NHL Lockout 2012: Survey Proves Impact of Lockout on NHL

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05:  Following the NHL Board of Governors meeting, Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League heads uptown to address the media at the Westin Times Square on December 5, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Remember the BP PLC oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010?

Well, according to one major survey, BP had it easy compared to the NHL these days.

Level5 Stategy Group—a 10-year-old company that assesses the level of attachment consumers place on brands—conducted a survey of 1,066 people recently only to discover that the NHL was doing more damage to itself with this lockout than BP did to itself in 2010.

Level5 chief executive officer David Kincaid said, via Roy MacGregor of the  Globe and Mail, “We found damage at levels we have not seen. It’s quite alarming, really."

Consider the historic popularity of hockey in Canada. According to the survey, one-third of Canadians polled are passionate about the sport at this point. One-third of Canadians are indifferent and one-third of Canadians have lost interest entirely.

This paints a much grimmer picture about the state of the sport during this lengthy lockout than previously imagined. Now, as the NHL and NHLPA turn to legal options, the popularity of the sport is in jeopardy. According to Christopher Botta of  SportsBusiness Journal, an agreement must be reached by mid-January in order for there to simply be a 48-game regular season.

In the Level5 survey, emotions reportedly ranged from unhappiness to disappointment to confusion to irritation to frustration. Some simply felt cheated.

What a wonderful world after all, eh?

The NHL has endured lockouts before, but this time might be different. Hockey fans are fed up, and they are clearly fed up with commissioner Gary Bettman, who holds the distinction of being commissioner for three different lockouts since taking over in 1993.

Perhaps the NHL and NHLPA would be wise to listen to the fans this time around. They may be surprised what they hear.

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