The players are complaining about lost revenue but the NHL is also keeping 5 - 6 teams afloat who should be bankrupt.
How do you figure that?
Before the last CBA teams spent around 75% of all revenue on players' salaries and benefits. With the last CBA, owners not only got a salary cap which limited players' compensation to 54-57% of some revenue minus some costs
they also got players to take a 24% immediate rollback on every remaining year of every contract. And while the league as a whole thrived, with revenue increasing by about 50% over the course of the last CBA and owners getting about $3B of revenue that would have previously gone to players (source
), their team revenue sharing program instituted in that CBA only shared (at the end) $150M, or 4.5% of HRR. (Compare that to the NFL's 80% sharing of team and league revenue (source
) or the MLB's teams sharing 31% of their profits.) Despite the players already agreeing to drop their share yet again by another 7%, owners only want to increase revenue sharing to around $200M (assuming League-wide revenues of $3.3B)
, which would represent only about 7% total of HRR. So, the players are literally giving up as much, if not more, this CBA alone than the owners are sharing in total.
And if you look closely at the money losing teams you'll see it's often not the NHL propping them up, but taxpayers. Look no further than the sweet deal the poor "money losing" owners of Florida Panthers have. They got an arena built for them and get paid to manage it, while getting to keep the lion's share of profits for themselves and are even allowed to transfer profits from the arena management company to the team itself (money, by the way, not included in HRR and therefor outside the system and unaccounted for in any public numbers!) The arena itself has made $117.4M in profits since the taxpayers built it, and yet the taxpayers have received only $331,000 of those profits. (source
) Every other penny went to the "money losing" Panthers, while taxpayers continue to pay off the loans they had to take out for the arena, pay for the arena management, lose tax revenue in luxury tax breaks for the team, AND take responsibility for paying loans the team defaults on whenever they have a rough year.
And what of Phoenix, the poster child for NHL "propping up"? Well, the ICE hockey team in the middle of the freakin' desert that the NHL took ownership of (and then turned away attempts to buy and relocate) receives a whopping $25M a year from the TAXPAYERS of Gelndale (as payment to the registered non-profit that is the NHL for running the for-profit company that is the Coyotes despite serious budget shortfalls that have led to 49 city employee jobs being cut!) By comparison, in 2008/09 (the only year we have a record for, due to the team's bankruptcy filing) the NHL gave the Coyotes $13.5M, or just over half
of what taxpayers gave them last season. (source
Worse still, the politicians have committed Phoenix taxpayers to paying any future owner $15M a year, even while still paying off the $12M a year cost to the taxpayers to build the arena. (source
) So, to be clear: Greg Jamison, the likely new owner (source
) will pay $170M to buy the Phoenix Coyotes, while taxpayers will pay $320M more
for arena management on top of the hundreds of millions they've already paid into the sinkhole that is the Coyotes despite getting only about $2.2M a year in return. (Guess that's why the city of Glendale had to consider putting up their city hall and police station as collateral for a loan!) But hey, the NHL doesn't care because they've been able to use the Phoenix market to secure huge new TV deals that likely made them more money than the team costs them
Given that players are giving up more this time (after having given up so much in last CBA) than the percent owners are willing to share even with an increase
in team revenue sharing, and given the tens of millions in luxury tax breaks the teams and league itself get and the hundreds of millions taxpayers pay for various arenas while teams keep the profits, it doesn't seem to me the NHL is propping up anything.