The NHL's collective bargaining agreement has exactly one month left before its no longer relevant. If the players were to be locked out by their owners on September 15, the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and the Florida Panthers would be the two franchises most hurt, a report by Forbes Magazine said Wednesday.
A lockout would push away the thousands of new fans who helped inject more than $3 billion into the league last season, and the NHL’s 30 teams would feel the financial repercussions for years to come. But it’s doubtful that any teams would be hit harder both on the ice and in the wallet than the Florida Panthers and Los Angeles Kings.
According to Forbes' Chris Smith, both L.A. and Florida would be hurt mainly because they would lose a majority of the fans gained during the 2011-12 season. A loss of fans means a major loss of mainstream appeal and new revenue.
The defending Stanley Cup champions ought to be one of the NHL’s top stories heading into next year, but the team may be forgotten in its own hometown if next season is cancelled or even delayed.
Currently, talks between the owners and players have stalled, as the owners want a radical change in the way things work when it comes to revenue, length of contracts and unrestricted free-agent rules. Meanwhile, the players want an adjustment in overall economics, including less player salaries if more revenue sharing takes place in return.
Regardless of what comes out of the situation, it is clear that the Kings and Panthers want a resolution, and soon.
For all the news surrounding the NHL's collective bargaining agreement and the ongoing quest to replace it, stick with our StoryStream. Check with Kings blog Jewels From The Crown for more on Los Angeles hockey and Litter Box Cats for more on the Panthers.