Forcing a Real Business Model Upon Pro Sports

defenestrate and cwthrash got me thinking about the current economic model of today’s NHL in d-strate’s latest article. During the thread the topic slightly veered from the Problems in the league right now, to the Business portion and how it’s all-dominant, all-consuming, and really just a big mess. And the more I got to thinking about this area of the NHL and pro sports in general, the more I realized something.

(NOTE: This is a slightly-modified version of an article I wrote earlier today on my own website. It’s more about pro sports in general, but is applicable to the NHL’s current situation in particular. You can find the original article at:

http://www.priomh.com/comments.php?id=4_0_1_0_C .)

If sports wants so badly to be a business, then they’d best start operating like one.

What do I mean? Well let’s break everything down and take a long, hard look at what a professional sports league really is, and the environment in which the league exists.

Here in America we are a capitalist economy. Capitalism is supposed to encourage competition, so that anyone with enough drive and an idea can fight their way into the marketplace and make a dollar. Competition is theoretically supposed to keep product quality high, prices lower than normal, and essentially exist as the economic equivalent to Darwinism – survival of the fittest. Sometimes in a capitalist society, a person with a good idea and a good work ethic still won’t make their idea work, and they’ll lose out in the end. That’s just the nature of the beast, it’s all a big gamble.

In a corporate structure, a CEO commonly oversees the company and answers to “The Board” (or the stockholders and general public). If at any point that CEO’s job performance disappoints and doesn’t meet the expectations of the Board or stockholders, that CEO can be fired and removed from his or her position.

What does all of this have to do with sports?

A professional sports franchise is basically a company. And a league full of teams is a group of companies all competing for the top spot in the same marketplace. Some teams will succeed and rise to the top, and others will fail miserably. And the CEO overseeing each team is of course the Owner. Here’s where the real problem starts.

Unlike a real company in a real market, the CEO (the Owner) cannot be fired from his position. You could make a weak argument that the Fans are the Board and Stockholders, but as I said that’s weak because the Fans hold no real power in this issue. They cannot fire the Owner, nor can they exert any direct influence upon the franchise or team whatsoever. The Owner in fact has Absolute Control. And the Fans are merely the Consumers.

Let me simplify this even further — The Owner has nobody to answer to. Donald Trump cannot step in and say “You’re fired”.

And yet this is supposed to be Big Business? Please, that’s a sick joke.

If major pro sports leagues want to truly be considered Big Businesses then they need to take one more step and grant their league’s respective governing bodies the right to “fire” owners. It’s as simple as that.

A CEO is hired via a contract. And if the CEO doesn’t hold up to their terms of the contract, or flat-out breaks their contract, they get shown the door. When a prospective owner applies to the league for ownership, all the league needs to do is draw up a contract with performance and ethics clauses. Should the owner fail to meet these standards, he will be stripped of his ownership and his team or franchise will be run by the league until transferral of ownership under a new contract with a new owner can be obtained.

Think about it. Under this system many current owners of professional sports franchises would have been canned a long time ago with potential to have turned those abysmal franchises around.

That, my friends, is how you run a business.

And that is my challenge to every professional sports league out there. You don’t need a salary cap, that’s not in the spirit of capitalism. The NFL has a salary cap and while it temporarily has levelled the playing field it has also caused even more problems and more potential for owners to make bad situations even worse (for example, Daniel Snyder in Washington who doesn’t seem to understand how economic models work). The NBA has a Luxury Tax and it has done nothing to increase the competitiveness of the on-court product, nor has it improved the game. Instead it has lined the pockets of lawyers as unions file litigation and try to make exceptions like the Larry Bird Rule whereby one player who meets specific criteria doesn’t have to have the Luxury Tax and other financial rules apply to him. I don’t see that salary caps have made either of these leagues any more viable or better overall.

If you really, REALLY want to fix your leagues, your respective sports, and make the fans (your consumers) happy all at once, you the leagues will stop cowering in fear from players unions and the media, will step up, and start requiring incoming owners to agree to and sign legally-binding contracts that include performance clauses and the ability to lose their franchise because of general insubordination. It’s your league — take control of it.

