But that ignores the fact that the players are the reason people pay so much to follow the NHL. They are elite talent and what generates billions of dollars for the league.
The owners take the financial risks but they depend on a very small and skilled labor pool to generate revenue.
If people just want to watch any old hockey played by above average athletes, there's plenty of minor leagues available. But fans won't shell out 3 billion dollars to follow those leagues.
Agreed, they rely on a small and extremely skilled labor pool and that labor pool is compensated accordingly. I'm ok with the NHLPA fighting to ensure the NHL honor existing contracts, precisely because high end labor must be compensated accordingly. The NHL should budge on that issue. However I don't see how anyone can justify a majority of HRR also going to the players as compensation by saying "they're elite laborers". They are that, which is why they get paid as much as they do. The majority of the HRR should go to the people who take the risks and therefore can actually LOSE money. Owners lose money (via declining ticket and merch sales) if their players play like s***. Players are guaranteed their money whether they suck or not (looking at you Ty Conklin). Owners can also lose money via things that are completely out of their control, like global recessions. They take risks. That's the difference, and that's why the players should budge on HRR.
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