Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How much is too much?

James Dolan (MSG Network)
When it comes to the current labor negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA; I have to admit that I am kind of dumbstruck when somebody says "I can't take the player's side because they make too much money." Yet when you ask people to decide "How much is too much?" that they don't have an answer other than the "they make too much" for an NHL player to make?

The players get blamed for why season tickets cost too much, for why you pay too much for the Center Ice package or for that beer that you got at the concession stands. So how come nobody ever says the owners make too much money?

How come nobody ever says Glen Sather makes too much money? You don't hear people complaining about how much the Dolans make off the New York Rangers now do you?

Maybe because odds are you don't know how much the Dolans made off the Rangers (and there is a good chance their fellow owners would like an answer too) since it is almost impossible to figure out how much the Dolans made of the Rangers.

It is not very hard to find out how much a player makes these days with sites like CapGeek.com or even via the NHLPA. We know how much Brad Richards makes but we don't know how much the Dolans make off the Rangers and why is that?

The Dolans have so many different ways to make money off the New York Rangers so while there is a cap on how much a team can spend on salaries; why not a cap on how much profit a team can make?

Here is just a sampling of the known ways that the Dolans can make money off the Rangers:

1- they own the team

2- they own the arena that the team plays in- they can make money off things like ticket sales, concessions, and merchandising. Let us not forget what happens to ticket prices (actually all pricing) during the playoffs.

4- they own the cable channels where the majority of the games are televised- they get money from other cable companies and the satellite providers for the rights to show the games as well as a share of the national television contract. They also earn money from advertising via the team sponsors.

5- they own a cable company that televises the games whether they're on MSG, NBC or NBC sports- so whether a person watches Ranger games or not they're still paying as a subscriber to Cablevision.

I wonder if perceptions would be different if the general public knew how much money the Dolans made off the New York Rangers? If the NHL wants to claim that they are in financial difficulties then open the books for everybody to see.

Odds are if you would have a better chance scoring a goal on Henrik Lundqvist then getting a read on how much profit the New York Rangers made last season.

According to this profile of James Dolan found at Forbes.com; Dolan just at Cablevision alone made $11,445,228 (according to Bloomberg.com that was 15% less than in 2010 and 33% less than he made in 2009). The same profile claims that Dolan made $1,795,509 as the executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden company.

What the profile does not list is how much money Dolan made off the shares of stock he owns in the various companies that he and his family own. Just off of Cablevision and Madison Square Garden James Dolan made close to $14 million in compensation last year.

I wonder how many people would say that James Dolan was overpaid? For $14 million you could pay for the salaries of the entire Rangers blueline (12.3 million for 6 defensemen not including Micheal Del Zotto according to CapGeek).

Even better how does the NHL justify paying Gary Bettman almost $8 million last year as I doubt anybody would think he was worth that money. I would love to hear the explanation as to why Gary Bettman makes more money than Henrik Lundqvist because I don't think Gary Bettman comes even close to generating the kind of revenue that Henrik Lundqvist does for the NHL.

I bet you come September 15th when the NHL locks out the players again that Gary Bettman will keep getting paid. I would love for somebody to ask the commissioner to explain why his salary has risen so much since the lockout.

How come for the good of the game why hasn't Gary Bettman cut his own salary? If the players are once again being asked to cut their salaries why hasn't the commissioner set the example by cutting his own salary?

People are upset that the NHLPA has taken so long to make a counteroffer to the NHL but so many don't realize that the NHL has not been forthcoming turning over the financial documents to justify their original offer. I know people are worried about losing the season and I understand that but pointing the blame at the players over the pace of the negotiations isn't accurate.

Please remember that in a labor negotiation it takes two sides to come to an agreement. It's a slow process and sometimes is a very frustrating process especially when the general public is not given all the relevant information by either side.

I don't need a crystal ball to tell you that when the NHLPA makes their offer that it will be rejected by the NHL. The NHL insists that the only way they can start the season is on their terms which really is making the negotiations that much harder.

But the next time you say that the players make too much money; let's take a good look and see how much the owners are really making. It could be a difference maker in what your perception winds up being.

In my book James Dolan does not deserve to be making more money than the entire Ranger defense. We can see how hard the Ranger blue liners work for their money but we can't say the same thing for James Dolan now can we?


Bob & Lin said...

You also have to ask how much money Dolan has invested in Cablevision, MSG,...... and how much money an individual player has invested in the Rangers? The players are earning a living (doing a job), Dolan is the owner of the organization that creates jobs. Personally speaking, I would love to see Dolan out of the picture (realistically, it ain't going to happen) but the bottom line is that management OWNS the company and players (employees) WORK for the company

Gene said...

You must believe in wealth redistribution. The employees don't create jobs, the people who invested their money do.

Jess Rubenstein said...

First off I don't have any problem with how much the Dolans make as the owners of the Rangers. Like you said they invested the money they should reaps the rewards /punishment that their efforts bring.

I think when it comes to revenue sharing I don't think the Rangers should be having to prop up franchises that are poorly run.

But what does bug me are those who say players make too much and blame them for all of what is wrong with the NHL.


No I don't believe in wealth distribution as I want to see any new revenue sharing plan be tied in with efforts to win.

I am afraid that some teams will do just enough to earn the free handout rather than try to win. I have seen that in others sports and don't think the NYR should be propping up teams that don't produce.