Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Can the NHL Afford to Market Another Work Stoppage?

By Dave Thomas

As the clock ticks closer and closer to an NHL lockout, hockey fans in North America and elsewhere wonder if it will be a winter without their beloved game.

Following a pair of labor disputes that led to halts in play in 1994-95 and 2004-05, the NHL owners do not appear overly concerned that another potential lockout will have a major impact on their wallets. In fact, some seem more than happy to sit it out for an indefinite amount of time. As for Commissioner Gary Bettman, some are likely to be of the opinion that he is out to lunch while another crisis circles his sport.

Along with the salary dollars that both owners and players stand to lose from a prolonged stoppage, there are other forms of revenue that also will be tossed aside if the labor negotiations collapse for any longer period of time.

To even the most casual of fans, it should not come as a surprise that marketing plays a huge role in making the NHL go.

Will NHL Look to Last Year’s NBA Strife?

While the National Basketball Association (NBA) by all indications survived its lockout from a season ago, the NHL has a much tighter fan base with which to work with. A potentially prolonged stop in play could have serious consequences at the turnstiles once the two sides kiss and makeup.

In the meantime, a potential lockout (current contract expires Sept. 15) would hurt both NHL players and owners from a marketing standpoint, as any lockout means all teams have to stop player promotion until a new contract is worked out.

In the event of a lockout, player likenesses would be prohibited from being used by teams for both marketing and advertising. That would also prohibit teams from running player contests and promotions on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Local Business Owners Stand to Suffer Too

Another victim of such a halt to play would also be the local businessman or businesswoman who relies on revenue from the NHL for myriad of things, including hotels, restaurants, sports bars, stores that sell hockey apparel and more. The same holds true for companies that make their money online, selling eCommerce Software, including NHL shirts, hats, tickets, collectibles and more.

Lastly, should the two sides fail to come together on a deal by week’s end, and should a potential lockout drag on for sometime, expect both sides to use social media to further their cause.

Unlike the work stoppage of 2004-05, social media is a huge player in today’s Internet world, something that neither the owners or the players fail to realize.

While the ice and marketing worlds may be empty of hockey for some time to come, you can bet the social media world will be abuzz, as both sides will try to market why they are right.


About the author: With 23 years of experience as a writer, Dave covers a wide array of topics from properly using social media to how to start your own business.

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