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NEW TV DEAL DOES NOTHING TO LESSEN NHL LOCKOUT TALK
Published September 13, 1994
Talks between the NHL owners and the NHLPA, "which are expected to resume this week, have gone nowhere thus far and the likelihood of a work stoppage grows with each passing day." However, one NHL GM "feels there's still time to reach a settlement": "It's not the 11th hour, so there is no need to panic. But it will be interesting to see what happens when the 11th hour is reached" (Alan Adams, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 9/13). ESPN's Keith Olberman reported that the NHL has decided to go ahead with the lockout "within the first few weeks of the regular season unless their union has agreed to a collective bargaining agreement by then." It is still undecided whether the lockout will take place before or after October 1. Olberman: "Our sources report owners are considering playing the opening game to reduce the amount of full refund request from season ticket holders. One veteran exec tells ESPN that the owners are ready to shut it all down for two months" ("SportsCenter", 9/12). WILL FOX CHASE AWAY THOSE LOCKOUT BLUES? Agent Mark LaChance told THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY: "The Fox deal won't affect the lockout. The increase in revenues won't matter. The Players Association will never go for a salary cap" (DAILY sources, 9/13). In Toronto, Jim Hunt writes, "Surely, now that the NHL has bagged a TV contract with the Fox network, [NHL] Commissioner Gary Bettman won't be crazy enough to lock out the players. But I wouldn't bet on it" (TORONTO SUN, 9/13). Bob McKenzie, on the league's view: "The future of the league is in good hands with Bettman. The players should have faith in him and his ability to increase revenues and have no fear of an agreement that links salaries to revenue because revenue is on the way up." On the NHLPA's view: "The league is not, as Bettman wrote to [NHLPA Exec Dir Bob] Goodenow last January, in 'tenuous financial condition,' not even close. And the new TV deal not only proves that, but is one more compelling reason to avoid at all costs a lockout that would halt hockey's momentum as a major player in North American pro sports" (TORONTO STAR, 9/13).