Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

The Beauty of the CBA

I just had a very inspirational conversation with a top agent. He started off the phone call by telling me how stale I had gotten on the blog...I agreed...but we both know there isn't a whole lot new we are allowed to say now at this critical stage of the deal....it is a tough spot to be in, when you get so little and anything too positive or too negative is "off the record" and potentially dangerous.

But then he told me what we should be talking about right now. "The Beauty of this CBA." I was surprised to hear this from and agent to be honest. I talk to some of them who think the deal is Ok, most who think is it what it is, and a few who think it is not fair at all...But to hear an agent call this CBA , "beautiful" caught my attention for sure...

He said, "The reason is this...Trevor Linden is now the president of an organization that owns 54% of the revenues of a professional sports league. Think about what that means...The beauty of this is that we are real partners. "

He went on to talk about a conversation he had had with an owner. "I ask if he was going to lower ticket prices without consulting with me. The owner laughed, and I said, 'I'm serious....if you need to lower tickets for the fans we better figure out what we need to do to make up for that revenue.' The owner got silent and realized what was happening."

So here we are...

This rang true to me because I talk to a lot of players, all of whom are saying they are excited to do things for the fans and get more involved. You know what? They have to get involved now, and they should be thinking of ideas to increase revenues. The owners need to be far more creative about this as well, and they need to know that the players will be more willing than in the past to listen to ideas. The agents also have ideas, and talking to them you get the sense they are completely under-used in this way.

The agent said it this way, "Right now, like in 94, this deal looks like a slam dunk for the owners... but what is different about this deal is that we are partners, and if we increase revenues they will be forced to increase salaries. And the great by-product of increasing revenues is that if revenues are going up that means hockey is gaining popularity as well."

Then the agent asked me this, "We need ideas. Go to your players, your NHL guys, your agents, and the fans who read the blog, and ask for them to email you ideas to make this sport more popular....yes the fans of hockey can benefit as well. With increased revenue ticket prices don't need to stay so ridiculously priced."

I am always skeptical that ticket prices will drop, but talking to another hockey guy, an assistant GM, he said, "Hey why is it cheaper to go to NFL games? They are a much bigger event..Only 8 or so a year. A much bigger sport in the US....yet they are more reasonable to attend....less than the NHL."

Anyway, I have the ear of some pretty 'high up' people, and I'd be glad to bring ideas for the NHL to them (when this CBA stuff subsides)....Personally my love for the sport makes me want to really help the sport in any way I can....feel free to email me...pelle@eklundshockeyreport.com



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