Re: Good column from Grantland
posted at 11/21/2012 10:46 AM EST
In response to SanDogBrewin's comment:
In response to stevegm's comment: [QUOTE] It's expected that the newest TV deal, is the biggest in history . Unless these birds screw everything totally up, the next TV deal will probably be the biggest in league history, and that'll happen regardless who is running the league.
Percentage wide, growth really took off after 05-06, however, the NHL lost ground to the NBA. I don't see reason to applaud Bettman in that category. What gets your panties in such a knot ? [/QUOTE]
My panties are being washed so that is the reason they might be in a knot. I ask becuase maybe there is some research that I am missing that you might have had that I didn't and I don't ask anyone on here who I don't care for their opininion.
How would the TV contrats happen without Bettman ? No one else but Bettman negotiates with the networks. Daly doesn't go out and get them. Illitch and Jacobs don't go get them. Bettman cultivated a relationship with Dick Ebersol and Ken Schanzer then convinced NBC to outbid Fox and ESPN. I don't see this happening with Campbell nor Ziegler.
Rather than be argumentive Sandog, lets just review and put this in perspective. I merely suggested both the league and Bettman may be getting tired of such amped controversy. Hardly, a controversial opinion. It's been suggested in one way or another by a gazillion media outlets. Anyone is entitled to disagree.
I said Bettman has garnered more mistrust and hate than his predecessors. When asked if he was more "popular" than two former presidents, I didn't argue the sematics of any translation, I merely said "yes". There are many obvious reasons for that insignificant opinion, but it seems pretty clear to me, that a league president who has a league trophy named after him, is probably more "popular" than one who in all reality, never will. Having a trophy named after you suggests some level of popularity doesn't it? Anyone's entitled to disagree, however, I'm not willing to debate that into eternity. I never said those before him were better or smarter. A really insignificant myopic morsel of a much broader inference.
From there, the conversation got even more ridiculous. It turned into whether Bettman should get credit for "anything". I think he should, so I really don't want to debate that. I will though, argue those things which I feel he is either being unfairly villanized for....or in this case....given undue credit for.
I don't believe the TV thing is a big plus. If he gets a star for that, he should get a kick for the Versus deal. Both were under his watch, and despite this newest one, it's still in about the same slot compared to the other big 3, and blown out of the water by nascar. If you negotiate any deal... if that percentage, is comparable to those within your industry, it's usually no big deal. If GM car sales are up 15%...the party gets wound down real quick if it's discovered Ford and Chrysler are up 20%.
Same with revenue growth. Bettman's been around for 20 years. For 2/3 of his tenure, growth wasn't a huge deal. If he had "started the job", when the growth spurt started, I think it would be more fair to give him all the credit, but not just because he was there. Cripes, Ovechkin's career alighns perfectly with the dynamic growth, so it would be no more ridiculous to credit him.
On the other hand, Bettman's been blamed for expansion, and I don't think that's fair. I wrote some stuff about attendance in the sun belt on another thread. These teams should be able to make a go of it if they aren't saddled with too much debt. There's an interesting recent article I came across... something like "why do billionaires keep buying losing NHL teams"(Edmonton journal). It talks about the Panthers. You may also be surprised to learn what Phoenix's attendance figures were when they were lousy. Check them out. Plus there are many other positives in making the sport "more national".
Most of what a league commissioner does, we don't know much about. Obviously, if he's been there almost 20 years, he's doing what's intended. I assume he's done a good job.
My original point, my current point is that the level of hate and mistrust(not by the media or fans) could be a distraction. Going back to this idiotic "popularity" foolishness, another "enquirer" question could be "who's the NHL's most famous league president/commissioner". My quick answer would be Bettman. Think he has much more notoriety than those before hand. I'd say even some hockey fans never heard of Ziegler or Campbell, and that's a good thing. Like a referee, you never take much notice of a good one. Anwyay, it doesn't matter. Isn't worth debate, just the answer to another insignificant passing question.
I think a different commish could come in and say exactly the same things as Bettman, and get a much better reaction from the players. I think Fehr's entrance is a result of Bettmans style.
I assume Bettmans done a lot of good things, but now...he's a lightning rod for negativity. More than ever, the league and players have to work together for prosperity. Can't fire all the players.