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NHL Realignment: Imbalanced Conferences Will Create Economic Advantage For Eastern Teams

Oh, eastern bias. You're about to get more exaggerated in the NHL. Well, that is if realignment winds up passing with the NHLPA's blessing. The main concern of the union is a mix of both travel worries and the imbalanced conferences that will give Eastern teams a better chance at making the playoffs, and as it turns out, that imbalance will also be a bit of an economic boon for the teams along the Eastern Seaboard.

We'll let SB Nation's Battle of California blog explain things from here.

In the envisioned 16-team west, each team would make the playoffs in theory 50% of the time, whereas in a 14-team east, each team improves to 57% likelihood -- over time this imbalance will put more dollars and thus more spending power in the eastern conference, as there are fewer teams to distribute to.

Per my napkin-math example, each western team under realignment would have a new expected playoff payout of $5,156,250 ($82.5M divided by 16 teams), while each eastern team would have an expected payout of $5,892,857 ($82.5M divided by 14 teams). Each eastern team annually would have a better expected payout than each western team by $736,607, near the cost of a minimum-wage player.

It's not huge, but that sort of imbalance can add up, so I think if the NHL does move to an imbalanced-conference realignment, it really should include a revenue sharing program with it.

Western interests in the NHL often claim there's an Eastern bias, and well, this would be a pretty straight-forward example of such claims. That's not to say the NHL is purposefully doing this to benefit the East or anything, but well, it is a lack of balance in a meaningful way.

Battle of California feels that a revenue sharing solution should be in order, and that's a solution that makes a lot of sense.