The NHL lockout is over, and hockey fans are collectively rejoicing around the world. Hockey is back.
The rejoicing comes despite the limitless disappointment and frustration with the NHL due to its spat over a new collective bargaining agreement.
As with every work stoppage, there are endless amounts of “losers” and only few who end up winning in the end.
Let’s take a look at who benefits the most from the resulting CBA that stemmed from this near-deadline deal on Jan. 6.
Sports fans, not just hockey fans
Fans live and die by their avid following of the local sports franchise. For many fans around North America, hockey is their Holy Grail. Still, they aren’t the only ones who benefit from this deal finally getting done.
Sports fans around the continent should be just as happy that another major sports organization has found a way to work through the negotiations.
There will never be a perfect system that shares revenue and benefits everyone equally. Big-market teams are going to commandeer the most attention and receive the biggest compensation for it. But the success of these negotiations has to involve compromise.
There are a couple of provisions in the new CBA that should help smaller-market teams compete. Still, not all of the concerns for those teams have been eliminated.
For starters, the salary cap being lowered from $70.2 million to $64.3 million will help some teams in terms of leveling the playing field, although not all teams will benefit.
Also, players surrendering seven percent of hockey-related revenue (HRR) to owners should allow for smaller-market owners to generate more profits and keep their teams more competitive by reinvesting that money onto the ice.
Lastly, new revenue-sharing efforts will spread $200 million across the league.
In April 2011, NBC and the NHL agreed to a 10-year deal that would solidify and boost coverage of league games on the network.
"This is the most significant U.S. media rights partnership in the League's history," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, according to Bob Condor of NHL.com.
The return of the NHL will help boost the network’s overall presence in the sports world, especially on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus).