As customers of the sport, the league expects us to return as normal, but what have they done for us? We’ve lost playing time and will most likely see increased ticket and merchandise prices to make up for their lost time. I will be back, as I’ve always been an avid hockey fan, but this just goes to show that in our world, money is everything.