My Fan Pledge (a.k.a. what to do with my NHL money?)

Just so we’re clear, I don’t really have any idea whether or not there will be a lock-out, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find a few months, or even a season or two, canceled. If you want to know what I think the reasons for this mess are, I have two answers. It could be one, the other, or both:

  1. Gary Bettman has his entire self-worth (legacy, whatever) wrapped up in whether or not his “vision” of the NHL succeeds. His vision equals the expansion of the league to thirty teams. He will not allow any form of contraction to occur, because that would mean he, Gary Bettman, failed. However, there are teams struggling in markets that can’t sustain them. Contraction ought to occur, but won’t. Instead: revenue sharing. But “sharing” in this case means that someone has to pay to keep the small markets afloat. Who will pay? The big markets? Um, no. No, and Bettman has no leverage over the big markets. If he said, “the right thing to do for the health of the league is for the big markets to support the small ones, and so that is what you must do,” the response would be: “You’re fired.” So the only people who can keep the small markets afloat are…the players. So, in short, the players must pay so that Bettman’s legacy can live.
  2. The owners just want the money. They don’t need a reason.
Now,

Can Fans Make a Difference?

No. Nobody cares. You can make Youtube videos, write impassioned letters to the league, stand outside league offices with signs, circulate petitions, what have you. But it makes no difference at all. Fans can’t make a difference because fans aren’t a “side” in this debate. We aren’t management. We aren’t labor. We’re the ****ing raw materials from which their profit is extracted. So unless we as fans want to commit specific dollar amounts in advance to a larger political organization (“The United Hockey Fan Association”) which can then throw its multi-billion dollar vote around, we have no power whatsoever. And, p.s., we wouldn’t have power then either, because the UHFA would have to elect or hire its own leader(s) and lawyers and they, like Bettman, Fehr, et al, would have the power.

Is This the End of the World?

No, it’s a gift. It’s hundreds of hours freed up to do other things. And if you want hockey, there’s plenty to go around. The Kings have an excellent AHL team in Manchester, and I’m going to be buying the AHL’s (absurdly expensive but what can I do) streaming package. There are ECHL teams. There’s college hockey. There’s OHL, WHL, QMJHL hockey. And, maybe best of all, there’s local hockey. Youth hockey. Adopt your local team. Find a good program. Become the fan of a Midget AAA team or whatever. (Try a Mite or Squirt team; there are like 100 breakaways a game.) If you think the hockey is less exciting than NHL, I think you will be surprised. Plus, it’s free.

My Pledge

Like I said, I don’t think we can make a difference, by which I mean, a real, political difference. This thing is going to happen the way it’s going to happen no matter what we do. But I do think it would be useful for us, as fans, to keep track of what we did. I mean, with the money. The hockey money. The money we would have spent on the NHL, whether that’s through tickets, merchandise, concessions, cable packages, etc..

My pledge is to keep track of every penny I would have spent on NHL hockey, and keep a diary of where I spend it instead. Maybe I’ll save it for my kid’s college. Maybe I’ll remodel the bathroom. Maybe I’ll consciously give it all to another sport. 

I invite everyone to join me.

As anyone who has ever tried to keep a budget knows, it starts to get interesting when you see how much you spend on x, and sometimes you find that you would rather spend it on y, and when x comes back into play, you find it’s not as important as you thought.

How much, exactly?

All those tickets, hot dogs, parking spaces, baby-sitters, drinks at LA Live before or after the game, Center Ice packages, ESPN Insider subscriptions, jerseys, hats, shirts, gas to and from games, etc., etc., it adds up.

  • Gas, 42 miles round trip (for me), rush-hour mileage 13 MPG, that’s (rounding off) three gallons of gas, $13 bucks. Forty one games: $533.
  • Parking, $10 x 41 games: $410.
  • Food at game, $40 x 41: $1640.
  • Center Ice Package: $150.
  • Baby-sitter, $15/hr, 5 hours per game, 41 games: $3075.
  • Merchandise for kids (hats, shirts, jerseys, pucks, programs): $1000 per season.
  • Tip-a-King (etc.) NHL charity events: $200.
  • Oh, and actual season tickets: $2580-$10,190 for a pair (range, depending on where your seats are, obviously).
That’s $7,008, NOT COUNTING TICKETS. So: $9,580 total, for cheap seats. $17,198 for great seats.

Your results will vary. Everybody’s different. Maybe you don’t have to pay a sitter. Maybe you have three seats, not two. Maybe you have a ten game plan, or half-season. Maybe you only go to a game or two every year, but even that quickly adds up.

Maybe I’ll take the family on a big vacation instead. Or put that money away for college. Probably could grow to about a year’s worth of school many years down the road. “The 2012 Lock-Out Scholarship.” Thanks, Gary!

What are you going to spend your NHL money on?

 

  3 comments for “My Fan Pledge (a.k.a. what to do with my NHL money?)

  1. variable
    September 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    money…money…money…

    if i have any to left over to spend, it will probably go to getting out of debt – something that could only help me…so, in that regard, thanks, gary…(!)

    bettman is no different than goodell…no different than stern…i cannot believe i’m saying this, but selig is the least egotistical of the major four sports czars – and that’s what they’ve really become: they are each the best lawyer in their respective organizations…

    in this case, fehr also has the unmistakeable reputation of standing tall on principles and enduring long labor battles solely based on who’s right and who’s wrong…so, yr right – a lot of it has to do with the power allotted to these captains of industry by their respective bosses…and that includes the players staying unified as clones of fehr’s beliefs, determination and endurance – let’s just call this the “fehr factor”…

    and that’s where this discussion can take a million different routes…:

    – arguments in labor disputes solely based upon principles, individual earning potential and employment benefits/rights are tough to justify in this economy…meaning, even though fehr might be on the side of the angels, he’s stubbornly pretending not to notice the significant nationwide downward earning potential of the common worker..- the middle and proletarian classes…it could be said that fehr is just as egotistical as any of them…however, is it right to judge wealthy athletes to the rest of us…?