Make it truly Darwinian folks. Then if owners want to gamble on outrageous player salaries they can, but if they fall flat on their face they have nobody to blame but themselves, and they can’t continue to control the team and just muck things up even more. Owners have no inherent right to profitability or support from the others in their league. This is not special ed, and you are not all winners.

If you want sports to truly be a business, then start operating it like one. Otherwise you’re not really a business, and you have no right to sit and whine and complain about how “unfair” a competitive model is when your own success or failure is your own responsibility. Right now, you’re not operating like a business, so how can you expect marketplace success?

It’s not about player salaries or a salary cap. It’s not about expansion or contraction. And it’s not unfair that some are the Haves and others are the Have Nots. That’s merely the way our capitalist economy and the marketplace works.

And nobody ever said capitalism was easy.

— Primis.


76 Responses to Forcing a Real Business Model Upon Pro Sports

  1. Primis says:

    I sadly can’t forsee any legal cir*****stance where the league

    Incidentally… wow…. when did the Swear filter get activated? If this is how the filter ends up working, I may reconsider activating it on my own site…

    — Primis.

  2. Kyleton says:

    Good job by Primis here, not only is he coming up with something new. Although some people do not agree with his Ideas, they are being dicussed, with a decent level of logic. He is also taking alot of time to respond to the comments put forth and offering further explanations to back his side. Keep coming up with this level of work. It’s enjoyable to read things such as this. It also appears to have cut back on alot of the hell raising comments that have nothing to do with well anything. Awesome work

  3. Primis says:

    And I do want to say thank you to everyone too.

    I really do appreciate positive feedback in terms of it being a good thought-provoking article, regardless whether people ultimately agree or disagree. I just haven’t had much of a chance to reply to them or anything because my efforts have been focused on the rest of the thread. With most of the articles I’ve written on here I haven’t feel the need to reply to comments very much, but I feel this is a truly-important topic and wortt the time and effort (and headache I’m getting).

    — Primis.

  4. Primis says:

    So revenue sharing, salary caps or whatever in my mind is perfectly ok as the NHL is in itself a little mini-universe that can make up it’s own rules and fix whatever problems concerning the teams within the league.

    Hey if I’d seen these things work better in other leagues I’d be more for them. But they really haven’t helped in the other sports where they’re in place. I recognize the revenue sharing as the best of those concepts though.

    I however recognise that there may be a problem as all these teams also in some regards faces competition from the outside market also as they operate in “the real world” but that is secondary in my mind. Most of the problems within the league can be fixed within the league and still the NHL can continue to market their product on other fronts.

    I’d think most of the problems would have been solved internally already if the Players’ union weren’t as powerful as they are. But since they are this powerful now you’re left with less flexibility.

    In any other business when a union gets too big for their britches the company wil usually just dump them and leave town (which is exactly what’s happening to several companies where I live now). The nature of the NHL or sports leagues in general though doesn’t really allow for this option. Which is why the union hasn’t been kept in check as much as they maybe should.

    — Primis.

  5. cementhead says:

    “No more than you seem to be able to wrap your mind around the concept that the Owners do not control the entire show, or that for some strange reason you seem to be gladly accepting the horribly-unblanaced system currently in place. Just because it’s what’s there doesn’t mena it’s what’s best. “

    —-So how exactly does this fit into your CEO analogy?? Do the CEOs “not control the show”? Just curious.

    Anyway, I’m even bored of your looney logic at this point so my last comment will be this:

    As you said, it is not 100% Free Market and so the players have to stop thinking it is. You argued that point well for me. Thank you.

  6. MAniac29 says:

    I agree completely!! I certainly appreciate when someone takes the time to actually care to reply to their article! I’d love to see more of this, great example!

  7. Just-Checking-In says:

    Well it appears that no matter whatyou are going to continue with your misguided ideas.

