Monday, October 29, 2012

“We believe we're paying out too much”

That was a surprising moment of unvarnished honesty by the Commissioner almost seven weeks ago in this interminable labor dispute between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association.  We fans see reports that operating costs have gone up for the league and its clubs since the last lockout (that we have to use the term "last lockout" is a clue how nauseating this whole thing has become).  But while these costs have gone up, according to the Commissioner, they have done so while hockey-related revenues have gone up.

It got us to thinking, what if a fan had that kind of a mind set?  Consider, according to the Energy Information Administration, gas prices have gone up by 91 percent since the league cancelled the 2004-2005 season in February 2005 (and that is after a four percent drop in gas prices in the last week).  That here in the DC area, base peak fare for Metrorail in Washington has gone up by 56 percent.  Metro parking rates have gone up by similar amounts.  And as for parking downtown goes, it varies, but based on where we park when do drive to games, it has gone up by two-thirds.  The cost of outfitting a fan (hats, jerseys, shirts) so that they have the right look when they see their favorites on the ice play has gone up.

And none of that includes increases in ticket prices over the past couple of years (about 15 percent per year, based on my invoices), despite the fact that many of the people attending games in this area have not seen their hockey fan-related revenue ("HFRR")  increase, either as a result of pay freezes for Federal employees or a general downturn in the economy.

It might make a hockey fan think, "Mr. Commissioner, we think we're paying out too much, too."

Think we'll see any savings from any reduction in player share of revenue passed along to hockey fans?

Yeah...hang on to that dream.