Originally Posted by Bassic Lab
I was disagreeing with the assertion that players would play in the American league because there would be more money there. My TV numbers are not off. The national contracts are all that I'm talking about, the local contracts go to individual teams so they don't matter. The new NBC contract is for 200 million a year. The combination of the CBC, TSN, and the national portion of the RDS contract is essentially the same.
It isn't the lack of revenue sharing alone that would screw them. It is the combination of that and the loss of the Canadian television contracts that would. There are plenty of healthy US franchises but there is healthy and there is replace the Canadian money healthy. There are very few of the latter. Without the six or so million that every team in the NHL receives from the Canadian television contracts, a lot more teams drop into the red or cut player salaries substantially. Revenue sharing from Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa might not make a whole lot of difference but cutting Toronto and Montreal out does. The NHL just isn't in a position where it can lose any contributor franchises, it would shift to much of the burden to the other contributors. That is without touching on merchandise. Centrally generated revenue matters a great deal to most franchises.
Basically my point is this talk about a Canadian league being comparable to the CFL, AHL, or KHL is flawed. If the NHL were to ever break a part into two national leagues the Canadian one would be the premier hockey league in the world. The difference between it and number two, presumably the American league, wouldn't be as great as that between the NHL and the current number two but it would be significant.
The TV numbers are wrong in that they can't simply be transferred to a new league as you have done. Assuming all the Canadian deals equal $200 Million as you claim doesn't automatically give each team 25$ a year (I guess you're assuming an 8 team Canadian league?). No, the contract would obviously be renegotiated for much less, considering the majority of NHL superstars are no longer in the league (Crosby, Ovechkin, Toews, Stamkos, and the list goes on...). Moreover, the NHL is a gate-driven league, so TV contracts are not a major factor at the moment anyway.
Players would definitely play in the US league, for reasons I mentioned. First they're tied to their contracts. Second, the attraction of being in the NHL over some rival startup would surely keep most where they were (unless the owners want to pool their money to lure a star or 2, a la Bobby Hull). The only reason the WHA was somewhat successful was that it beat the NHL into certain markets - this spurred NHL expansion, and now those markets are tapped out. A rival Canadian league, in my opinion, would either A) be on par with the AHL, or B) if they really made a push to compete with the NHL, would fold in a year or 2 (because there would be no way for a start-up league to pay high-calibre players with reduced revenues - a start-up isn't going to be charging $70 for tickets out the gate, and TV contracts aren't going to be $200 M for a startup league with a dozen teams).
I assume the OP didn't mean that the Canadian league would be just the 6 in the NHL now (if so, why even leave the NHL). If a 12 team league (for example), is what he has in mind, then the revenue split of the reduced TV contract would be even less. Moreover, doubling the amount of teams isn't going to even come close to doubling the TV market, but is more likely going to just redistribute (which would create resistance from teams who are getting their markets cut into). Montreal and Toronto would be too big for this new league, and would never join (as the revenues from being in the NHL would keep them there).
We're in Canada, people love hockey. If a league like this was feasible, it would have been tried many times. The fact that something like this wasn't even attempted during the lockout should put this idea to rest...