    “No, the league has delegated some authority to the Owners, you’re wrong.”

    Oh how I laugh at that one. Get 51%, 2/3 whatever number the owners originally came up with wanting something and see what happens if the owners want something. The League is simply an employee of the owners whose job it is to run to day to day operations of the game. That’s it.

    “The League is not simply a board of all owners sitting around a table making all the decisions, which is precisely what you are claiming right now. The League works independent of, or in tandem with depending on the issue, the Owners. Therefore, the League does not equal the Owners.”

    –> Please read what I say, maybe you will not be confused then. Of course the owners do not do that. That is what they hire the Commissioner for and all of the league employees. The league runs the day to day operations of the game. However, that authority comes from the owners. Get enough of the ownership wanting something and it will happen the way ownership wants it to.

    “The current model? It’s a model whereby the League or even the other Owners can’t do a single thing to remove a coworker (and also a competitor) who is a problem and detrimental to the overall long-term viability and financial security of the league. You bring someone into the fold, and then you PRAY TO GOD that they don’t completely start screwing things up because once they are in you can’t do a darn thing about removing them.

    *No* business playing with these kind of numbers anywhere (save federal governments, but that’s a whole different monster/problem/issue) has this kind of ludicrous system where problem people can’t be cut loose. You know why? Because it’s a poor way to run a business. “

    Again, pick up a law book and read up on the definition of a partnership. Being a partner means the other partners can not simply walk in and take your team away from you because they do not like the way you are running it. There are ways to dissolve a partnership which would result in buyouts etc.

    “When you buy an NHL franchise, you’re buying an *NHL* franchise, not just a franchise. Not an ECHL franchise, not an AHL franchise. An *NHL* franchise. You’re buying in to the brand name. “

    Again faulty thinking. Owners are not buying a franchise like McDonalds, they are becoming a partner in the corporation. Buying a McDonalds means you are licensed to use the name and sell Big Mac’s. Owning the company means you have a say in the business. You are confusing the two items.

    I think about the only thing that ownership is saying is that what is flawed is their collective Bargining Agreement. They think they are being forced to pay labor way too much money.

  8. Primis says:

    I can’t believe you really think that the league is essentially the Owners’ personal slave and serves no other purpose. I’m upset with the owners but even I give them more credit than that. If the Owners’ control were that absolute, how come Owners can be fined and suspended, amongst other things? That’s not the Owner’s doing that for their own, that’s the League doing that to the Owners, who do not have Absolute Control like you imply.

    At his point, with all the text going back and forth, I’m closing this portion with you I guess, for reasons I’ll explain.

    You have chosen to, for some reason, contest and focus totally on inane portions of the overall idea (which I do disagree with anyways) without actually contributing anything worthwhile as to explaining exactly why you seem to disagree with the original concept so much.

    You claim to that you are somehow “enlightening” me on how this all works, and yet as I’ve replied each time, you just keep scrambling to look for something else to latch onto and avoid the overall issue which is “Why isn’t the current business model for the NHL and other leagues working, and what can be done to fix it?”. And at this point the convo has veered so far offtopic that it’s really pointless.

    If you choose to believe that the NHL’s current business model works and is great and fine and everything’s dandy, then do so and back your conclusion up.

    If you don’t believe that, then *please* explain what YOU believe needs to be done instead of my suggestion(s), and again try to back your conclusion(s) up.

    But please, don’t sit there and try to continue this as some sort of grasping argument just because your definitions of everything are either technical or are absolute where others’ might not be. I’m trying to keep this from getting into a flamewar, which is what most other threads end in, and this is teetering in that direction.

    And it gets more and more difficult to remain cordial when you get replies and replies in where someone only seems to want to attempt to insult your intelligence rather than just present a convincing argument to the contrary of the original opinion .

    — Primis.

  9. cwthrash says:

    When it’s something this complicated, it’s too difficult to be explained in the detail necessary to get your point across (the little details that help make sense out of the larger points). At least it is on a message board, unless you feel like writing 10-20 pages about it.

