NHL Lockout: 4 Reasons the Ordeal Will Affect Fans' Opinions of the League

Benjamin J. BlockCorrespondent IIOctober 1, 2012

NHL Lockout: 4 Reasons the Ordeal Will Affect Fans' Opinions of the League

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    Diehard NHL fans equate the affects of this lockout with being force-fed a lemon—sour. 

    As NHL Players Association director Donald Fehr and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman squabble, the duration and outcome of this lockout is sure to perpetuate fans' negative opinions of the league.

    Fans have already been denied preseason games and the likelihood of the regular season starting as scheduled on October 11 is bleak.

    Here's a closer look at the four reasons why this lockout nightmare will affect fans' opinions of the league.

A Matter of Trust

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    In 1986, Billy Joel recorded the hit single "A Matter of Trust," and those lyrics are ringing true in 2012 as hockey fans endure the work stoppage deliberations between billionaires and millionaires.

    This lockout is breaking the hearts of diehard fans, especially since the NHL isn't too far removed from when they cancelled the 2004-05 season.

    With the exception of Canada, hockey doesn't have casual fans all over, and the perception is that the NHL doesn't value their fanbase; albeit a concentrated one.

    As Bettman and the NHL owners have all but lost the trust and faith of the passionate NHL fan, many devotees are not staying quiet this time around.

Fans Taking to Social Media

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    Hockey fans have taken proactive steps toward urging the NHL to put an end to their selfishness, and start thinking of the fans.

    This social media protest clearly depicts the state of emotions that the fans are in, and the actions they've been taking to have their opinions heard.

    Ten ways for fans to send a message

    In the past two weeks, we’ve received many great suggestions and ideas in addition to our own on how fans can voice their dissatisfaction and send a message to the NHL/NHLPA.

    1. Unfollow and unlike the NHL on all social networking sites on September 15 , the CBA decision deadline. (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
    2. Unfollow and unlike NHL players on all social networking sites on September 15, the CBA decision deadline. (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.)
    3. Don’t visit NHL.com, any of the teams’ homepages, or the NHL Shop.
    4. Resist the urge to buy merchandise sold by the NHL or any of its teams.
    5. Write/email the NHL or any of its thirty teams, voicing your dissatisfaction.
    6. Don’t buy tickets to any games.
    7. Refuse payment of season tickets if there is in fact a lockout.
    8. Cancel your subscription to NHL Center Ice if you have one, or any other NHL-affiliated subscriptions.
    9. Support teams from other leagues such as the AHL, WHL, KHL, etc.
    10. Spread the word about this movement! It’s a fan movement and every voice counts!

     

    Some fans have also taken to YouTube to get their message across to Bettman and the owners.

    The way that Bettman and the owners can deprive the fans of hockey after the NHL brought in $3.3 billion of revenue last season is deplorable.

    Fans didn't really have the extensive outlets of social media when the NHL cancelled the season seven years ago, but their opinions on the league this time around should be heard loud and clear. 

Marketing

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    Bettman and the NHL could have avoided this whole lockout ordeal with one word—marketing.

    Think about it. 

    If Bettman focused more on marketing the sport to a broader audience to begin with, teams around the league would be bringing in more fans and more money.

    More fans and more money equals happy owners.

    If there were happy owners, the focus of these 2012 lockout proceedings wouldn't be centered around them demanding that the players accept a smaller cut of the league's revenues, so franchises operating in the red can stay afloat.

    It's a bad cycle right now in the NHL. Once the lockout is over, Bettman and these owners better think of ways to make hockey more mainstream, because the fans are what make this sport go.

    The popularity of the NHL is on life support and the league's greed is negatively affecting the small amount of fans that it still has.

Fans Want Answers

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    The second work stoppage for the NHL in less than a decade has been very unsettling, and fans want Bettman and these owner to feel their disappointment.

    1010 WINS’s Glenn Schuck spoke with hockey fans outside of the NHL store in New York City at the beginning of this lockout, and got the reaction of three different fans.

    Via CBS New York:

    "The unions get greedy, the owners get greedy, they can’t come to an agreement and so you sit there and go, ‘well why can’t we come to an agreement?’ The fans are suffering. The owners and the players aren’t suffering, they get the money,” one fan told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck.

    Another fan expressed concern that this second stoppage will deter fans again.

    “I’m worried about what they did five or six years ago when they had the lockout. I wonder what’s going to happen again, if it’s going to be the same effect where there’s not going to be hockey for a while and fans are not going to come out,” he told Schuck.

    The third fan uttered their dismay with the spoiled and greedy owners.

    “All of us that aren’t professional athletes look at it and say ‘Are you kidding me?’ You can make $6 million, $5 million a year, the better players. And the owners, they’re making money,” another fan told Schuck.

    These fans represent the overall annoyance of hockey enthusiasts everywhere. There is no question that a second lockout in less than 10 years has fans riled up about the league.