Jump to content

The Bettman Cartel: Soon to Tumble?


idahophilly
 Share

Recommended Posts

Another fun Bettman bashing article. But it does make sense...

http://my.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=14067&user_id=127057

Bettman is oft’ made out to be the bane of the NHL’s existence by some, and by others excused for simply trying to fulfill the owner’s mandate of selling the game in the U.S. market, ending labor unrest, completing expansion plans, and modernizing the views within the ownership groups.

Let’s look at the body of work of Mr. Bettman.

Since the diminutive attorney took over the job as NHL Commish in 1993, league’s revenue has increased from $400 mil. To $3.3 bil. Two teams were already slated for expansion (Ducks and Panthers), but Bettman was the overseer of expansion that added the Predators, Blue Jackets, Thrashers and Wild.

Bettman was also the architect of the re-location of the Jets, North Stars, Whalers and les Nordiques, and instituted the Canadian Assistance Plan which was also known as the Exchange Rate Equalization Plan.

How do Mr. Bettman’s actions measure up?

First off let’s tackle his efforts to end labour unrest. This can be described as nothing short of epic failure. We are now in our third lockout since Bettman took the league-reigns, and hockey is the only pro sport in North America to lose an entire season to a labour dispute.

The security of a salary cap was supposed to add the cost certainty the owners would require to keep spiraling salaries under control and help the weaker teams to compete and add parity to the league. But for various reasons including blatant cap circumvention tactics by the owners, this has not added the financial stability it was intended to, and the parity in the league is more due to three-point games than the salary cap. Cap circumvention could have been avoided with a little foresight and adding contract restrictions when the last CBA was signed; and should have been.

The temporary resurgence of the NHL’s weak sisters after the last CBA was due to the salary rollback of 24% and had nothing to do with the salary cap. In concert these factors amounts to Strike One.

On to expansion and relocation:

This situation is so bizarre it defies comprehension.

•Relocation of the Jets to Phoenix, who have never made money. Now, currently dropping tens of millions of dollars a year in the midst of an unprecedented league-takeover to ensure the team stays in a losing environment, when the alternative of moving to Hamilton was clearly the prudent option.

•Relocation of the failing expansion Thrashers to Winnipeg.

•Relocation of the Minnesota North Stars to Dallas, who were recently sold in Chapter 11 to Canadian business man Tom Gaglardi.

•Expansion back into the Minnesota market.

•Expansion into Columbus who are currently only second to Phoenix in losses: estimated around $15 million a year.

•Expansion into the hockey hotbed of Nashville Tennessee, where despite heavy local subsidies and an infusion of over $60 mil in ownership dollars over the last three years the team is still losing money.

•Contemplating either relocation or expansion back into the Quebec City market.

•Not one of the expansion or relocation teams are currently profitable except the Jets.

Strike Two.

But Mr. Bettman did institute the Canadian Assistance Plan, which saved the some Canadian teams right?

Not so fast. Bettman waited so long to bring in equalization the Canadian franchises were barely viable or competitive because they had to offload their best players…mostly to big market American teams.

Foul Ball.

Lastly: Growing the game in the States.

Despite growing league- revenue by 50%, the greatest growth came from Canadian teams and original six franchises, with only one franchise outside of these two groups being profitable: The Colorado Avalanche.

Strike two-and-a-half.

Why the baseball references? Because Bettman’s negotiations with former baseball union boss Donald Fehr-if they cost the league another season or more-should be the final strike that puts Bettman out at home plate. But hey, this is the NHL, and Bettman will probably get yet another raise.

Factoid: In 2003-2004 the top players in the league made $11 million per season, the top paid player in the league now is Alex Ovechkin with a cap hit of just over $9.5 million a year. In the same time-frame Gary Bettman’s annual income has grown from $3.77 mil to $7.23 mil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think something really embarrassing for the NHL would have to happen before Bettman is fired. Here is another writer's opinion of how the owners adore him. Ed Snider's comment in particular: “Now it’s Bettman’s league. He’s a great commissioner. Basically he’s the force behind everything we do.”

I'm glad both sides are talking, but one hardly can fathom the players have a chance even under Fehr to win this.

Bettman Undisputed N.H.L. Enforcer

By JEFF Z. KLEIN

Published: September 29, 2012

How much power does N.H.L. Commissioner Gary Bettman have? Is he merely the instrument of the owners, taking orders and doing what he is told, or is it the other way around?

If it happens on ice and it involves hitting and scoring, The Times's Slap Shot blog is on it.

Fans and the N.H.L. Players’ Association should make no mistake: Bettman is definitely running the show. Critics may point to the three lockouts that have happened under his leadership since he became commissioner in 1993, including the current one, in its third week, and say they are grounds for his firing. But not the owners.

