Chambers: Start of NHL season nowhere in sight

The NHL and its players’ union have a collective bargaining agreement in place and a tentative Jan. 1 start to a 2021 season. But the Avalanche and the league’s 30 other teams have enough concerns about COVID-19 to push the start date back or possibly not play at all.

In other words, the NHL season is up in the air, and the Avalanche and its championship-caliber roster could be among the most affected because its window to win is now.

Despite agreeing to COVID-19 concessions for the 2020-21 season in July while extending the CBA through 2025-26, owners now want player escrow to grow from 20% to 25% and deferrals from 10% to 20% for the 2021 season. Owners also suggested a Plan II: Keep 2021 escrow at 20% but increase deferral to 26% and escrow in years four-to-six of the CBA to between 8.5 and 9%.

The NHL Players’ Association was outraged at both revamped plans, given that a deal was already reached in July.

The Avs as an organization is already hurting because its owner, Kroenke Sports Enterprises, has a regional sports network (Altitude) that hasn’t had contracts with Comcast or Dish Network for more than a year. So television revenue is down, with just DirecTV as Altitude’s only “Big 3” provider.

In addition, the NHL’s estimated $200 million TV revenue stream with NBC pales in comparison to the billions attached to the NFL, NBA and MLB. Because…

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