    Chalk it up to a medium not known for the efficient exchange of communication. Of course it could be the fault of the respondents, but that’s an insult I’ll pass up.

  10. TheDarkhorse says:

    I believe that a few things could be done to greatly increase scoring and help the league gain more fans. First off, contraction is very necessary and I know I’m going to make people mad with this comment. There are a few teams that simply need to be eliminated. The first to go should be Vancouver. That whole organization from top to bottom is a disgrace to hockey. Burke and Crawford…what a joke. The whole team is a bunch of choke artists who simply cannot win big games. Their fans are fareweather and they make so little money, they should be gone. Other teams to eliminate would include the Florida Panthers. Let Luongo go to a real team. It’s a sad waste of talent to have him in Florida. It’s like the Marlins winning the World Series. Other teams to consider: Atlanta, Carolina, Pittsburgh, (yes, Pittsburgh,) Pheonix, and Columbus. What has Gretzky done since his playing days. He’s a freaking whiner and doesn’t know jack about operation an NHL team. Much like Burke, Gretzky whines about everything. He’s the old grandpa who wants the game like it was when he played but can’t accept that is just isn’t. I’d be in favor of eliminating some older teams like Chicago and the Rangers, simply because they’ve proven they can’t compete even in a big city. Even Minnesota could stand to be ousted because even though they have a rabid fan base, they play that hideous trap that everyone thinks has destroyed the NHL. Get rid of them.

    Next, put Detroit in the Eastern conference so that it isn’t that laughing stock of the NHL, much the NBA eastern conference. The east may have more teams than the west with higher point totals, but it’s kind of like the difference between college and the pros. If the pros play each other, they will inevitibly beat each other more often. When high school sissy teams play each other…ala eastern conference teams, the same result occurs. This is why Toronto sucks every year and will yet again lose in the first or second round of the playoffs this year. They don’t stand a chance against the West. The flyers? Same thing. I hate that team. If Detroit was in the East, everyone could get what they really wanted…a Colorado Detroit Final. Not this Western conference final that always ends up being the Stanley cup final since the East always sucks.

    One more note on scoring. Since the east is so bad, I think their lack of quality forwards is the reason scoring is down.

    Also, to Toronot fans who can’t wear their uniforms in the Ottawa building…I love it, I love it. I think you should get ketchup thrown on you instead.

  11. chanman says:

    I have to commend you, Primis, on your dedication and follow-up to this article. I have never seen a writer pick apart and disscus the comments with the posters as well as you have. Although I diagree with most of your ideas and firmly believe a salary cap is the best way to get the NHL back on track, I commend your responsivness.

  12. chanman says:

    there needs to be a system grafted in somehow so that a truly-problematic owner (that jeopardizes the well-being and stability of the league) can be removed before irreparable damage is done to their franchise, and thereby to the league and brand as a whole.

    I know what you are talking about as I experianced this with the Rigas crooks in Buffalo. Nevertheless, I is the responsibility of the LEAGUE, (bettman, Goodenough,) to see that proper owners are qualified. That is not a fans area to have much say in, with very little leverage. I WAS saying that they choose to buy seats or not, but FANS CANNOT determine or Choose the owner of thier local team.

  13. EmptyNetter says:

    —and where does this happen in a free market system. does the govn’t say “hey Joe’s Deli, it would be terrible for your customers to miss out and so we will try to make it possible for you to succeed, relocate, or sell your francise to someone else???”. THAT IS SOCIALISM!!

    Chysler, in the 1970’s, was on the verge of bankrupcy. The Federal government dedided that it was in the auto industry’s best interest to have 3 major automobile manufacturers. They extended interest-free loans helping Chrysler to recover.

  14. Just-Checking-In says:

    No wonder you get so upset, you really must be too upset to read what I write.

    Here we go again. Each team is really a PARTNERSHIP between the 30 owners (Just for the sake of correctness, some teams may actually have more than one owner, or in fact be owned by a corporation, LLC or holding company.) The PARTNERS have come togeather and devised a set of rules in which the PARTNERSHIP will operate.

