The NBA has decided to launch its 2020-2021 season on December 22. It offers a 72-game schedule and players agree that salaries will be paid in proportion to the number of games. However, we are proposing to negotiate a new business model in terms of revenue sharing or, due to the pandemic, of the deficits incurred.
Will this decision influence the National Hockey League?
On the one hand, because the players and owners of the NHL agreed to a new agreement during the return to work protocol negotiations last July.
Also, because the NBA enjoys a much more lucrative television contract than the NHL’s. Therefore, the owners want a return in December with the goal of having amphitheatres 25% occupied in the near future … then 50%, and we’ll see later.
Owners in distress
In the National League – and the question was asked to Geoff Molson, owner of the Canadiens, in various forums this week – hockey is going through worrying moments because investors would prefer that we resume activities when we have found a way to curb COVID19.
In other words, for them, it would be better to put away the equipment until economic conditions improve significantly.
Mr. Molson recognizes that some owners will have to review their financial commitments with bankers, but the National League must continue its activities.
And he is absolutely right.
The stakes are too high to close the door. There is the prospect of a new contract with television and that is a priority. The league must complete the last year of its agreement with American television, then enter into negotiations with several networks.
This will be the main source of income to repay the debts accumulated as a result of the events that marked the end of hostilities on March 12, 2020.
“I’m convinced there will be a season,” he commented, trying to be convincing.
Of course, we will have to do it, but obviously respecting special conditions, conditions which will force decision-makers to think outside the box.
- What is the best solution to ensure economic stability?
- Which teams are in difficulty?
- Are we going to demand an extended financial participation from the players?
- Are we going to imitate the NBA model?
Right now, professional sports, like all businesses, face a harsh opponent. It forces governments to take drastic measures to protect the population.
And the consequences plunge everyone into the unknown and raise concerns.
The economy is slowing down.
Americans are sinking into this pandemic every day with disastrous results despite warnings from public health specialists.
Of course, the possibility of creating four divisions and especially a Canadian division is an interesting project. The decision to call off the All-Star game was over. And due to the Summer Olympics, it’s clear Gary Bettman and his group have been advised by NBC not to host Stanley Cup games in July 2021.
January 1, as Bill Daly, Gary Bettman’s right-hand man confirmed yesterday, is still the date set for the start of the season, although players and owners have only engaged in talks with the goal of prepare the terrain.
In other words, a schedule of 56 or 48 games would fit perfectly with the current context and especially with the current economic situation.
But that would mean lost revenue for the players. Will they be called upon another time?
Already they have given a 10% loan to the owners and they will pay 20% of 90% of their wages into the trust account?
But you have to believe that when you are faced with the inevitable, all alternatives deserve special attention.