Monday, July 16, 2012

DJ's Soapbox: Owners and their growing piece of pie

Last year it was the NFL and the NBA both looking a work stoppage dead in the eye. The NFL, got an agreement done before the season, however the NBA missed quite a chunk of it's regular season. It was not too long ago, 2004-2005 that the NHL missed it's entire season. Why are all these labor negotiations going sour? What's the deal? How can these multi-millionaires be so upset with life that they cease to operate the league, simply because the players and owners can't get along?

A huge hang up for both sides, in each respective league, is the revenue sharing. The owners in each league are wanting a bigger piece of that tasty revenue pie. The NHL operated last season with players getting 57% of the revenue, while the owners had to settle for a less delectable 43%. Now the owners in the NHL are seeking a 54% share of the revenue, reducing the players to 46%. Sounds great if you're an owner of an NHL franchise, if you're a player you've surely came to screeching stop saying, "Woah, you want HOW much of that pie?!"

This opening proposal from the NHL owners is absurd to say the least, with 5 points that were initially stated. However, I'm only here to discuss the revenue sharing. I think it's a joke that the owners expect a bigger share than the players. With 30 teams in the NHL, there are 30 owners (or ownership groups), a full NHL line-up is 18 skaters and 2 goalies, that's a minimum of 600 players (and there are far more than that). So even if a 50-50 split is agreed upon, one half is being spread evenly among 30 owners and the other going to 600 players. Seems a little bit unfair to me.

When is the last time that 18,000 fans dressed up in a suit just like the one the team owner is wearing? Most fans probably don't know the name of their team's owner but they buy tickets, memorabilia, and food at the concessions. They definitely don't spend their money with the owners in mind, but the players, the product on the field, court, or ice. Sure, some may think athletes are over-paid, but they sacrifice their family life, keep a tight diet, and a rigorous work out routine to be at their highest level of performance. The owners don't exactly live a tough life, but reap all the benefits of the athletes being dedicated to the team and sport. But one has to believe that the Sports Entertainment industry is like any other, the guys at the top sit back in their office, while the grunts do all the work and make considerably less money.

Players are the ones who the fans buy tickets to see, and they deserve a bigger share than that of the owners. For a group of considerably less people to receive a bigger share than the much larger group that drives the industry is laughable. It's just another example of the higher-ups wanting more for themselves, although they don't really have to lift a finger to keep the league alive. The entertainment is in watching the athletes compete, not listening to the guys in suits cry about their paycheck not being ridiculously large enough. I truly believe the athletes deserve the bigger share, not 70-30 or anything like that but I truly think a 55-45 split in favor of athletes should be more than acceptable.

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