August 08, 2005

NHL and NHLPA Partners Again

After a 16 month labor dispute that has greatly damaged the sport of hockey the players and employers, through their associations have embarked on a joint marketing strategy to win back fans:

From Wall Street Journal - Breaking Ice Humbled NHL Woos Back Fans (subscription required)

For the first time, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association have entered into a joint marketing partnership in an attempt to woo fans. The two entities, which usually operate separately, will craft a "nontraditional, very aggressive" ad campaign, an NHL spokeswoman says, noting that details are still being finalized.

Indeed, without a new playbook, hockey faces a dim future. TV audiences for hockey games had been shrinking in the U.S. well before the lockout, according to Nielsen Media Research. Even in Canada, where the NHL first formed in 1917, the lockout managed to help erode a previously solid fan base. Since 2003, the number of Canadian sports fans older than 12 identifying hockey as one of their favorite sports has dropped to 55% from 68%, according to Solutions Research Group Consultants Inc.

In addition to the discounts and freebies, NHL "teams must take on an unprecedented service mentality" by retraining customer-service employees to better handle disgruntled fans, says Robert Cornilles, president of Game Face Inc. The Tualatin, Ore., consultancy is working with six NHL teams to recruit new employees for in-house marketing efforts. It is also coaching some of its players on how to win back corporations that used to sponsor teams.

For background on the NHL dispute see the book Red Line, Blue Line, Bottom Line

August 8, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 12, 2005

Does the Union Hurt Major League Baseball?

An article in today's Wall Street Journal suggests that the players union is 'hurting' baseball.  Not a surprise to see this kind of sports article in WSJ.

When Push Comes to Shove: Unions Hurt Baseball (subscription required)

The present dysfunctional system of rewarding thuggish behavior while punishing innocent parties should surprise no one who has been following baseball's struggles with this most militant of unions. Consider, for example, the union's position on amphetamines and steroid usage.

Despite almost universal disapproval, the baseball union leadership insists that testing baseball players for illegal drugs is both a civil-rights and privacy issue that must be negotiated with the union. The union is seemingly unconcerned about the long-term effects of drug use on players and, so far at least, has refused to endorse any testing for amphetamines. One union official famously declared that cigarettes are worse than steroids.

Thus a moral hazard exists in baseball that permits mature ballplayers to surreptitiously use performance-enhancing drugs while minor-league players, who are not union members and are subject to a much more stringent drug-testing regimen, find themselves at a significant competitive disadvantage with their seniors.

The author is the chairman of the San Diego Padres. Will the WSJ give equal space to a players representative?

July 12, 2005 in Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

NHL Players Union Capitulation?

Kevin Greenstein from InsideHockey.Com is critical of the National Hockey League Players Association in an article in today's NY Sun.

In Brainwashed Players Appear Ready to Capitulate (subscritpion required) Greenstein quotes LA Kings forward Sean Avery as claiming him and his fellow players were 'brainwashed' and that, "We burned a year for nothing, We didn't win anything, We didn't prove anything, We didn't get anything. We wasted an entire season."

The article reports that the proposed collective bargaining agreement may cut some players salary by 40%.

The Players Association is denying reports however that a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

July 7, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

NHL Complains to NLRB

The NHL has filed a complaint wth the NLRB over allegations that the Players Association threatened to decertify agents for representing replacement players. In an article in today's NY Times (NHL's Complaints Givent to NLRB Atorneys) it is mentioned that replacement players were considered:

The NHL has the option of using replacement players next season if the lockout continues. The league has backed off that threat, saying next season won't begin on time if a deal isn't reached with the players.

Also in the NY Times, sources are optimistic that a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place soon.  See - Sides Move Closer to Firming Up Collective Bargaining Agreement

July 5, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 03, 2005

New NHL Agreement This Week?

The San-Jose Mercury News reports the NHL may announce a new collective bargaining agreement this week.

Click Here for the Full Article

July 3, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 13, 2005

More On the NHL Lockout

Michael Fitzgibbon of the Thoughts from a Management Lawyer blog has posted another informative update on the NHL lockout.

The dispute is becoming more complicated as part of the NHL Players association files for certification in British Columbia and Quebec with the NHL fights against this move by filing charges  at the NLRB in the United States.

May 13, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

NHL Labor Dispute

Marc Edge has written a book on the NHL lockout titled Red Line, Blue Line, Bottom Line: How Push Came to Shove Between the National Hockey League and its Players.

A review of the book appears here.

An excellent article on the NHL labor dispute written by the book's author can be found here.

April 23, 2005 in Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 28, 2005

NHLPA & NHL fight Continues

Thoughts From a Management Lawyer has an excellent post which gives an update on the labor dispute within the hockey world:

TSN reports that NHL files complaint vs. NHLPA.  According to the article:

TSN has learned the NHL has formally filed an ''unfair labor practice'' complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in the United States over the NHLPA's apparent policy that any NHLPA member who were to become a replacement player next season would have to re-pay the lockout ''stipend'' he is currently receiving from the union.

See the rest of his post HERE.

* I disclose that I am a die hard NJ Devils fan and despite that I will continue to support Michael Fitzgibbons excellent blog Thoughts from a Management Lawyer though I suspect he is a Toronto Maple Leafs fan!!!*

(Ok Michael admits to being a Montreal Canadiens fan- see comments, I can live with that)

Seriously, hopefully both sides can work something out because this dispute is can only hurt everyone involved, especially the fans.

March 28, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 19, 2005


Hockey is the only professional sport I watch. Despite that fact I have paid almost no attention to the details of the conflict between the team owners and the hockey players association.
Below I provide a link and some excerpts from one of the better articles i have read on the situation. (any readers who know more about labor relations in sports and wish to write something on the NHL situation feel free to email me, I'll post it as a guest blog).

The Bright Side of Armageddon  Greg Wyshynski (sports central)

I was wrong about the National Hockey League lockout.

That's a hard pill for me to swallow, because I was convinced that this was all for the best. That the very fate of the NHL — at least in the short term — hung in the balance. That, finally, owners were taking responsibility for their financial foibles. As I said last week: "You can't fault a crackhead for being a crackhead if he's at least trying to put the pipe down for once."

Well, after the NHL cancelled the 2004-05 season on Wednesday, here's the truth of the matter: those crackheads weren't weaning themselves off the rock; they were merely looking for a cheaper dealer.

"Cost certainty?" My ass. This was about breaking a union that had been strong enough to humble the owners the last time they dueled. This was about correcting the owners' own mistakes by making the players suffer for them. This was asking players, agents, and most importantly the fans to put their faith in a group of people that haven't shown the aptitude to turn a profit running a lemonade stand, let alone a professional sports league.


February 19, 2005 in Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack