SBD/November 14, 2012/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
The NHL and NHLPA have not engaged in formal negotiations since collective bargaining talks were halted on Sunday, and NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said it is up to the union to make the next move. Asked last night what it would take for the league to return to the table, Daly said, "We're done making proposals. We'll see what they want to do." As of this morning, no talks between the two sides have been planned (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal). Daly said, "The union knows where [there] is flexibility and room to negotiate. They also should know where there's not" (OTTAWA SUN, 11/13). In N.Y., Mark Everson notes there "was contact between the sides yesterday, but no decision [on] when talks will resume" (N.Y. POST, 11/14). CSNPHILLY.com's Tim Panaccio noted NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr on Monday said that the two sides are "close in revenue sharing but not so on other issues." Daly, in an e-mail Monday, responded, "Maybe you can explain to me how close we are when the union's last offer requested a 'guarantee' of players' share dollars in excess of $1.9 billion -- and a guarantee going up in subsequent years -- and we are offering 50 percent of HRR this year in an environment where we estimate damage to the business of at least $400 million -- to this point? Their latest offer would have players making 65 percent of HRR for this year. It's a funny definition of being 'close'" (CSNPHILLY.com, 11/12).
OUTSIDE OPINIONS: In Philadelphia, Sam Carchidi notes both Fehr and Daly said that they "are open to having a mediator help reach common ground." Asked why there has been a delay in hiring one, Daly said, "I guess the simple answer is that neither side has felt that the introduction of a mediator would help the process. We haven't discussed it, though, for a couple of months now" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/14). Penguins RW and NHLPA rep Craig Adams suggested that "there's a reason the union is interested in mediation, while the NHL isn't so much." He said, "I think we would welcome it because I think if you look at the situation objectively there's no question we're making all the concessions. I wouldn't be afraid of it, but I'm not holding my breath that's going to happen" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 11/14). Meanwhile, the AP's Ronald Blum noted NBA Commissioner David Stern was "critical" of NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr for "his side's negotiating stance" in the lockout. Fehr said that sports "with salary caps are more prone to lockouts because of their labor structure." However, Stern disagreed and said that the "50-50 sharing arrangement agreed to by the NFL and NBA, and proposed by NHL owners, was fair." Stern: "They have no choice but to stand and protect such business model as will be left when the negotiations finish" (AP, 11/13).
TENSIONS RISING: CSNNE.com's Joe Haggerty noted the NHL and NHLPA did not meet yesterday and have "nothing scheduled yet for the rest week," which is "causing both sides to simmer toward a slow boil." A source said, "It is complete (expletive). There is a deal that could be done in a day. Both sides should be shot for how they have conducted this negotiation." Haggerty noted NHLers are set to miss their "third pay check" of the season tomorrow, and once that pay period passes by, the NHL owners "will have saved themselves 20 percent of this year's player payroll." If they "don't see serious progress by the end of this weekend, then the NHL canceling some, if not all, December games becomes a likely scenario" (CSNNE.com, 11/13). The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts notes Penguins C Sidney Crosby is "expanding his role as the best player in hockey to matters off the ice -- speaking out against the NHL owners as the lockout drags on." For the "second day in a row, Crosby criticized the owners for refusing to bend on their demands." Crosby yesterday said, "The desperation to play doesn't really seem like it's on their side" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/14).
WHILE WE WAIT: In Detroit, Helene St. James noted the Red Wings on Monday "hosted about 100 military members and their families at a brunch and skating party in honor of Veterans Day" (FREEP.com, 11/13)....In Nashville, Josh Cooper notes the Predators last night at A-Game Sportsplex had what they called a "Smashmob," during which a "combination of an estimated 200 Predators staffers and fans marched into a rink where two Nashville Jr. Predator teams were playing." The event was "unknown to both teams," and happened "as the teams were warming up." The Predators invited fans to A-Game, through "social media, under the assumption that it was a pizza party at 6:30 p.m." It was "yet another way the Predators organization is trying to keep its fans engaged during the lockout" (TENNESSEAN.com, 11/14)....In Ottawa, James Gordon noted the Senators are "already trying to figure out how to convince disgruntled hockey fans to return to Scotiabank Place." A poll sent out to past ticket buyers on Monday "offers up a slate of potential incentives -- including free parking and two-for-one tickets -- and asks respondents how likely they would be to take advantage." The poll also asks fans to "rate discounts on a scale from 'definitely would not purchase' to 'definitely would purchase'" (OTTAWACITIZEN.com, 11/13).
TOUGH SELL: In a special to the GLOBE & MAIL, Bryan Borzykowski notes AJ Sports World Founder Andrew Goldfarb "sells signed sports memorabilia, including jerseys, photos, helmets and other sporting goods autographed by current and former athletes." His sales are "made in store, online and through auctions at arena and on NHL.com." About 95% of his business "is hockey-related." Because of the lockout, Goldfarb "hasn't been able to hold any arena auctions and his NHL.com sales have dropped by 50 per cent." While Goldfarb "won't reveal how much his 10-employee operation brings in, he does say that, if there's no hockey in 2013, he'll lose at least 50 per cent of revenues through June next year, representing about a third of annual revenue" (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/14).
