Of course the first thing I do is a make a stupid, over the odds offer for my beloved Leafs. Now because Bell and Rogers have shareholders they have to accept my ludicrous offer for their investment, but hey, I can always just go dig up some more money whenever I want.
So now it’s time to sit down with my mates Jeremy Jacobs, Ed Snider and that Molson ass-clown from Montreal. We start talking CBA and think back to the days before the little fella in New York (Gary Bettman) ran the NHL and we had that simple little guy in Toronto (John Ziegler) doing it. We all agree to forget the lawyer in the middle (Gil Stein).
Then Jeremy says to me, “Hey, you have the biggest club in the league, the beer family guy has the second, I’m the Chairman of the Board and Ed has a giant set of cohones, why don’t we run the league?”
Among ourselves we decide to fix these disgruntled players and their union boss henchman.
Instead of the $200m – $250m/yr welfare system we now have in place with the smaller, money losing operations in crazy places, we’re going to take that same amount of money and over the next three years buy out six owners and shutdown those teams, eliminating losses and making the league overall more profitable.
In the process we eliminate 20% of the union jobs and all of them from the subsidized markets. In three years time the league will have six less franchises who need to be kept afloat by the wealthier teams and if we can’t spend our profits on winning, then we’ll just keep out profits rather than give them to someone else to give to the players.
All kidding aside, there is a gulf opening on the owners side between the rich and the poor. The rich teams seven years ago all feel that they got played by Bettman and his cartel of penniless criminal owners. So over that span, the wealthy teams consolidated their positions and economics played into their hands so that they now have the numbers.
The truth is, the union’s call for $450m – $800m in saving being transferred from the rich to the poor just isn’t going to work. Guys like Ed Snider aren’t stupid, he’s going to very quickly work out that the league already owns Phoenix, they could shut it down tomorrow and save money. If you then took the $200m in revenue sharing scheduled for 2012-2013 and offered to buy a couple owners out – you’d certainly get some takers, especially if you told them that revenue sharing is “dead”. Their options are, lose money hand over fist or take $100m and run for the hills.
This is the hammer the owners have always had in this argument – the players want the poor teams underwritten by the rich, but the rich are just better off without them. The quagmire is Bettman – he’s the one who drove the expansion and his ridiculous ego simply won’t allow this to happen. But that’s maybe where this negotiation has to go.
A 24 team NHL, split across two conferences with four divisions, each division having four teams make the playoffs. Suddenly the odds of making the playoffs increase, that means more lucrative home dates but most importantly, 6 teams that aren’t reliant on the profits of the wealthy to overpay their players.
I wonder how many pages of documents the players would need to have to understand a proposal like this?