Thursday, December 09, 2004

We Can Work It Out

The NHL owners and the players association are meeting today, for the first time since September. Praise the Lord! I have one thing to say about it:

Please, please, please, please work something out!

The New York Times has a front page story this morning about the impact the lockout is having on certain hockey cities. It just so happens that yours truly hails from the great city of Detroit, the hockeyinest town of all.

And near Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, which calls itself Hockeytown in its loyalty to the hometown Red Wings, another passel of businesses are suffering. Anthony Bruce, the manager of a popular bar, Mac's on Third, said he could lose his livelihood.

"We're still paying the place off," he said. "Our final mortgage payment is due in March and we're not sure if we're going to make it."


The city of Detroit, for example, estimates that it receives $10 million in direct revenue from hockey games over the course of a season, from sources including parking, public transportation, concession sales at Joe Louis Arena and a surcharge on Red Wings tickets. And according to David Littmann, the chief economist for Comerica, a financial services company that has its headquarters in the city, the hockey season can pump as much as $85 million into the local economy.

You see, horrible, evil, mega-rich owners? It's not just that you're destroying the sport, losing fans by the thousands, and disappointing children world-wide. You're destroying businesses and entire cities that depend on that revenue. So, I'm begging you - stop being such a bunch of assholes and settle this! Now!

What's that, you say? The players fault? No, no... That is a wide misperception, one that I just don't understand. How can you side with the corporate multi-billionaires over all of our heroes?

Allow me to explain. You see, the owners, until maybe the last 10 years, had been able to pay the players a mere pittance. But since Gretzky, and then big superstar contracts like Sergei Federov and that punkass bitch, Eric Lindros, (or for that matter, anyone on the Rangers, a team that will pay through the nose for any fading star), the salaries have increased. So now, the poor, helpless owners are making only millions in profits instead of billions. They want a hard and fast salary cap, to stop the bleeding. But as you can see in Forbes magazine, the owners aren't losing money at all. They might be if you only count ticket sales versus salaries. But when you take into account merchandising, vendor sales, and most importantly, the increase in value of an NHL franchise every single year, the owners are making money hand over fist.

The players deserve their share of those profits. And look at the NFL. They have a salary cap, and it's made it superboring. There's no challenge to create a great team. You suck this year? Wait until next year, and you'll be in the Super Bowl. I'm lookin' at you, Carolina Panthers! Nah, screw that. It should be more difficult than that, and it should require a serious commitment to winning on the part of ownership. It shouldn't just be dumb luck every single year.

Look, whatever. Just work this out. I'm going back to Detroit over Christmas, and I'm not going to be watching any games in the crappy bowling alley near my mom's house. What's Christmas without the Wings?

From the Times again:

"Emotionally we're all dying."

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