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Hockey Night in Canada?
Will the fans that fund sport miss out on another NHL season?
I am sure I have mentioned in previous articles that October is my favourite month of the year. Wood stoves, crockpots, my birthday and SPORTS, specifically the start of the National Hockey League season. Come October 11, I should have my hockey pool done and be watching the NHL package in high def on my big screen television. As I write this article in mid-September, however, the likelihood of this looks grim. I am willing to bet the NHL players will still be locked out at the start of the season, and I will be flipping channels between some new CSI location show (seeing as they cancelled Miami) and Storage Wars (sigh…).
I admit that I do not fully understand the scope of the NHL lockout. I know that there are two sides; the NHL Players Association and the NHL Team Owners that are basically arguing on how to split hockey related revenues (HRR) of around 3.3 billion dollars. Terms like collective bargaining, escrow and cap circumvention just add to the confusion. Previously it was structured so the players received 57% of the HRR and the management owners received 43%; however, this structure was agreed upon when the revenues were around 2.1billion, obviously when there is more money involved people want a bigger piece of the pie.
Regardless of whether any of us fully understand the negotiations, the biggest frustration should be from hockey fans. Most of the hockey-related revenues they are fighting over come from fans’ pockets. Ticket and concession sales, merchandise and parking to name a few, and we will be the ones stuck watching Survivor season 58... (Ok, there really have only been 25 seasons of Survivor, although still way too many.) This will be the fourth work stoppage in the NHL since 1992, one which saw the entire 2004-05 season completely cancelled. What can we do as fans? We can all say we won’t buy tickets once play resumes but after the 04-05 cancelled season there was an actual influx of season ticket purchases. Let’s face it—we all love our national pastime and we want to see it played.
Major League sports teams are big business. The Dallas Cowboys National Football League team is worth a reported 2.1 billion dollars. Alex Rodriguez of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees earns almost $30mil per year and two tickets and two beers at Maple Leaf Gardens will run you on average $250. Total income of the average family with children in Canada is just under $90K a year. Most of us cannot even fathom the amount of dollars that are negotiated and spent in Major League sports, yet we work so we can spend our hard earned money to watch those that make the big bucks. Then those with the big bucks just want more big bucks and we end up watching The Real Housewives of Vancouver.
I myself will only use Real Housewives as a last resort and instead hit up a few more Fernie Ghostriders hockey games. At just $10 a pop they provide great entertaining hockey. Or for just a mere $22 per game you can watch the Kootenay Ice in nearby Cranbrook. They are always a competitive force in the Western Hockey league. And if the NHL does resume this season I just may not renew my high def hockey package!