Over the past year we’ve written quite a bit about the business of sports, and unfortunately, lockouts in the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) have given us quite a bit to discuss. We haven’t said much about things going on in the National Hockey League (NHL), perhaps because the script has come to seem so familiar, and there seemed little doubt that after some fireworks, things would finally result in a an unsatisfying deal that got everyone back on the ice a bit late, but in time for a meaningful season. Now it’s December, and they still ain’t playing.
Hockey’s labor history is a sorry one, as the league’s union was run for decades by a shill for the owners who stole money and helped the bosses keep the players in poverty well past the point you’d think that’d be true. In the ’90s, however, players started to make real money,
In case you missed it—and that seems unlikely—Monday night we saw the beginning of the end of a labor dispute, and it only cost about $500 million.
The dispute in question is what has been an unfair fight between the National Football League owners and 121 referees who were locked out before the season began. Replacement refs were hired and fans have been complaining about poor officiating for weeks.
Monday evening, those replacements blew an end of the game call, giving the underdog Seahawks a victory on the very last play. You can check out the video here, and you can get some good context from the excellent L.A. Times business columnist Michael Hiltzik here.
The story has led people down many paths. There’s the sex angle, since at least some of the replacement refs came out of something called the Lingerie Football League,