    As has been pointed out again and again, the League Offices run the day to day operations of the game. Because the league can fine owners and such is because the Partners have allocated that ability to the League. Get 3/4 of the partners togeather to agree on something and they can alter that arrangement however they see fit.

    Now just because the owners have the authroity to do that, does it mean they do it? No, it does not. No one is arguing that they do. However, they do have the ultimiate authority and whatever powers the league does have only comes from what the owners have delegated the league to have.

    As for business models, that is fine to talk about that, however a major complication of your arguement is that business models really have nothing to do with the problems facing the NHL. These problems are obvious. Expenses are way to high for the league to be financially prudent for most owners. A sub section of this problem is that revenue is nowhere near what it is in the three other major sports.

    Why is that? Hey who knows why Arena Football gets better ratings on NBC than the NHL does on either ABC or ESPN. It just appears that as far as sports goes in the United States, most Americans do not really follow hockey. As such, the NHL is dividing up $600 million in television revenue while the other sports are dividing up BILLIONS in television revenue. Yet, going pound for pound players in the NHL make more money than players in the NFL.

    So there is your problem. How are you going to increase revenue to match your growing expenses?

    Well the first general rule of business is to cut expenses. However, there are some problems with that. As an owner you are contractually obligated to pay a certain amount to each player in salary.

    Trade them off?

    You can try that, however if it begins to affect team performance than you are going to be losing revenue from paying customers as well as probably seeing your television revenue drop as not a whole lot of people like to tune in to watch their favorite team get thumped.

    Now you ride in with your new idea of let’s simply take away ownership of the people we think are doing a bad job.

    Of course we have no criteria of what is a bdjob exactly, plus as I pointed out there is a little matter of the owner actually owning the team or having property rights. Also lets suppose that the owner also owns the arena in which the team plays in. Do you begin to see the legal nightmares you are talking about.

    Additionally replacing one owner for another, at what point did you solve the problem of how to raise revenue and control your expenses, plus raise interest and ratings accross North America?

    So in summary, your plan is first off all chalk full of legal problems which would no nothing but make a bunch of attorneys richer than they already are and secondly does not address the real problem facing the NHL today. How to increse revenue and limit expenses.

  15. Primis says:

    As has been pointed out again and again, the League Offices run the day to day operations of the game. Because the league can fine owners and such is because the Partners have allocated that ability to the League. Get 3/4 of the partners togeather to agree on something and they can alter that arrangement however they see fit.

    Now just because the owners have the authroity to do that, does it mean they do it? No, it does not. No one is arguing that they do. However, they do have the ultimiate authority and whatever powers the league does have only comes from what the owners have delegated the league to have.

    As for business models, that is fine to talk about that, however a major complication of your arguement is that business models really have nothing to do with the problems facing the NHL. These problems are obvious. Expenses are way to high for the league to be financially prudent for most owners. A sub section of this problem is that revenue is nowhere near what it is in the three other major sports.

    Ok this is good, THIS is more what I would rather see.

    You really wouldn’t think that they are related, the internal governing and the revenue stream, but they are as I see it. The Owners have to suck it up and realize that they sometimes cannot be trusted and are only hurting one another, and the best way I can think of to do that is for them to cede that they cannot always be trusted and confirm the actual league office a way or th power to take a bad owner out of the picture, because of the dependent nature of the business. You can’t have the owners themselves do it, they never can and will. It has to be someone else.

    When one team tanks, it hurts everyone’s revenue, and it also hurts them all in PR which then hurts revenue and overall brand-name/market value.

    Why is that? Hey who knows why Arena Football gets better ratings on NBC than the NHL does on either ABC or ESPN. It just appears that as far as sports goes in the United States, most Americans do not really follow hockey. As such, the NHL is dividing up $600 million in television revenue while the other sports are dividing up BILLIONS in television revenue. Yet, going pound for pound players in the NHL make more money than players in the NFL.

