I have had enough! I am at my wits end! I feel taken advantage of, and so should every other fan of professional sports. For years, the owners of the NHL and NFL have ruled over the sports we love with an iron fist, treating the players like pawns and the fans like loyal puppy dogs. Greed pours out of the offices of these organizations and it seeps into the sports we love so dearly. As loyal fans, we deserve better!
The NHL is about to enter its second lockout in ten years. Why? Because Commissioner Gary Bettman is unwilling to hold a legitimate discussion with the NHLPA, and instead dismisses their proposals as “distractions” or “a stonewall.” The NHLPA stood its ground on Friday when they defended having the player revenues reduced, which they would be under the new deal presented by the owners. The NHL did very well last season, generating $3.3 billion. The current revenue equation favors the players 57% – 43% and the new one proposed by the owners slashes that share to 46% – 54% in their favor. Just to clarify, the owners would like to take 11% of the players revenues.
“We need to be paying out less in player costs.” — Bettman, Aug. 9, 2012.
The NHL cites higher business costs as their reason for the pay cut, but they also want to cut other hockey-related revenue from the players’ money in the new deal. The NHL raised its highest revenue ever this past season, why shouldn’t the players get their share? The NHLPA also wanted to discuss revenue sharing among the franchises which would help out the struggling markets (such as New Jersey); Bettman dismissed this as a “distraction.” Everyone knows the NHL isn’t the most popular sport in the world, but it’s the players and the loyal fans that have helped the sport grow. A lockout this coming season would not only be heartbreaking for the fans, but it would kill everything the NHL and NHLPA have worked for the past seven years. So please, stand up for the players who gave us dreams, heros, and memories that will last a lifetime.
The NFL is currently locking out the referees a year after locking out the players. Why? Money. The NFL is a $9 billion business that grows almost every year, yet they won’t pay the referees more. The refs aren’t asking for player-like salaries, just a modest increase. In the $9 billion dollar industry, if the refs were payed $40 million a year, it would amount to 2% of the league revenues . The simple solution is just pay them! But no. Commissioner Roger Goddell, like Gary Bettman, has discovered his favorite tactic of gripping his iron fist by initiating a lockout. He and the owners want to exert their dominance over these 119 referees and show they won’t be “bullied” into giving away a tiny bit of money. Instead, they would rather sacrifice player safety, integrity of the game, and fan experience in order to stand their ground. Anyone that’s watched any preseason game this year can clearly tell that the replacement referees are in way over their heads and will completely soil this coming season by blowing call after call.
The NFL owners took one step further in their abuse of the fans by instituting PSLs, Personal Seat Licenses, in many stadiums. For those that are unaware, PSLs force fans to pay for the right to pay for season tickets. These PSLs are not cheap and adds a huge cost on the already too-high cost of season tickets. My neighbor was a season ticket holder for the Jets for 19 years until they moved to the new stadium and instituted the PSLs; now the cost is too high. He and millions of other loyal fans were punished by this nickel-and-dime scheme from the owners.
What the commissioners and owners of the NHL and NFL don’t care about anymore is the main reason for these sports; the fans. The fans are the reason these sports exist and flourish, yet they are being taken advantage of and tossed aside by the greed of the commissioners and owners. “Fans? Forget them, they’ll still come to the games and buy the merchandise because that’s what they’ve been conditioned to do.” No more! It’s time for the abuse of the fans to end. These are our sports, our passions, our extended families that are being ruined by the greed of a few men. The fans must reclaim control and say enough is enough! Make phone calls, write letters, send tweets, and stop buying NHL and NFL merchendise. Let them know that the “loyal fans that will be there no matter what” are extremely angry and will not tolerate this kind of greed anymore!
Stand up for yourself and help save our sports!
Gary Bettman’s office address and phone number can be found here
The NFL office address and phone number can be found here
Roger Goddell’s Twitter: @nflcommish
Special Thanks: Remy Gallo, NJ