The PLPA is finally responding to the NLL press releases that are making their rounds on the news wires. One article of note, to me at least, is on the official PLPA website by credited to Executive Director Dave Succamore.
After an information drought on the PLPA site, Succamore posted this response to all the press releases from the NLL office. In the article dated October 16th, addressed to both fans and players, Succamore offers some tidbits on the proposals offered to the league by the PLPA. He states:
This past Sunday morning in New York, around 11:00 am, the League representatives received a counter proposal from the PLPA negotiating Team. After about a 30 minute review, we were invited back in to the room. The League’s Committee members informed us that they were rejecting our proposal and that the proposal that we had just countered was their final offer.
30 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time to review a document as complex as a CBA. Moving on…
We quizzed them directly on one of our the (sic.) key provisions, a choice offering an upward adjustment on the Revenue Thresholds causing less exposure (6.10 B) or a new taxation system that would not take effect until salary costs exceeded $500,000 occurred (currently less than $400k on average with bonuses).
The new revenue proposal is pretty straightforward to me: The league makes more money, and so does everyone involved. The exact terms and percentages haven’t been revealed anywhere — at least nowhere that I’ve found. The only percentages I’ve seen were that the league offered a 3% salary increase for the first three years, and a 5% increase for the last two years of the NLL proposed 5 year CBA. The PLPA was asking for more.
According to all the talk around town, the league certainly has its sticking points and the amount of cash it’s willing to put down for player salaries is one of them. As much as the league is in it to grow the sport, it’s also in it for the money. Player salaries are a significant portion of the $3.5 million franchise fees new owners can be expected to pay. Even with salaries in line with what the NLL wants, the revenue sharing certainly cuts into the profits.
The taxation system is completely different than what the NLL is currently using. This is, from what I understand, a huge issue to the NLL and its owners. This completely new system seems to be based on the MLB, where a team can spend whatever it wants to recruit and employ players. One caveat is if the team spends more than $500,000, it is taxed on every dollar over that cap. Currently each team has a spending cap of $521,000.
Owners are finally getting in the groove of how to make their teams profitable — currently only three teams are making money, and about three additional teams are close to turning a profit. More and more new NLL owners are also NHL owners and are very used to the type of bookkeeping these leagues use. Changing that system to account for the taxation and spending cap isn’t a welcome change for owners.
Another problem the taxation system poses, as anyone familiar with the MLB knows, is that teams with money will attract all the top players, leaving the rest of the teams with a less than stellar lineup. With a relatively small pool of eligible players, for the time being, all the top names would certainly be snapped up in record time.
The article continues:
This morning in reading the Leagues press release, I was somewhat frustrated by Jim Jennings claim that the League will “look to work improve our overall business model”. A model which leaves small market teams behind. Interesting how we offered a model during the multiple negotiations which lead to the expired CBA. REVENUE SHARING would be a great place to start folks.
Proposing a “club share” is the PLPA’s solution to help the teams that are losing money. In a noble sense, this is a great suggestion. Teams that have plenty help those that don’t. This definitely keeps the overall health of the league in an upward direction. What it doesn’t do is allow fledgling teams figure out how to create a sustainable market on their own. Obviously, the other side is that the teams making money might not want to give up that extra money, but that’s purely speculation, and I’d like to think the NLL owners aren’t that greedy — at least not yet.
Succamore closes with:
Do they realize that our Current proposal, 3 year term with and opt out after year 1 for EITHER SIDE, would allow EVERY CLUB to pay roughly the same salaries as last year. THAT IS THE Million Dollar QUESTION?????? If they say yes than why did they cancel the season. If they say no then they were not informed of our proposal, did not review our proposal and were likely planning on attempting to break the union.
While it may sound good, everyone involved — including the fans — would prefer to not be in the same situation we currently are a year from now, no matter who opts out of the agreement. When it comes to the length of the CBA, I’m leaning closer towards what the NLL is asking for: 3 to 5 years. Having clauses that allow either side to opt out is a recipe for disaster, especially after the first year.
If you want to be free to ask for a new agreement after a year, be honest and just ask for a one-year agreement. But that won’t happen in a league that’s trying to grow.