    Well I can tell you this much. If you managed to eliminate a couple of the real problems situations and/or markets it could prop the overall quality, and value of the NHL brand name up. Flat-out contraction is rough though (though it also may be inevitable), and at least if you can yank a bad owner out and try to bring in a new owner the possibility does exist that the franchise itslef can be saved.

    Another problem is that I’m sick of the NHL’s method of trying to “expand the game” because it’s folly and they have problems in their own backyards to deal with, but that’s a totally different subject I won’t approach right now.

    So there is your problem. How are you going to increase revenue to match your growing expenses?

    Well the first general rule of business is to cut expenses. However, there are some problems with that. As an owner you are contractually obligated to pay a certain amount to each player in salary.

    What do you do with an Owner not even competent enough to make good basic decisions though? We have Bill Wirtz in Chicago blacking out all his home games because he’s deluded and believes that this will somehow force people to come out to the game. Except the people don’t because they still know the Hawks aren’t competitive and that Wirtz is still an idiot, and they go to Chicago Wolves games instead (who usually outdraw the Hawks even). And because the Hawks aren’t on TV to get any exposure, even less people follow them or go to the games, which makes the situation even worse.

    EVERYONE in the league knows this, and that Wirtz’s “idea” isnt’ working. The fact of the matter is the Hawks really aren’t a horrible team to watch (they’re young, fast, work hard), but nobody knows that because they’re never on TV to watch.

    A stupid move like this doens’t even involve the players, and I keep trying to not involve the players in anything I’m saying because that’s a seperate problem.

    We’re talking about a guy, driving an Original Six franchise (a good hockey town and one of the league’s flagship franchises to hang their hat and brand-name on) into the ground.

    And yet you somehow suggest that this is not only to be tolerated, but even viewed in a “owners will be owners” manner, snickering in the background while the league descends even further into obscurity and it hurts other teams, even a team like Detroit who has basically lost what was once their best rival. That’s what really, really bothers me, that somehow this brand-dillution is supposed to be tolerated. Currently, the Owners can simple scapegoat the Players and their salaries as the cause of all the problems, when in fact it takes two to sign a contract and the Owners have no accountability. Something like this puts part of the accountability back square on the Owners’ shoulders.

    And I realize that grandfathering something like this in won’t solve the immediate problem of someone like Wirtz, but it should more-importantly prevent it from ever happening again, and hopefully then lessen the chances of another work stoppage a mere 4 or 5 years down the road again, and the same old mess. Nothing will kill revenue like a work stoppage, after all.

    Forget expansion, or spreading the game. The league is being KILLED in its own backyards right now by some of its own owners, and some of those owners don’t seem to understand that it’s time for them to go. There’s needs to be an escape clause or a failsafe in place to prevent this from happening further on down the road.

    This all ties in with the revenue, and the profits, and the bottom line, and so it *is* part of the business structure.

    Additionally replacing one owner for another, at what point did you solve the problem of how to raise revenue and control your expenses, plus raise interest and ratings accross North America?

    Turning a woeful franchise around under new or better ownership (or even the mere possibiltiy that it could happen) doesn’t generate excitement and interest, bring more fans to the gate, and generate leaguewide interest? Do you realize the field day the media had when a team like the Panthers or the Hurricanes made the Cup Finals? And what teams are people buzzing about most right now? Teams like Buffalo (who recently changed ownership) who made a decent run at a playoff spot this year after looking like they’d be killed off altogether a while back, and Nashville who’s still in the hunt for their first playoff berth.

    Interest equals more exposure, and more people watching, and brings more people to the gates. More people to the gates equals more revenue. More TV interest and better ratings equals bigger TV contracts, and increased revenue. More fan interest from the new exposure means increased merchandise sales, which equals increased revenue. And if you make the playoffs, more games equals more revenue form the gates.

    And if you can increase revenue… well, as you said, that’s the cause of this whole problem.

    This is really not that diffcult.

