SBD/November 14, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NHL Lockout, Day 60: League's Bill Daly Says Next Move In Negotiations Is Up To Union

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).
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