A lockout prediction: Black Friday is the day

NBC’s first game is Black Friday. Will that be the first game of the year?

The only thing that will push negotiations is a sense of urgency from one side. Until that sense of urgency happens, we will be seeing a lot of meetings about non-core financial issues, lots of meetings with no progress, and lots of statements to the press about how the other side won’t budge from their “outrageous demands.”

The question that everyone is asking is, “When will they make progress?” But the question should be, “When will urgency kick in?”

Urgency will settle in for the league when NBC comes calling a month before they are set to broadcast the November 23 game between the Rangers and Bruins. While it is just one game, and the only game on NBC before the Winter Classic, it’s the first time a major corporate sponsor will begin to get on the phone and pressure the league to make a deal.

However it goes deeper than just NBC pushing the league. Let’s remember that NBC is owned by Comcast. Comcast is owned by Ed Snider. Ed Snider owns the Philadelphia Flyers. It’s all connected. Snider is a big market owner and can use that weight –the weight of losing money with both the Flyers and NBC– to begin to sway his colleagues into making a deal.

If the rumors of a divided ownership is true, which would include my assumptions about Jim Dolan, then adding one more big market owner to the no-lockout side could be a crushing blow to Gary Bettman and those in favor of the lockout.

But let’s remember that Black Friday may be the first game, but it would take a deal by November 1 to make sure that November 23 is opening night. Teams will need 2-3 days to get everyone back to camp, then another 1-2 weeks for camp. That already brings us to the weekend before Thanksgiving. This leaves room for one or two preseason games per club, and another day (Thanksgiving Day) to set rosters.

But before all that can happen, there needs to be pressure. Pressure will force negotiations. Nothing will happen before pressure settles in. Such is life in a lockout.

5 Responses to “A lockout prediction: Black Friday is the day”

  1. scott says:

    Please, Ed Snider does not own Comcast. He’s the managing partner of Spectacor a tiny joint venture with Comcast. You seem to enjoy misrepresenting this fact which is akin to stating that a Limited Partner of the Yankess owns the Yankees.

    • Dave says:

      @scott, Snider owns Comcast Spectacor, which if I am reading their 10K correctly, represents about $5 billion in revenue. By accounting standards that is not a “tiny joint venture.” In fact, it is the exact opposite, as it represents about 10% of their revenues.

      Also, Steinbrenner is the majority owner. No one ever said he was the sole owner.

  2. scott says:

    Okay, let’s try this again. Snider is not a Comcast employee. He doesn’t sit on the board, he isn’t an insider.

    Snider isn’t even the majority owner of Spectacor. I love you man, I love this blog. Don’t be so stubburn that you can’t admit when you’re wrong.

    • Dave says:

      @scott, I’m stating the fact that Spectacor brings in enough revenue to Comcast that it makes it an auditable entity, which means that if the revenues get hit, they will ask questions. Since Snider is the chariman of Spectacor, which owns the Flyers/WF Center, etc, the questions fall on him.

      My understanding is that Snider is the majority owner of Spectacor (outside of Comcast of course), in addition to the chariman.

      My point is that Comcast will begin to question revenues at some point. I’m off on one of the details, but the main point still stands.

  3. Walt says:

    Who cares, Snider is a scum bag, and is making a hugh amount of money from the Comcast, Flyers, NBC, and is still crying hunger!!!!!