The NHL would like you to believe that owners give too much money to players. That was management’s position almost a decade ago—the last time the league locked out its talent—when players were getting three-quarters of total revenues. After an entire season was voided, the NHL Players Association caved, agreeing to lower its members’ share of revenue to 57%. Peace and harmony have ensued since, but now the owners want an even bigger piece of the pie, claiming financial hardship.
Don’t believe them, not for a minute. First, as I’ve written about before, sports team accounting is misleading at best, given that club owners can claim to be losing money when a) the losses are on paper only; b) there are tax benefits from whatever losses happen to be real; and c) the value of their teams continue to rise.