    So in summary, your plan is first off all chalk full of legal problems which would no nothing but make a bunch of attorneys richer than they already are and secondly does not address the real problem facing the NHL today. How to increse revenue and limit expenses.

    I don’t know. I think I explained everything well enough just now. I really have no clue where it is you seem to think revenue comes from…

    And I really have no idea why you seem to think there are any more legal complications in this issue than in trying to get a Salary Cap or something similar in place, knowing that it’s not going to be any real fix. There will be legal complications in any sort of change in today’s league. That’s because they’re playing around with Monopoly money.

    Look the league’s facing a work stoppage anyways. It’s looking more and more imminent every day. Toes are going to be stepped on, feelings hurt, and somebody’s not going to get what they want when all is said and done anyhow. If you’re going to make a change like this, NOW is the time, because whatever the result is will just annoy a lot of people anyways. You won’t be able to work something like this in if you try to do it at another time.

    — Primis.

  16. Primis says:

    Chysler, in the 1970’s, was on the verge of bankrupcy. The Federal government dedided that it was in the auto industry’s best interest to have 3 major automobile manufacturers. They extended interest-free loans helping Chrysler to recover.

    Both the federal and state governments here in the US will do similar sorts of things.

    The state I’m in recently offered the a well-known household-name company $3 million dollars to not leave the state/country/hemisphere, because they know the company is having a hard time because of the current economy and they really did not want to lose them.

    The company turned it down anyways and is still jumping ship.

    But your point is true — federal governments and state governments both have and do step in at times to help someone out if they have a Very Good Reason to. This is especially true with aid to farmers even…

    — Primis.

  17. Primis says:

    Thank you. It’s really hard to decide to take a dive into something of this nature and then just ignore the ensuing thread.

    I’m not as concerned with whether people disagree with my contention that this is a possible alternative to a Salary Cap or Luxury Tax as I am with people not undertsanding what I’m saying, or just simply one-offing the overall topic and then moving on. I really am listening to what people have to say, and some people have raised some things that have made me consider a few other things I initially hadn’t in regards to Cause & Effect.

    — Primis.

  18. Just-Checking-In says:

    I guess I didn’t specifically spell it out, so I will again. These ownership investments can in some cases be upwards of $100 million dollars with stadiums and other capital gains tax assessments. So taking someones money is going to be a difficult thing.

    Now on to your other part of the argument.

    For someone to win, someone needs to loose. Not every one can win and not everyone can loose either. You somehow seem to argue that winning cures all woes. Yes, it can help, however you still have the problem of escalating salaries and insufficent reveune to pay for it.

    Teams like the Panthers, Ducks and Canes show us how difficult it really is to win. Yeah teams can go on a run and get lucky, but to consistently play at the elite level is difficult.

    Finally as I stated, you make the assumption that winning or losing is somehow based on who is writing the checks. That just isn’t the case. Other than Mario Lemieux I have not seen any other owners suit up and score a goal for their team.

    The Rangers for example have a very good television deal (good luck try to remove Comcast as an owner and finding a place for the Rangers to play) and an ownership that has poured money into salary and yet they cannot even make the playoffs since Clintons first term.

    So to be sucessful, the NHL needs television money. The league cannot survive just operating on gate reciepts. Also at some point you are going to run out of deep pocket owners willing to gamble their investment.

  19. Primis says:

    I’m going this opportunity in the root of the thread to thank everyone who’s relevantly posted thus far, whatever it might be. I know I’ve done so buried here and there throughout, but I’d like it in the root as well.

    I know Jonathane in particular has had a rather-intense sub-thread going back and forth with me, and I realize part of that was due more to slightly veering offtopic than anything, and even though he probably hates me right now and thinks I’m stubborn (I’m German/Scottish so, yeah, I probably am) I am grateful because there is productive stuff coming out of it all, and the thread never degenerated like it could have.

    But thanks guys, I really was and am surprised and impressed by what’s gone on in the thread.

    — Primis.

