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NFL refs lockout: A $10 billion league versus $16 million in labor demands

Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers

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Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers argues with referees during their game against the Detroit Lions at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California. On Monday night, the replacement refs may have lost the Green Bay Packers a game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Had enough yet? NFL players, coaches, and fans seem pretty fed up, after a controversial conclusion to Monday night's game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. Touchdown? Interception? "Simultaneous catch?" 

The replacement referees brought in while the regular refs are locked out in a labor dispute were disoriented by it all, but it's not as if we haven't been warned and warned and warned some more that something like this was happening. The question is: Will the NFL budge on the lockout, now that the nightmare scenario — potentially botched call that costs a team the game in the final seconds — has come to pass?

The numbers on the refs' side are all...rather small, relatively speaking. True, average pay is about $150,000 a year. But there are less than 200 NFL refs, and in a league that's looking for $10 billion in annual revenues by next season, with $12-$14 billion in sight, you'd think that such a small group with such a large impact in the overall package could command more. Especially when you consider that in 2011 the NFL wrapped up a $3-billion-per-year extension to its TV deal.


Q&A: What are the NHL owners and players fighting over?

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final ? Game Six

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President, Business Operations, Alternate Governor Luc Robitaille of the Los Angeles Kings holds up the Stanley Cup. The Kings may not have to give it back this year if an impending lockout leads to canceled season, as it did in 2004-05.

If the National Hockey League's players and owners can't come to an agreement over a new contract in a little more than 12 hours, the NHL will be dealing with its fourth lockout in the past 20 years. So what are these guys fighting about. I'm glad you asked...

Q: If the owners do lockout the players, how long could fans be without their beloved hockey, hockey fights, and opportunities to wear player jerseys to stadiums across America and Canada?

A: This would be the fourth lockout since 1992. Back then, the lockout was relatively short and only 30 games were sacrificed. In 1994-95, hockey was AWOL for more than three months. And in 2004-05, the lockout lasted nearly a year and led to the cancelation of the NHL season.

Q: What does each side want?

A: The owners want to renegotiate the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the players' union, which expires tomorrow at midnight. The CBA dates to 2005, when it took a reduction in player salaries of nearly a quarter, as well as a salary cap, to get a deal. It bears noting that this was before the financial crisis. Now the owners want to reduce what the players get from so-called "hockey related revenue" (HRR), according to AP. How much? Originally, the reduction was from 57 percent to 43 percent, but the owners upped that to 47 percent. The union did away with the percentages and asked for a preservation of the status quo: the same $1.8 billion they got in 2011-12. This could mean they will in practice accept less than 57 percent. But they've included a provision to get back to 57 percent of HRR by 2015-2016, according to NHL.com.


NHL lockout? It wouldn't help the LA Kings' already iffy finances

2012 NHL Stanley Cup Final ? Game Six

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The Kings celebrate on ice on their way to a Stanley Cup. But they should get too excited. The team is losing money and the fourth NHL lockout since 1992 looms.

There's a very good chance that, unless NHL players and owners can come to some kind of miraculous eleventh hour resolution, the league will be dealing with its fourth lockout since 1992. As CBSSPorts.com points out, with each stoppage has come a bigger hit to the pro hockey schedule, culminating in the loss of the entire 2004-05 season. 

In Los Angeles, this means that the Stanley Cup-winning L.A. Kings may not enjoy the full fruits of their first season after a stirring victory. Some obvious question arise. If a lockout comes, how much will it cost the players? What will be the local ecoomic impact?

Those are relatively simple to answer. Some players, depending on where they are in their contracts (which pay out more in some years than in others), will feel some pain, although as Bleacher Report notes, a few players could head to the Kontinental Hockey League and garner reduced wages there.