Wednesday, October 17, 2012

You can't spell slimy without sly (sort of)

Gary Bettman isn't anyone's idea of a dance partner, but the NHL Commissioner choreographed a beautiful labor relations two-step to break the impasse in the hockey lockout.
Since the league tabled their original summertime offer calling for a reversal of the existing 57-43 revenue split in the players' favor, the public opinion pendulum has slowly swung in the owners' direction. After an initial surge of sympathy for the players, whose most aggressive position was maintaining the status quo, the owners have made serious hay from the oft-discussed notion that 50-50 would be the ultimate meeting point and represents a fair deal for both sides, if only because it follows the formula that ended the NFL and NBA lockouts. Bettman let the 50-50 model marinate in the media for three months, to the point where it became conventional wisdom, and now that he's put it on the table, the union is under enormous pressure to take the deal. Never mind that it still represents hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for owners at the expense of the players. The public perception is that it's an entirely reasonable compromise.
You wonder why Gary Bettman gets paid 8 million dollars a year? Given his talent for labor relations manipulation and what it's meant for the owners' bottom line, Bettman's a steal at 8 million.

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