The late George Young was one of the most astute men ever to be employed in the National Football League. George Young always figured money was at the heart of every problem in sports. The one time New York Giants General Manager once said, show me a player who would play for nothing and I will show you a liar. The George Young theory of everything is about money could easily be applied to the 2018 South Korea Winter Olympics and the participation of National Hockey League players in the event.
The International Olympic Committee doesn’t want to pay for NHL players travel and insurance in 2018 and the National Hockey League doesn’t want to pick up the estimated $10 million tab that the IOC refuses to pay. Of course, the IOC has no problem having other people pick up the cost of hosting the Olympics as every city that bids for the Summer or Winter Games has to guarantee that local taxpayers will pick up the bill for cost overruns. The IOC agreed to pick up NHL related costs in the five Winter Olympics from 1998 through 2014 but no more. The IOC is worried it has offered a bad example by picking up the hockey travel insurance costs and executives in tennis, basketball and golf might ask for the same thing and that would force the IOC to spend money needlessly. The whole inclusion of NHL players in the Olympics was solely for monetary reasons on both sides, the IOC got names and the NHL got global recognition. The partners could maximize money opportunities so it was a good fit but now the IOC cannot afford the travel and insurance costs. The NHL also has a global tournament that will start this September so they don’t need the Olympics to promote the product. George Young was right when it came to sports, it’s all about money.
Republished with permission Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.