Following head injuries to prominent players during Sunday’s NFL games, several columnists weighed in on the league’s concussion policy. In Columbus, Michael Arace writes Eagles QB Michael Vick, Bears QB Jay Cutler and 49ers QB Alex Smith “stayed on the field after taking shots that should have raised red flags.” Arace: “What about the NFL’s concussion protocol? It is fair to wonder whether it is accepted as a critical endeavor or a mere nuisance” (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 11/14). In DC, Mike Wise writes, “Boy, the NFL is sure safer these days.” Wise writes of NBC’s Cris Collinsworth praising Cutler for continuing to play after receiving a helmet-to-helmet hit, “Isn’t it beautiful how the education and new-found sensitivity just sinks in and makes such a difference?” But “we get nowhere if the culture on NFL fields can’t change, if the language of ‘shake it off’ and ‘dinged’ is allowed to continue.” Wise: “The culture of violence in football is simply too profitable and too in-demand to completely overhaul. The only way real change happens is if [49ers coach] Jim Harbaugh doesn’t leave Alex Smith in that game for six more plays; if Cris Collinsworth skewers the Bears’ medical team for not checking on a groggy Jay Cutler; if [Ravens LB] Ray Lewis tells kids, via a PSA, why hard hits are okay and headhunting isn’t; and, yes, if [Saints QB] Drew Brees, a son of football-mad Texas, has the guts to tell America his kid isn’t playing tackle football before age 14” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/14).
CAMPAIGN PROMISES: The AP’s Jim Litke writes under the header, “Goodell An Honest Broker On Concussions?” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell “to his credit … was on the hot seat less than a year when he pushed the league, which was slow to react to anecdotal reports, to begin making up for lost time.” But Goodell “can't legislate cooperation from his players; his only power in those matters is coercion.” He also “can't claim the mantle of leadership when he's crammed the games closer together, moving one to Thursday night each week.” Litke: “Almost as troubling is the leadership role Goodell has embraced at the head of an increasingly disingenuous PR campaign aimed not at the players, but squarely at the fans” (AP, 11/14). In DC, Deron Snyder writes quarterbacks have “their set of rules intended to protect them, not solely because they’re so vulnerable in the pocket, but also because they’re so valuable in TV ratings and crucial to a team’s success.” Snyder: “It might be time to create a set of enhanced concussion rules for quarterbacks, removing them from action (at least temporarily) sooner rather than later after significant blows” (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/14).
SHORT WEEK: In Miami, Adam Beasley reports with the NFL’s “ongoing emphasis on player safety, some believe that scheduling these Thursday night contests sends out some serious mixed messages.” Dolphins LB Kevin Burnett said prior to tomorrow's game against the Bills, “Is playing a game on Thursday vs. playing a game on Sunday the best thing to do? No. But, hey, if (the public) want to see it, of course guys are not going to turn it down.” Burnett added, “If we’re going to make player safety an issue, let’s make it an issue all the way across the board. It’s an issue only until we’re making money. Let’s make it an issue, and let’s keep it consistent.” But Dolphins TE Anthony Fasano sees Thursday night games “as a positive.” Fasano by playing tomorrow will “have a rare weekend off.” NFL Senior VP/PR Greg Aiello said that the NFL has “gotten similar feedback from the players’ union” (MIAMI HERALD, 11/14).
NASCAR yesterday announced the '13 schedule for the Nationwide Series (NNS), and it is “no accident the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be hosting" its first-ever NASCAR event, according to Rob McCurdy of the MANSFIELD NEWS JOURNAL. The announcement is “something that’s been percolating at least five years or since Nationwide Insurance came aboard as the title sponsor of the sanctioning body’s No. 2 brand.” The company “wanted an event close to its world headquarters in downtown Columbus.” NASCAR “long knew north central Ohio was fertile ground for stock car racing fans.” When Kim Green and Kevin Savoree bought the Mid-Ohio track from the Trueman family in March '11, "one of the first trips they made was NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.” But for something that had “been in the works for years, it didn’t get serious until 35 days ago.” The Nationwide Series' annual road race in Montreal was dropped from the '13 schedule, "opening up a coveted spot" for another road course race. NASCAR “quietly lobbed a call to Mid-Ohio brass to determine interest.” Mid-Ohio then signed a three-year deal with Nationwide, guaranteeing the '13 race "will be the first of many NASCAR events to come” (CENTRALOHIO.com, 11/14). The AP’s Jenna Fryer noted the ’13 IndyCar race at Mid-Ohio is scheduled "just 13 days before NASCAR's inaugural event.” Grand-Am, which is owned by NASCAR, “races at Mid-Ohio in June” (AP, 11/13).
STILL NOTHING IN CANADA: In Toronto, Dean McNulty notes the Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) is “slated to run next season on the dirt at the Tony Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway, also in Ohio.” The NNS and CWTS moves have to be “considered bad news" for Canadian Tire Motorsport Park east of Toronto, "which has been lobbying hard for a Truck race -- at least -- for 2013.” Track Owner Ron Fellows said that his “information is that NASCAR is still putting the Truck schedule together for next season and that gives him hope there is still a chance CTMP will get its 2013 date” (TORONTO STAR, 11/14).
A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME: The AP’s Fryer in a separate piece reported driver Brad Keselowski was “fined $25,000 on Monday for tweeting during the red flag" at Phoenix Int'l Raceway. NASCAR Senior Dir of Communications for Competition Kerry Tharp yesterday “dismissed the conspiracy theories, and said drivers had been told after the Daytona 500 that electronic devices -- including cellphones -- could not be carried inside the race cars going forward.” Tharp said, "Brad's tweeting at the Daytona 500 was really our first introduction to the magnitude of the social media phenomenon at the race track, especially how we saw it unfold that evening. We encourage our drivers to participate in social media. We feel we have the most liberal social media policy in all of sports, and the access we provide is the best in all of sports. But we also have rules that pertain to competition that need to be enforced and abided by” (AP, 11/13).