They look at the bottom line and marvel at the job he has done. During Bettman’s tenure, N.H.L. revenue has grown from $400 million a year to $3.3 billion.

“He’s in charge,” said Jonathon Gatehouse, whose book “The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever,” the first in-depth biography of Bettman, was recently published. “It has been a gradual process over 20 years and has accelerated since his victory in the last lockout.”

He continued: “Had he failed to deliver in 2004-5, he wouldn’t be the commissioner anymore. But he did, and he has made them tons of money. If he wins this round, I think he’s emperor for life.”

At a time when another big-time commissioner, Roger Goodell of the N.F.L., seems like a tailback desperately navigating a broken field of competing owners, Bettman comes off quite differently. He is the undisputed captain of his team, ready to be as rough in the corners as he needs to be to win.

It is hard to envision Bettman, the arrogant-seeming little guy with a Queens accent, skating or checking. But he approaches his job with a thoroughness and ferocity that any hulking N.H.L. forward would recognize.

As Gatehouse, a business writer for the Canadian newsmagazine Maclean’s, describes in his book, Bettman, 60, has operated on four or five hours of sleep a night since graduating from Cornell and New York University law school. He is a meticulous planner, and he often drills staff members to make certain they know subjects as thoroughly as he does. He started planning the 2004-5 lockout in meetings four years in advance.

The N.H.L. owners lured Bettman from the No. 3 job at the N.B.A. to install a salary cap. Only one year later, he attempted his first lockout, which cost about 42 percent of the 1994-95 season, but he did not win it. The owners were not unified behind him — at one point they defeated his proposal for a settlement, 14-12 — and in January 1995 he was forced to strike a deal short of the salary-cap goal.

In subsequent years, Bettman cajoled and even berated the owners into running their teams in a more fiscally responsible fashion.

“He would run a roll call of teams, and one by one take team owners, with all their private business splashed up on a big screen for everyone to see, to the principal’s office,” Ken Dryden, then the president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, said recently in The Globe and Mail.

To make sure the disunity of 1994-95 did not happen again, Bettman engineered a change in the voting rules: if he was against a settlement, he could be overruled only by a vote of three-quarters of the owners. And he was given the power to fine any owner or team official as much as $1 million for divulging internal league matters.

When the 2004 negotiations came around, the owners stood as one behind Bettman. He canceled the season and in the summer made preparations to hire replacement players. The players buckled, taking a 24 percent pay cut, accepting a hard salary cap and going through four union chiefs before Donald Fehr finally arrived in 2010 and restored order.

Since that victory, Bettman’s authority has been unassailable.

In 2008, after the Rangers owner James L. Dolan unsuccessfully sued the N.H.L. for not allowing the team to run its own Web site, the commissioner responded with a scorched-earth countersuit that threatened to strip the Rangers from the Dolan family. The matter was settled out of court, with Madison Square Garden paying the league’s legal fees, and Dolan has been a quiet figure on the N.H.L. Board of Governors ever since, despite the Rangers’ vast wealth.

“That whole episode with the Dolans was really instructive of just how powerful Bettman is,” Gatehouse said.

Fans still deride Bettman as a “basketball guy,” but the only N.H.L. owners who predate him are Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings and the Wirtz family of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jacobs, the chairman of the Board of Governors, and Snider, who as chairman of Comcast helped secure the N.H.L.’s $200 million deal with NBC, are his strongest supporters.

“In the old days, basically the owners ran the league and almost ran it into the ground,” Snider said last December. “Now it’s Bettman’s league. He’s a great commissioner. Basically he’s the force behind everything we do.”

Bettman is a smiling, but tough, negotiator. Richard Stursberg, the former head of CBC English-language television, recounted in his recently published memoir the negotiations in 2006 and 2007 for the network to renew its N.H.L. contract. He wrote of Bettman “cheerfully” scuttling deals every time Stursberg thought one was close. One night, after Bettman invited Stursberg to dinner at the East Harlem restaurant Rao’s to discuss how many Toronto games a rival network would carry, Stursberg could not find a taxi. He asked Bettman for a ride.

“Sure,” Stursberg said Bettman responded. “How about we make it three extra Maple Leaf games?”

In the current talks with the players’ union, he may be up against another master negotiator in Fehr, but still, it would be hard not to bet on Bettman. The owners, who as a group have thrived under his leadership, certainly do

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anyone who thinks Bettman is in trouble with the owners should read this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/sports/hockey/on-hockey-bettman-is-the-undisputed-nhl-enforcer.html?_r=1&ref=hockey

“He’s in charge,” said Jonathon Gatehouse, whose book “The Instigator: How Gary Bettman Remade the NHL and Changed the Game Forever,” the first in-depth biography of Bettman, was recently published. “It has been a gradual process over 20 years and has accelerated since his victory in the last lockout.”

