Clearly there are teams that are struggling financially but the Forbes report isn't a complete or accurate financial picture. In 2004 Bettman had an extensive audit of franchises to show in irrefutable detail how many were losing money. Strange how he didn't do that this time.
There's the secondary issue of how much it's actually the players fault that these franchises aren't profitable. Unlike 2005 the real issue is the disparity of the franchises, not the un-capped costs of player salaries.
That second point is what I think the majority of people I argue with don't seem to understand. To solve a problem, your solution actually has to address the root cause of that problem. Otherwise, it's like trying to bandage on your finger to cure a headache - it doesn't make any sense.
In 2004/05, there was an idea that player salaries had gotten out of control. Even thought the fans personally identified with the players more than a bunch of suits who own and operate the teams, public sentiment was largely on the side of the owners. A lot of people, myself included, assumed that if you put a reasonable cap in place, ALL teams would have to spend more responsibly. More importantly, the disparity in budget between the "haves" and "have nots", by definition could not be more than $16 million (difference between cap floor and cap ceiling).
The new CBA really could have succeeded. But two things happened between 2005 and 2012 that really destroyed any chance for smaller markets to compete again. The first was that the revenues of the game grew, which meant that the cap increased:
Raise your hand if you really thought we would nearly DOUBLE the salary cap by 2012 (oh, and by the way, in the midst of a massive worldwide recession). Oh, and by the way, teams like the Detroit Red Wings, who were derisively referred to as the "Yankees" of the NHL, actually didn't spend more than the current salary cap amount before
the new CBA, except for one season (2003-04). That "all-star" team that one the 2001-02 Cup with something like 11 Hall of Famers on it? Their payroll of $66 million would've fit easily into the Cap for the 2012-13 season. Of course, the problem was getting worse and worse without a Cap, and I agreed at the time that Salary Cap was necessary. Unfortunately, the implementation of that did nothing to slow the increase of salaries. It simply reset the clock for a few years, which is necessary anyway after you sit out a whole season and disillusion much of your fanbase.
The second thing that happened, of course, was the backdiving contracts and owners/GM's figuring out ways to spend more on players than the team's cap figure would seem to imply. This is significant financially because if you're handing out money to minor league stashes, bonuses, and actual payments to players larger than their cap hit would suggest, then the salary cap really isn't doing much to limit spending,
which was supposed to be the whole point of this fiscal responsibility push in 2004-05 in the first place.
Long story short, the system was fundamentally flawed, and the combination of the increased cap and "cheater" contracts that payed more than they appear to led to sustained spending on players. Those problems do need to be fixed so that spending can't get out of control again.
But if you're Phoenix, or Nashville, or Dallas, or whatever...people still need to want to BUY your product, or you'll never make money like the big boys. Even worse, the CBA that is supposed to help all teams by controlling spending actually hurts franchises by putting a cap FLOOR on those teams. Many of those franchises are going to draw 10,000 to 12,000 per game whether they spend $25 million or $50 million on payroll. There just aren't enough fans
to support the product long-term in those markets, and that has nothing to do with the players or how much revenue they get.
Edited by StormJH1, 29 November 2012 - 12:02 PM.