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Business experts differ on lockout’s impact

Dec 1, 2012, 10:15 PM EDT

Maple Leafs fans AP

As the NHL and NHLPA bicker over a new CBA, Canadian Business.com polled three experts who similarly had their own differences about the lockout.*

University of Pennyslvania professor John Lord compared hockey to Twinkies.

“Speaking as a marketer, when you don’t have your product in front of your market, it just becomes more difficult to maintain their attention. It’s the same thing with Hostess Twinkies,” Lord said. “If they’re not in production for a while as this hedge fund sells off the brand and somebody else buys it and starts producing Twinkies again, people are going to switch to other things.”

While Lord and Université Laval professor André Richelieu wonder about apathy and make baseball strike/Twinkie references, University of Oregon managing director Paul Swangard seems more confident that the league can bounce back.

Swangard calls back Gary Bettman’s “best fans in the world” quote, but his thoughts about fans’ anger rank among the most interesting comments from the article.

“As a general statement, fans have gotten used to this stuff. No one likes it, but it’s become a reality of the modern sports business,” Swangard said. “With hockey fans, there’s a degree of venom that comes as the issue of the lockout is raised in local pubs and watering holes. But it’s that venom that gives the NHL the hope of survival.”

Does Swangard have a point? Either way, it’s an interesting read.

* – One would assume there weren’t as many insults hurled in either direction.

  1. sportsfan69 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:23 PM

    The picture caption should be NHL players hiding from their own stupidity.

  2. matt8204 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Here’s the difference…other sports figure out a way to get their act together without blowing up entire seasons. The NHL is completely dysfunctional and quite frankly, it’s becoming unenjoyable to be a fan of it. It’s aggravating and kind of embarrassing more than anything else. We all know they’ll be doing the same dance when the next CBA expires. The comment one guy made in the article hit home…it’s dangerous for the league to assume that everything starts and ends with the NHL. It doesn’t. I like hockey but I don’t need it. The NFL is always compelling, I’m becoming more interested in European soccer also. I still can’t watch the NBA, but the point is that there are a myriad of entertainment options today. If other things draw people in, the may simply forget about the NHL

  3. rainyday56 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Why listen to these tenured egg heads when the real experts in the field are the ones that shut the league down?

  4. kegmen7 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Swangards comments are fitting for a description of the first lockout that cost us a NHL season, but for me this second one feels different. I didnt let the first one affect me because if it was going to save the NHL from having to do it again with how great the new economic system was supposed to be it was worth it in my mind. Well so much for that idea, and to quote a former President, “Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice- you’re not gonna fool me again.”

    • matt8204 - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      Good point. If they’re going to do this every time a CBA expires, count me out. Have your little pissing match in the offseason like the NFL did. Just don’t lose games.

  5. arbruins - Dec 1, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    NHL…what NHL?

  6. orangeandblack67 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Once again sportsfan makes another dumb comment this explains his oh so original user name. I am proud to call myself a Hockey fan and a fan of those who don’t get brought up on drug charges, senseless acts that defy the law, and oh yeah murder suicide.

    • zetaone - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

      Dany Heatley, Todd Bertuzzi, Marty Mcsorely? To name a few..

      • mrchainbluelightning - Dec 2, 2012 at 2:32 AM

        Mike Danton

    • phillyphanatic77 - Dec 2, 2012 at 7:05 PM

      This is an extremely ignorant, somewhat racist (as the NHL is majority white while NFL is majority black), and insensitive comment. I love the NHL but the players are in no way infallible, especially compared to all professional athletes. On the issue of drug charges, it could be argued that the use of painkillers in the NHL is close to rivaling the use of marijuana in the NFL, which is the cause of most arrests. There’s also a point to be made that police tend to target affluent African Americans in luxury vehicles (this is where the majority of NFL players are arrested for weed) because they are racially profiled as potential drug dealers. Think a little bit before making gross generalizations about whole groups of professional athletes, especially when the Kansas City tragedy is still extremely fresh.

  7. capsrockva - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Please just get the deal done for the fans sake

    • General Lee 1175 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:24 PM

      Its over kid , deal with it . it’s done

    • matt8204 - Dec 1, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      They could give a rat’s behind about the fans…but maybe they will start to care if none of them are in the seats when they decide to end this farce. No fans= no revenue. Remember, the NHL still derives most of its revenue from gate receipts, not TV contracts. We have a big chance to make a statement.

  8. cubi1 - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    As a Caps season ticket holder for years, I am seriously considering canceling my tickets.

    • zetaone - Dec 2, 2012 at 1:00 AM

      Gtfo, you guys are going to have a crazy team if the NHL exists next Oct.

      • paperlions - Dec 2, 2012 at 11:39 AM

        So….watch games on TV…or through not-so-legal internet feeds. Just because you still root for a team doesn’t mean you have to give $1000s of dollars to these guys to do it.

  9. northstars17 - Dec 2, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    how do you explain this to the kids???

    I don’t know how Bettman even sleeps at night.

    so shameful.

  10. bourciertm - Dec 2, 2012 at 6:32 AM

    What about all of the bars, restaurants and other businesses that feed off of fans? There is a huge economic impact on small businesses and if the fans don’t come back, it will be a lingering affect. Pittsburgh is really a two-sport city (Pirates are perennially horrible). In a place like Detroit or New York, you could watch basketball or football this time of year. In Pittsburgh, you’re screwed as a fan, but you’re also screwed as a business owner that feeds off of fans. At the end of the day, the athletes, team owners and league execs will all be multimillionaires. Small business owners and employees having to struggle, especially during the holidays, is another despicable part of this whole lockout.

  11. antkowiak666 - Dec 2, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    “As a general statement, fans have gotten used to this stuff. No one likes it, but it’s become a reality of the modern sports business,”?!? replace the word sports with NHL.

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