He continued: “Had he failed to deliver in 2004-5, he wouldn’t be the commissioner anymore. But he did, and he has made them tons of money. If he wins this round, I think he’s emperor for life.”

Fans still deride Bettman as a “basketball guy,” but the only N.H.L. owners who predate him are Ed Snider of the Philadelphia Flyers, Jeremy Jacobs of the Boston Bruins, Mike Ilitch of the Detroit Red Wings and the Wirtz family of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Jacobs, the chairman of the Board of Governors, and Snider, who as chairman of Comcast helped secure the N.H.L.’s $200 million deal with NBC, are his strongest supporters.

“In the old days, basically the owners ran the league and almost ran it into the ground,” Snider said last December. “Now it’s Bettman’s league. He’s a great commissioner. Basically he’s the force behind everything we do.”

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@fanaticV3.0

http://www.hockeyforums.net/index.php/topic/39656-how-many-lockouts-does-it-take-to-get-to-the-center-of-a-tootsie-pop/page__st__15

Do you recall the convo we had about who is driving the train? Nevermind...it must have been my imagination........The big problem is I am not the only one imagining it...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The players are gonna get crushed if this goes the way its looking and the way I think. Problem is, the relationship between coaches, GM's and owners and the players will never be yhe same... Sad...

Yeah, it is definitively looking that way, and I'm sure Fehr knows it. Larry Brooks from the ny post stated what the players have to do,

Regardless, the responsibility does fall on the NHLPA to attempt to advance the stalled process, and that entails submitting a revised proposal to the league that will place owners’ commissioner Gary Bettman on the defensive when and if he refuses to consider it.

And that means the union is going to have to submit a long-term proposal under which the players’ share eventually decreases to the same 49-51 percent band the NBA players accepted last season if the NHL guarantees all existing contracts through their entirety at an escrow rate capped at no more than five percent and the systems issues are not overhauled.

That’s the basis of a settlement. That’s the foundation of what may not necessarily be a fair deal for the players, but the fairest one they can expect to get from the Sixth Avenue nihilists who cancel games as a matter of course the way banks cancel checks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Talks to resume on Tuesday morning in New York.

The NHL dispute is now attracting the attention of two New Jersey senators, who are urging both sides to settle.

U.S. Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez sent a letter Monday to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr urging them to consider the economic impact on their state if the dispute is not resolved.

The Democrats wrote that Congress has jurisdiction over interstate commerce, which includes professional sports, and will be keeping a ''close eye'' on negotiations.

The letter warned that the absence of New Jersey Devils' games in Newark could mean millions of dollars in lost economic activity and jobs in especially tough economic times.

This ^^^^ is a good sign.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe so, but I wish the government would just stay out of all this kind of crap...

Not that I really want government persay to mediate, and even though both sides are still talking......there comes a point when there needs to be a third party involved. Especially when big business affects the economy of the surrounding area. The city of Newark probably has a fair debt to pay for their new arena.....with no events to make money that becomes an unfair burden on the city, state and taxpayers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that I really want government persay to mediate, and even though both sides are still talking......there comes a point when there needs to be a third party involved. Especially when big business affects the economy of the surrounding area. The city of Newark probably has a fair debt to pay for their new arena.....with no events to make money that becomes an unfair burden on the city, state and taxpayers.

Not that I really want government persay to mediate, and even though both sides are still talking......there comes a point when there needs to be a third party involved. Especially when big business affects the economy of the surrounding area. The city of Newark probably has a fair debt to pay for their new arena.....with no events to make money that becomes an unfair burden on the city, state and taxpayers.

Not that I really want government persay to mediate, and even though both sides are still talking......there comes a point when there needs to be a third party involved. Especially when big business affects the economy of the surrounding area. The city of Newark probably has a fair debt to pay for their new arena.....with no events to make money that becomes an unfair burden on the city, state and taxpayers.

Thats true. If they still owe on the arena then the public, whether hockey fans or not, have skin in the game...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Despite growing league- revenue by 50%, the greatest growth came from Canadian teams and original six franchises, with only one franchise outside of these two groups being profitable: The Colorado Avalanche."

If this does not sew up the NHL's problems, I don't know what does. Only the Ave's make a profit when excluding Canadian and Org 6 franchises....WOW, that is wicked!

So what do they do, have a 3rd straight work stoppage, leaving the already unstable USA markets to ponder what else they can do with their hard earned entertainment buck....idiots I tell ya!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted · Hidden by jammer2, October 2, 2012 - No reason given
Hidden by jammer2, October 2, 2012 - No reason given

@idahophilly Me too, I guess the precedent was laid down during the bail out of the Big 3. This is nothing close to a bail out situation, but the gov't has meddled into private industry, so why stop now, huh? It's pretty lame (although I must say, the bail out worked, saved THOUSANDS of respectable jobs and hundreds of tax bases throughout the country).

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...