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Much of the focus since the start of the lockout has been on the players. Where are they playing, how are they managing to practice, what do their actions say about the prospect of a short lockout?
But of course, the Flyers have another figure in this whole lockout charade, and that is the owner, Ed Snider. Snider sits on the opposite side of the table from Scott Hartnell and Braydon Coburn, and his specific role as an owner is at the very least, interesting.
During the Shea Weber "offer sheet extravaganza", Larry Brooks of the New York Post investigated the two-faced nature of Snider’s big offer to the Nashville defenseman:
For at the same time “Mr. Snider” authorized this offer to Weber, he is wholly supportive of the league effort to discount all but initial $13 million of the deal by nearly 25 percent.
Here is “Mr. Snider” agreeing to pay Weber $52 million in signing bonuses within the next three calendar years while engaged in an effort to prevent players from receiving even a nickel in signing bonuses going forward.
Here is “Mr. Snider” using his financial might to bulk up the Flyers while at the same time pledging to bankroll a lockout in order to stop the competition from ever doing this again.
For you see, Snider’s NBC/Comcast television contract with the NHL calls for the network to pay the league in full for this season — believed between $150 million and $160 million — even if 2012-13 is canceled in full.
Like many of the owners in the NHL, Snider endorses a collective bargaining agreement that would curb many of the contract lengths and values that he so willingly gave out over his time in Philadelphia.
And of course, revenue-sharing among franchises isn’t on the capitalist Snider’s agenda. AOL’s Sporting News assessed, in theory, Snider’s likely position on the matter:
Sponsorship and TV rights dollars have skyrocketed, and NHL owners want to make sure that they, not the players, reap the rewards of their shrewd business dealings. The NHLPA’s aggressive revenue-sharing plan was an attempt to pit the owners against each other, but it only takes a coalition of 11 owners to prevent a new CBA from being ratified by a two-thirds vote.
The philosophy at play for the hardest-line owners, the ones who have everything to gain and little to lose from their position, is exemplified by Ed Snider, the chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the Philadelphia Flyers and is a subsidiary of Comcast, the parent company of, you guessed it, NBC.
All one needs to do is take a quick look at the hard-line stances of the Flyers’ owner and the Flyer players, and it becomes clear that, unless the league is filled with more moderate thinkers, this lockout is going to last a while.