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Monday, January 7, 2013

When Suddenly. . . Nothing Happened

Owners and players. These are the two principal sides in labor negotiations for any major sporting organization. For what it's worth, they are also the principal sides in negotiations involving the National Hockey League. Today, after a lockout that lasted nearly long enough to actually draw attention, NHL players and owners reached an agreement that will result in a shortened season beginning later this week.

Fundamentally, the issue came down--as it usually does--to revenue sharing. What percentage of league revenue goes to owners and what to players. Now, I'm a union guy, so I personally believe the majority of revenue should go to the players--the people who actually do the work that generates the revenue from the people who like to watch. Or, y'know, whatever it is that people do at hockey games. Even if, say, the players were to receive, say, 70% of revenues, that still means that 30 owners would divide 30%, while over 600 players would divide the rest. Of course, in the labor negotiations just concluded, the players were not realistically expecting to receive anything close to 70%; under the terms of the previous collective bargaining agreement, they received something like 57%, and the owners wanted them to receive less.

Now, of course, while the lockout continued, nobody received any revenue, so it would seem to have been in everyone's interest to resolve things as quickly as possible. For simplicity's sake, one could have simply proposed that each side take 50% of revenues and be done with it.

Obviously, this is a thoroughly uninformed opinion. I'm certain many factors must be considered to arrive at a fair and reasonable split. So what WAS the final settlement, after weeks and weeks of stagnation and the loss of millions of dollars and measureless reserves of goodwill?


Yeah, that was certainly worth it.

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