    – yr option 2 above…

    – the nhl is determined to follow suit of the nba’s hardline stances that they took in their own negotiations last year…we are already hearing…”the offer has an expiration date”…”it will only get less…” being echoed from bettman that the angel of stern (thank you, kornheiser), his sensei, professed during the nba’s prolonged period of strife….the nba and the nfl have laid the blueprint for bettman…all he has to do is follow the instructions – and so far, he has….both from his peers and his bosses…

    – the players will always get stuck with the bill – just like the rest of us do when shit hits the fan…so, regardless of economic classes, the hierarchy and trickle-down theories remain intact from industry to industry…we don’t have a cesar chavez, or andrei sakharov or even someone with the spirits of the kennedy boys (the good stuff) to step up out of the fray and rise above and offer an equitable way out…even if the nhlpa did, would the owners even recognize it or even care….?

    the world has changed and the way we look at economics has changed since the great layoff of ’08…both sides share the same arrogance and defiance…one is just more subtle than the other (nhlpa)….

    there have been greater issues in life than this crap we now have to deal with as fans of a simple sport – that, at best, is the fourth most popular sport in NA…(?)…

    so what looks to be as an inevitable hockey lock-out today, might bring new routes for us to discover and traverse tomorrow…

    cue topol….(!)

  2. variable
    September 13, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    also….

    one thing to keep in mind is that even though the nhl is getting paid by nbc regardless of a lock-out or season this year, the nhl DOES NOT want to lose one of it most popular, expensive and crossover appeal events like the winter classic…

    if you ask me…the owners are willing to wait it out as far as mid november…i hope it’s sooner…but the only trump card the nhlpa has (besides being more unified than ever before) – the nhl not wanting to lose the winter classic game….and getting a deal done in time for that to take place…

    also, convincing that the larger markets should help out the smaller markets simply because it’s not only the right thing to do, but makes long-term earning potential even greater…if these markets can grow, that only helps everyone else,,,

    however, i completely agree with yr thoughts on the whol contraction debate…

    in my hockey narnia…:
    – the season would be no longer than 70-74 games…
    – there would be 26, maybe 28 teams, spread evenly (14/14) per conference…
    – i would ditch the divisions and keep the super conference idea alive and maybe augment a few things with it…
    – i would relocate a suffering team either in harford, las vegas, seattle, oklahoma city or somewhere else in canada -maybe hamilton…
    – i would make some hard choices regarding franchises like the islanders, panthers, coyotes and even the devils…
    – i would put detroit in the eastern conference immediately…
    – i would put a cap on contract term – no more than five years + a sixth as either a player or team option….
    – i would rewrite the rules regarding rfa’s and entry-level term and salary cap…
    – i would change the waiver/trade system and make it similar to baseball’s faux “deadline”…
    – i would push back free agency owards the middle or end of july…it makes more sense to me….and even though this might hurt the players somewhat, i think strategically as far as image and promotions go, it’s the right thing to do….
    – i would definitely let nhl players play in the olympics…
    – i would establish a better relationship with the khl and start to renegotiate more feasible transfer fees that are based upon actual khl team revenue rather than an auction process…and to make sure the bidding is capped to preempt any type of overspending…
    – i would make no-touch off sides the rule…
    – i would demand the nhl create a committee, overseen by a third-party with no conflict of interest (perhaps an arbiter or a mutual, agreeable agency) to make the investment in improving all hockey equipment and addressing a new type of helmet – the messier project comes to mind, but i’m unsure if they’re ready to go…
    – i would keep the redline invisible regarding two-line passes…
    – i would strongly consider tighter regulation on goalie equipment size…
    – i would keep shanny and his video explanations – he and it will get better – i think it’s a revolutionary idea…
    – if the owners want a hard cap, then if they find rules/loopholes and do nefarious, inflated practices, like overpaying for players via free agency and/or with offer sheets or extending term to usurp cap limits, then they are the ones that MUST make concessions during the next cba…the idea is that if we give hem what they want now and they fail…much like wall street,,,there would be overwhelming proof that the league can’t police themselves, continuously making the same mistakes, augmenting the agreed said upon freedom of the league solely in charge of the growth and well-being of the sport,,,

    there’s more…but that’s enough for now….:)

  3. kings4queens
    September 14, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    I’ve just been looking at the Monarch’s schedule and they have back to back games on the weekend of October 27-28th. Airfare through US Air is $263 per person, and tickets range from $18-$30 per person. A 3-4 star hotel near the arena runs about $99 per night and they have 24 hour free airport drop off, so the hubby and I are thinking that even if we eat the airline tickets we already purchased for Hockey Fest, we probably still would save about $500 by going to Manchester instead of Las Vegas, since we’d undoubtedly do some gambling. Plus we’d get two regular season games rather than one preseason game.
    If there’s still a lock-out going, we might do it again at the end of March for another back to back game weekend trip. We both work 4 day/10 hour schedules so it’s doable over a 3 day weekend and with Boston being so close we could probably even squeeze in a couple of side trips.
    I really, really want the Kings to play…but in the meantime, I plan to keep a close eye on all of the prospects.

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