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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.

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