For the NHL, it has taken them a few years to finally regain their footing from the 2004 lockout while they have simultaneously obtained record revenue, nearly 3.3 billion dollars. NHL fans were growing by the day and the atmosphere of going to a game was electric. As many know, the NHLPA rejected the owners’ proposal yesterday. Many expected for some progress in talks while Gary Bettman has stated that the negotiations are back to square one. The current lockout along with the 04 lockout begs the question, given the current system, are lockouts inevitable?
The long-term implications of a quick deal that tentatively makes both parties happy would seem to lead to another lockout when the currently negotiated CBA expires. One of the biggest things that both parties should be looking for in the current CBA is terms that will last for both parties, making them both happy. This will allow for a much easier negotiation the next time that a potential lockout could occur. In the 2004 lockout, the players made major concessions in salary rollback, enabling the NHL to resume. However, it has come to the point where the owners are looking for a similar concession. It has turn into what have you done for me lately? It is clear that the players are serious about making a deal, being that they created three counter proposals that all got shot down by the owners. It would seem that the players will have to make more major concessions. But, it would seem that these concessions could be made through growing the game and increasing in revenue, instead of just giving the owners the money right now. The owners continually growing greed makes one believe that a lockout is very difficult to avoid every time the CBA is up. If the lockout ended tomorrow and the CBA ended in six years, it is very likely that revenue would increase to all-time highs. In 2018, the owners will be expecting a bigger cut of the money and a lockout could continue again. If there is not a 50-50 split in revenue in the currently negotiated CBA, we could be in the exact same situation in 6 years.