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On the NHL Lockout

While discussions concerning sports are often related to entertainment, it is impossible to avoid the simple fact that professional sports are very significant economically, as billions of dollars change hands with every passing season. One of the most significant stories in professional sports as of late has been the lockout that is currently taking place in the National Hockey League. Currently, the NHL players association and the owners are at odds over how to split revenue between the players and the owners, as well as the proposition made by the owners that the players should take a pay cut in the form of a salary rollback. This article makes an interesting point that the lockout is “about power and pride- the owners showing who’s boss [and] the players standing up for themselves- a class labor battle that could become a prolonged conflict.” Consequently, this prolonged battle continues, as neither side seems to be willing to work towards an agreement at this time.

This occurrence is a very illuminating example of material that has been covered in this course. Recently, we have been discussing power imbalance in relationships. In the negotiation between the owners and players in the National Hockey League, the two sides can be used to represent a two node path in negotiations. Theoretically, the bargaining power for each node should be equal, but in this case, a power imbalance exists between the two sides, due to the fact that the owners hold the power to lockout the players and prevent the season from taking place. As a result of this power imbalance, the players are attempting to close the gap creating a power imbalance, as they believe that their contribution to the NHL is comparable to that of the owners. At the current moment, the owners of the National Hockey League hold the strong payoff advantage, as there is currently a power imbalance in their favor since they possess the power to control whether the season takes place or not. This current state of affairs demonstrates that networks are present in all economic markets, and play a particularly strong role in the sports and entertainment industry, where a very large sum of money is at stake.




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