I admit that I was pretty afraid of what would happen in these CBA negotiations when the Players’ Association revealed some ways back that Donald Fehr would be the guy running it after the various debacles that went down post-lockout.
All I really knew of whatever CBA negotiations were on the horizon were that the league was doing exceedingly well — though as it turned out, few of us would have guessed it would be doing this well in the summer of 2012 — and that Fehr was essentially the hardest of hard-assed union guys. The American sports fan saw the way he got Major League Baseball players to strike in 1994 and eventually won them the most insanely pro-player collective bargaining agreement of any professional sport in North America.
One thing the NHL didn’t need, I figured, was Fehr coming in and hard-lining issues like no salary cap and guaranteed contracts. Hockey is a lot of things, but “as popular as baseball” isn’t one of them. The NHL has a good TV deal, and MLB’s is so much better it’s not funny. Attendance at most NHL rinks is really strong, but the biggest sellout in the league comes about 15,000 people short of a sellout in the smallest ballpark. As such, while the NHL’s revenues are really good for what it is (a gate-driven league), and MLB’s blows them out of the water. Read the rest of this entry »