5 Ways the NHL Lockout Is Similar to the NBA Lockout
Despite the significant differences between the current NHL lockout and the NBA's lockout last season, there are several similarities as well.
Both sports are enjoying very successful times with high revenue and fan popularity, but these are being threatened by the greed and ego that fuel the lockouts.
Let's examine the similarities between the NBA and NHL lockouts.
Both Commissioners Are Master Negotiators
Both NBA commissioner David Stern and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman are fantastic negotiators and have a history of successful CBA outcomes during their careers.
Whether or not you approve of the direction that they have taken their respective sports, you cannot argue the fact that these men have done an extraordinary job making the owners they work for very rich.
After all, their primary job is to fight for a CBA that is in favor of the owners.
While both men have their faults, each of them are very good at bargaining and using their sides leverage to gain an enormous advantage in negotiating.
Each League Has a Massive Television Deal
Keeping your television rights holders happy in a lockout is a difficult thing to do because it's harder for these networks to make money when there are no games to sell advertisements for.
These contracts are very important because they are a major source of revenue for the NBA and NHL.
One way to ensure that these leagues will be able to sign even better deals in the future is by convincing networks that lockouts won't erase entire seasons of play. The NBA has gone through two lockouts in the last 15 years, but neither has eliminated a full year.
Meanwhile, the NHL already lost a year in 2004-05 and could lose another this season. Bettman not only needs to keep his owners happy, he needs to make sure the league's relationship with NBC doesn't sour.
Since the NHL lockout began on September 15, NBC Sports has struck a deal to broadcast English Premier League soccer matches.
Split of Revenue Is the Major Issue
One of the biggest obstacles in making a new CBA during any lockout is determining how revenue will be divided by the league and its players.
After many months of negotiations, the NBA and NBPA settled on a 50-50 split of basketball-related income (BRI) when the players moved even further toward the owners on this issue than they probably would have liked to.
Just last week, the NHLPA made a very good offer from an economic standpoint, but it was shot down by Bettman and the owners in just a few hours.
Until the NHL and its players can agree on a fair split of hockey-related revenue (HRR), we won't be seeing NHL action anytime soon.
Decertification Is a Topic of Discussion
Decertification is always an option for a union during lockouts and both the NBPA and NHLPA have explored the possibility of using this strategy over the last year.
In the NBPA's case, they actually began the decertification process when it became clear that their best offer to the league wasn't going to be accepted. The result of their legal action was a new CBA just a short period of time later.
The NHLPA is also looking into the advantages and disadvantages of decertification, according to Tim Panaccio of CSNPhilly.com:
player source from the Fehr meeting on decertification discussion: "it is a serious consideration right now."— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) November 25, 2012
We will have to wait and see whether or not the NHL players actually decide to decertify, but after seeing their NBA counterparts reach a new CBA quickly after they decertified, it wouldn't be surprising to see the NHLPA make the same decision.
Small-Market Teams Need a Favorable CBA
One of the goals of both lockouts is to reach a CBA that is favorable to the small-market teams who need more help to be successful on the ice and financially.
Even though the NBA's small-market owners did benefit from the 10-year CBA signed last December, there wasn't enough done to help them compete with high-spending teams in major markets. The NBA is still a league driven by superstars and large-market teams.
With so many teams in the NHL losing money (via Forbes.com), hockey's next CBA needs to be more successful in helping small-market teams be more competitive than the NBA's latest agreement has been thus far.
Revenue sharing, the split of HRR and the salary cap ceiling/floor figures are three issues that will greatly impact the chances of small-market teams doing well after the lockout.