  20. ZaphodBeeblebrox says:

    I read it.

    It is a dumb arguement.

    CEO’s are not asked to invest Millions of their own capital into a company.

    The Owner is not the CEO. that would be the President/GM’s position.

  21. EmptyNetter says:

    I liked this article. I think the arguments you made have been strong ones and you clearly put a lot of thought and hard work into it. I’d just like to offer my two cents.

    The owners created the league and appointed (currently) Gary Bettman as NHL Commissioner to represent their collective interests. Borrowing your analogy, the board of directors would be the individual team owners who named Bettman as their CEO. Each has a piece of ownership in the NHL and has a vote as to how business should operate. If you use this model for the NHL, an owner who is judged to be irresponsible with the running of his team can be removed from the “board of directors” and lose voting rights with regards to NHL business, but cannot be stripped of ownership. Besides, isn’t owning a crappy team and paying $30 million plus per year to players you don’t like punishment enough?

  22. EmptyNetter says:

    The answer is 42.

  23. Primis says:

    I read it.

    It is a dumb arguement.

    CEO’s are not asked to invest Millions of their own capital into a company.

    The Owner is not the CEO. that would be the President/GM’s position.

    Given how much stock options most CEO’s end up with in place of salary, that’s not entirely true. If they screw up the stock, they oftentimes lose a LOT of money themselves.

    And yes, in an owner *IS* CEO in many any case where there is no seperate CEO. So this isn’t true.

    I encourage you to submit a proposal or solution of your own if you do not believe in this one. As I stated before, it’s totally unproductive to reply negatively and then not supply an option or changes of your own instead. As you state above, it’s “dumb”.

    — Primis.

  24. Primis says:

    Teams like the Panthers, Ducks and Canes show us how difficult it really is to win. Yeah teams can go on a run and get lucky, but to consistently play at the elite level is difficult.

    Yes, but they also are additionally stuggling because they’re in non-hockey markets. The Hurricanes plight is particularly-bad because Karamanos was stupid enough to move them from a Hockey Market to a Non-Hockey Market in the first place, and everyone knew it wouldn’t work.

    However it’s not difficult to contend for the playoffs on at least a semi-regular basis. Given things set in place like the Entry Draft, Waiver Draft, etc, there’s no excuse for a team to continually finish at the bottom and never contend.

    So to be sucessful, the NHL needs television money. The league cannot survive just operating on gate reciepts. Also at some point you are going to run out of deep pocket owners willing to gamble their investment.

    Agreed, TV revenue is important. And part of that will be solved hopefully because ESPN’s contract with the NHL is up (possibly ABC’s as well). And both ESPN and ABC (under the Mouse) are more interested in their NBA contract right now. It’d be nice if NBC, who desperately needs a major sport, would step up to the plate and put their effort behind it. It’s hard to promote a game with only 6 or so national broadcasts a season.

    But remember, again TV Revenue is also directly linked with the rest of all this we’re talking about.

    And again, I know I keep saying this, but I’m not suggesting that any owner in the least bit of trouble needs to be axed. Ideally the power’d NEVER have to be used. But it really should be there for the most extreme cases where a franchise is floundering and the owner refuses to admit how badly he’s screwing up and also refuses to get out.

    Keep in mind, I *am* suggesting all this for the Owners’ benefit.

    — Primis.

  25. Primis says:

    Besides, isn’t owning a crappy team and paying $30 million plus per year to players you don’t like punishment enough?

    You’d think so. I would too, but then you have guys like Bill Wirtz and Peter Karamanos still clinging to their teams and just making things worse.

    — Primis.

  26. EmptyNetter says:

    I read your reply and did a little research. I wasn’t aware that men like Bill Wirtz existed in the NHL, but somehow I’m not surprised. Who else but a guy with alleged mafia connections would have the money to buy and operate a team (and a bad one at that), be despised by the fans and not care a bit? Also, puts your proposal to fire owners in a whole new light. How else would you get rid of a guy like this? Organize a boycott among fans?

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