The NHL lockout has already cost the league almost $100 million in lost revenue.
That figure will likely end up looking like chump change by the time the sport’s latest labour dispute is settled.
Talks broke off quickly between the league and NHL Players’ Assocation on Tuesday morning and deputy commissioner Bill Daly emerged from the meeting saying “no progress” was made. For the first time, he also revealed the extent of the damage the lockout has inflicted so far — “close to” $100 million after the cancellation of the entire pre-season schedule.
“That is not going to be recouped and that’s going to cost both sides,” Daly told reporters in New York. “That’s unfortunate but it’s a reality of where we are.”
The $100 million lost so far represents approximately three per cent of the total amount of hockey-related revenue generated last season — essentially the pool of money the sides need to agree to split up.
And the 17-day lockout hasn’t yet resulted in the cancellation of any meaningful games. However, with the regular season scheduled to begin on Oct. 11, it’s only a matter of time before that happens.
“It’s something we obviously have to focus on in the short term and make an appropriate decision in the appropriate time,” said Daly. “We’re still focused on doing what we can to minimize the damage.”
There are currently no other bargaining sessions planned. NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr indicated he planned to speak with commissioner Gary Bettman by Wednesday and expressed hope that negotiations could resume before the end of the week.
The talks have been troubled from the beginning.
A wide gulf has existed since the NHL tabled an initial proposal that called for a flip in the way revenues are divided — with players receiving 43 per cent rather than owners — and included changes to rules governing contracts. The league has since proposed seeing the players’ share reduced to 47 per cent over the course of a six-year deal.
Meanwhile, the NHLPA’s latest offer would see it fall to approximately 52 per cent during the contract. They received 57 per cent last season.
“It’s clear that the players have made substantial moves towards the owners and the owners have made substantial moves away from the players,” said Fehr.
There is a clear difference of opinion on that matter. Daly has said repeatedly that the league is waiting for the NHLPA to come up with another offer that includes more concessions.
Beyond that, the sides seem to understand what the other is trying to accomplish — they just haven’t figured out a way for them both to accomplish their goals.
“I don’t think that we have a lack of communication in this negotiation,” said Daly. “They understand what our position is. To this point we certainly understand what their position is.
“We just wish it was different.”