NHL Lockout Over…..Who Won?

With the lockout finally seeming to be over, it’s time to start looking ahead to the upcoming season, which is going to start seemingly in the blink of an eye. After 113-day struggle between the owners and players, there were many clear losers and only really one winner.  It’s nice to have something tangible to write about though, it’s been awhile.  So, how do I “score” the lockout?

If you are a player, do you really feel like you “won”?  C’mon now, let’s be realistic for a minute, the players have lost 34/82ths of their paychecks, not to mention missing out on all the growth revenue that comes with the now non-existent Winter Classic and All-Star games that fell victim to the work stoppage. Add to that all of the casual fans that have spent their entertainment dollars elsewhere and it’s easy to see that players will likely “lose” further with escrow payments when revenues inevitably fall short of projections.

As for the owners, they don’t really fare all that much better, especially in the short-term, as they have lost all that revenue and garnered all the ill will that came with the lockout.  While you could make the argument they will better off with the financial terms of this CBA in the long run, I don’t see how anyone can argue they benefited from the lockout, even with the gain in share of HRR from 43% to 50%.  After all, 43% of a projected 3.3 billion in revenues is a lot more than 50% of say, $2 billion.

Let’s not overlook the real losers of the lockout and that’s the average people out there that have their income tied to the National Hockey League.  Whether it’s your ticket takers, vendors, suppliers, team employees or local bars/restaurants near NHL arenas etc, these are the people that truly lost the most from this madness.  Unfortunately, most of them will be unable to get back what was lost from the loss of 34 regular season games 3-5 preseason home dates as well.

Whom do you ask “won” the lockout of 2013?  The answer is easy and can be summed up in one word…. Lawyers.  Lots of billable hours.  Sure, you may find some things that help a few owners and/or players, but at the end of the day, too much money and time was “wasted” on lawyers.  You can even add Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr to the mix, as they are both attorneys as well.   Beyond that, I don’t see anyone having won.  What do you guys think?

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  1. Sergei says:

    KHL’s fans won! Thanks to Mr. Bettman & Mr. Fehr!
    In Saint-Petersburg I saw the play of Kovalchuk, Chara, Bobrovsky and other nhl’s players. It was great!

    P.S. In waiting of Sochi 2014.

    • Levinakl says:

      Fair enough, that is a winner I overlooked as well, glad you got the chance to enjoy your hometown guys.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Garrison says:

    Winner: Owners
    Losers: Players; Workers with NHL; Unions; Workers nationwide

    Owners decided to just ignore existing contracts. Try that with your phone contract and see what happens, but it seems to be okay with big business in the last decades starting with the dismantling of the Air Traffic Controllers union by Reagan. With the demise of unions all worker salaries will drop over time. Have you seen your pay go up in that time? Are you keeping up with inflation?

    I know I know, the players make lots of money playing a game. The owners do too. But actually most players do not make a lot nor play long nor do they have a lot of skills for their next job when done. Yes, the top ones make millions, but look at the bottom before you judge (true for all professional sports).

    For those workers directly dependent upon any sporting or entertainment activity that is unfortunately part of the game. When a musical or play closes they lose their jobs. I do wish they could get insurance for this kind of activity/action and both the owners and the player union could have made that part of the agreement to find a policy for them. With their power they could have found one with a company for the next time. And there will be a next time. What stops the owners from doing it again and again and again? Union busting used to be illegal and the right to strike controlled by when the CBA was no longer in effect. What happened to that?

    If I was the players union I would start looking into buying/starting a minor league team up as a hedge. Even if they had to start their own minor league across the country in select big cities. Not a lot just enough to make them a protection unit. To help it fly they could have retired players games to pull in fans. They could even be non-profit until needed; to help the “sport” and develop players.

    Okay, by now you figure I am a union person. Yes and no. But I am fond of history and know about how much sweat, blood, and even lives were given up to bring people what is taken for granted: 40 hr work week, collective bargaining, and the right to strike, etc. Those are not permanent, look at the Patriot Act to see how fast you can lose your rights and freedoms.

    So who won, rich people, gee what a surprise in America.

    • levinakl says:

      Wow, that is a lot to digest.

      As a pro-union guy, you’re pretty clear where you stand on the issues, but the thing I never understood about unions is when (and I’m not saying it’s always) the union would rather benefit itself and have a company go out of business than to take a “hit.” If unions could find themselves to be more flexible, I’d be able to still buy Wonder bread and/or Twinkies, etc. (Just an example).

      Unions do a lot of good, but like anything else they have their drawbacks, so while this could be a debate until the stars align, this is a hockey site, so I will try to refrain from the non-hockey argument.

      The point of how owners lost is this, they now get a higher percentage of revenues, but the revenue pool is lower, so saying rich people “won,” is inaccurate. It’s a very shortsighted thing to say because let’s face it, neither the players nor owners are hurting. yes, I understand the normal shelf life of an NHL career isn’t high, but for the fringe players, getting a ‘real job’ isn’t the end of the world either, it’s what most people do, they work for a living. Sniffing the NHL shouldn’t set you up for life.

      There are a lot of ways to look at it, but overall, this lockout didn’t do a lot of people good, as I said, only the lawyers really won with their billable hours. I see the point Sergei mentioned about Russians being able to see their guys play at home a bit, but beyond that, this lockout was a big lose lose lose.

      The PA won the last deal because Bettman dropped the ball on many issues. Just because the PA “won” the last CBA doesn’t entitle them to win this one…. Fundamentally, it’s supposed to be a joint win, although it never works out that way, so both sides roll the dice and things fall where they may.