(Portland Lumberjax boss Angela Batinovich and transition player Adam Bysouth do their part for owner-player relations)
The National Lacrosse League season has been cancelled, which I guess is no surprise to NLL Deputy Commissioner George Daniel.
Half my guys are NHL owners. They lost a whole NHL season. They won’t think twice about losing an NLL season.
Because of the uncertainty, the league had already bailed on the renewal of its Versus deal, which I’m sure was a big blow to fans of tape-delayed sporting events everywhere.
Now, I definitely tend to side with players in this sort of thing; they believe the NLL is not fully forthcoming about revenues, which is pretty easy to accept, and have proposed the league get rid of its salary cap, which was surely wishful thinking (i.e., just a negotiating tactic). But if a labor dispute has been raging since December (or, for that matter, seven years) and nobody outside the game and Canada has noticed – I sure haven’t, and I live in an NLL town and have been to several games – how great is the business really?
Lacrosse players are about as underpaid as athletes playing at the highest level of an arena sport can be, with an average salary of $14,500 and a “franchise player” maximum of around $25,000. But that money is only meant to cover five months worth of three-day weekend labor, as most of the players also have real jobs (or are still finishing college), and many play the summer game, either outdoors in the MLL or indoors up in Canada (not that there’s big bucks in those leagues either).
And that, I’m guessing, is the larger issue: the players still hope for a future where it’s possible for more of them to play indoor lacrosse full-time, while it’s surely in the interest of the owners’ profits if that never happens.