We have heard from the lawyers on both sides, the players, the owners, the bloggers, the mainstream media, but here is a new voice to the conversation about the possible impact of a potential MLS strike. It comes from Sandy, UT as their mayor Tom Dolan talks to the Salt Lake Tribune about how a strike would hurt his city:
"We know it makes an economic impact when people come from out of town and fill up our hotels and restaurants," he said.
In one sense, Dolan calls the labor standoff "a typical situation" between the players and management.
But both Dolan and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon expressed disappointment that the situation has reached this point. A strike, both agreed, would create a serious economic hardship to businesses surrounding Rio Tinto Stadium.
"It would not be very good," Corroon said. "For Sandy, it is very important. The surrounding restaurants and retailers appreciate having them there."
He is correct, a strike would impact Sandy in a real way as an estimated 200 Seattle Sounders fans are planning on travelling for the April 10th home opener for Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Another group impacted would be the families of the staff and players of Real Salt Lake, as the 2009 MLS Cup Championship rings are due to be handed out that night. With that date just over 3 weeks away, making travel plans and hotel reservations have to be on hold for many as nobody is really sure what will happen on Monday.
So I have been thinking a bit about the statement made by RSL owner Dave Checketts to the Deseret News earlier this week:
"I just came from a meeting with several owners and the commissioner down here in Los Angeles, and we know exactly what we'll do. These are all owners who've been in the NBA, they've been in the NHL, some of them own Major League Baseball teams even today. We know what we'll do. We have a plan if the players strike," said Checketts.
"I just hope the players understand the implication of the threats they're making to strike because if they do in fact go on strike, then that forces the owners to do something very aggressive and very different."
Some have taken this to mean hiring replacement players, and it might mean that but I have a feeling that it actually would mean something much bigger and potentially much worse for the current players. I am talking about a "nuclear" option. What does that mean, well it could mean a lot of things but as I have thought about this from a business perspective the last couple days it could very well mean things like:
- Dissolving the current league and reforming it under chapter 11 or 13, write off huge amounts of debt and be get help in dealing with union
- Cancelling the season and doing a complete league reform without filing any bankruptcy but writing in the league charter a "at will" labor clause, which would prevent the forming of a union.
- Bring in teams from Mexico to fill in for MLS teams
- Who knows what evil could lurk in minds of "the Don" and the owners? More than I care to imagine.
I don't know if any of those things are in the works or minds of anyone, but it is clear from the lack of talk by players, the union, or the league over the last 36-48 hours that the negotiations must be going somewhere.
Perhaps having a mediator will pay off and we will not have a strike, the Sounders will beat the Union 3-1 next Thursday night as I am headed to San Jose to watch RSL, and the boycott of wearing and buying MLS gear can end with peace and a new season (instead of fire hoses and riot squads)
OFF MY SOAPBOX (join the boycott of MLS gear until a new CBA is done)