Hockey Economics, There Is Football In The Air And The Minnesota Twins….

Marc Elliott

MOUNT ROYAL… The Montreal Canadiens signed All Star defensemen PK Subban to a mega contract over the weekend. PK will receive $72mil over 8 seasons. The Chicago Blackhawks recently signed their dynamic duo of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to matching 8 year $84mil contracts. Many hockey analysts questioned the wisdom of Kane and Toews receiving matching deals stating that they thought Toews brought more value to the club then Kane. I believe Kane is more skilled then Toews, but that Toews might be more of the gamer type, however, Kaner has some pretty impressive big game goals under his belt. In my book it is hard to say. If it were up to me I may have done the same thing the Hawks did.
These are but 3 of the really big deals given out to NHL players since July 1st, or the advent of the off-season free agency signing period. The first couple of days of this years signing period saw about a half billion dollars worth of contracts given out to a variety of players, Superstars and role players alike. Of course, these will take place over multiple years, but this phenomena aka as “free agent frenzy” raises eyebrows every July. Every year teams looking to bolster their lineup go out in search of usually high or overpriced players looking for a quick fix to change the fortunes of their team. And every year some desperate GM of a team goes off the deep end trying to make that one move that can take them to the promised land.
Up until the most recent seasons, the cycle of spending, without any real big bump in league revenues, only served to enslave all of the clubs that weren’t from the 5 or 6 big market, deep pocket teams into debt and losses. Not too long after the 2004-05 lockout league revenues started an upward trend along with a rise in NHL popularity. Team values escalated as well and as of now, with some new TV monies added in, the league’s finances have never looked better. I haven’t had a chance yet to put into perspective the latest spending frenzy and NHL revenue projections over the next few years, but I am mulling them over. The Subban, Toews and Kane deals were anesthetized by stating that the salary cap would continue on an upward trend in the near future. And if it doesn’t? What kind of an NHL then?
YOU KNOW I DON’T pay much attention, if any, to the NFL anymore. The seemingly thug ridden league started to lose me a few seasons ago when player behavior was going out of control. Then there is that matter of the world’s wealthiest sports league almost never being able to pay for their own workplaces, otherwise known as stadiums. And then it gets out into the public domain that the NFL is also classified as a non-profit Corporation, probably a 501 ( c ) for tax exemption purposes (legal, but distasteful in my book to say the least) and the trifecta and my adios to pro football was complete. The NFL loves taxpayer money, it just doesn’t want to pay any.
Then for dessert we got the Zygi Wilf-Minnesota Vikings stadium debacle and I could only shake my head. Even though I no longer watch, I understand what having the team in Minnesota means to the state and I didn’t want them to go elsewhere. A deal was finally put together and on the surface it appears that Wilf and the team would be paying a fair share of the costs, but on further examination, the Wilf’s won’t end up paying a dime out of pocket, while the value of the team with a new facility, will go up exponentially. How’s those apples? Externalize the costs, internalize the profits, which is today’s most popular formula for creating and maintaining elitist wealth in full force, right here in good ol’ Minnesota!
Well, I still love football, but D1 college ball is rife with cheating and lax oversight by the NCAA. They are apparently too busy counting their money. And with basically the same programs competing for the gold every year, I find little about it that is compelling to watch anymore. Having said that, yesterday I was wondering whatever became of one Christian Ponder, the Vikes last big hope at QB. So I looked up the team roster and I’ll be
darned if he isn’t still on the team! While I was there I thought, lets give this a look. So I went through the roster top to bottom and came away with this; I never thought that the dollar value of a teams roster was indicative of how they would do in a given season.
And in fact most NFL clubs appear to average 12-14 seven figure players per roster with some featuring a couple of 8 figure deals. If my count is correct the Vikes have 15 guys with seven figure deals. (and AP at $11mil per) And then with my limited current football knowledge I looked at the roster one more time and I could only come up with one conclusion: It looks like it could be a long year for the Purple….
I HAD A CHANCE TO see the Twins-White Six tilt today with the Twins prevailing 16-3, courtesy of a 9 run 8th inning and 3 solo homeruns in the top of the 9th. After the first 2 solo homers I was fully expecting the next Twins batter to get beaned but it never happened. Man, how things have changed in this rivalry! Just a scant 6 or 7 seasons back this was a white hot rivalry with all animosities attached. How things have changed. Both clubs are fighting to stay out of the AL Central basement with the Sox at 54-58 and the Twins at 50-60. They play each other 5 more times this year with 2 of the tilts at the discount center in Minneapolis. In considering the Twins possibilities before the season started and in factoring in the finishes of the past few seasons I was going to be happy for a .500 finish this year. That is still possible but the club is going to have to have a couple of  victory runs to make that happen. Hope they can pull that off…. PEACE

Marc Elliott is a sports opinion writer who splits his time between Minnesota and his hometown in Illinois…