The NHL made a big deal of bringing the World Cup of Hockey back this year, but if recent reports are any indication it didn't make the splash they had hoped.
Ken Campbell of The Hockey News reported on Wednesday that the players involved in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey have settled on how to split up the profit share from the tournament. Seventy percent will go to the players who participated and 30 percent will go to those who didn’t, according to Campbell.
About those profits, though:
World Cup of Hockey generated less than $40M in profits, perhaps 50% less than anticipated. Via @THNKenCampbell https://t.co/VZN0ksMcdl— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) November 23, 2016
Oh. Do go on, Ken:
So if each player who played in the tournament is paid $80,000, that would bring the total payout to $13.1 million for those who played. If that’s 70 percent of their share of the profits, that means the players will be getting a total somewhere in the neighborhood of $18.7 million total, with the same amount going to the NHL. The final numbers have yet to be completed, but the picture is growing clearer.
The timing of this news is not insignificant. With the NHL’s focus on the World Cup, the question of the league’s future with the Olympics has naturally arisen.
The International Ice Hockey Federation met with the NHL, the NHL Players’ Association, USA Hockey, and Hockey Canada a week ago to discuss what it would take to keep NHL players in the Olympics. Naturally, the NHL is dangling a three-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement as their price. The NHL has grown weary of paying for travel and insurance for the Olympics every year.
The players are worried about money right now, specifically the uncapped escrow system under the current CBA, which essentially shaves off some stored-away player salary owed at the end of the year to make up for lower-than-expected revenues. A lockout would hurt their bank accounts harder, though.
So how do the World Cup payments fit into this? Well, consider the projected payouts from the 2016 World Cup:
Each of the 184 players who was on a World Cup roster projected to to be paid between $75,000 and $80,000 (U.S.), while players who spent all 186 days on an NHL roster last season will be paid about $10,000 each. Players who were not on an NHL roster for the entire season will be paid a pro-rated amount. Players who were named to World Cup rosters and were injured before the World Cup will get less than those who played, but more than those who were not named to a roster.
Not to mention the prize winnings for Hockey Canada and Team Europe, which you can find in Campbell’s article.
Sidney Crosby makes $8.7 million a year. An $80,000 payout is less than 1 percent of that. And that’s only if he happens to make it through un-injured. And whether networks like ESPN will want to carry the tournament going forward is a decent question considering how low the ratings were.
Add all of this news about the World Cup of Hockey’s disappointing returns to the fact that NHL players are still dying to go to the Olympics, and the future of the NHL on the international stage is still a fascinating question with no immediate answer.