The Lockout - Your Thoughts on Repercussion with Fans

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by derbyfan, Jan 30, 2005.

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  1. derbyfan

    derbyfan Registered User

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    Just wondering, how do you think fans will respond to the NHL, once this *%@!ing thing is finally over? Not just in Carolina, Phoenix and Nashville, but also up here in the great white north? I'd love to hear what people think.
    Personally, I'm pretty fed up (not that that's a shock). I was thinking of the MLB situation of a decade ago.
    Now, back in '94, when the baseball strike went down, things were pretty rosy here in Toronto. Back-to-back World Series champs, 50,000 per game, a city in love with it's team. My family had a 1/2 share of season tickets, and going to a Jays game was always an event. After the strike, baseball in this town never recovered.
    In fact, it took years for the game to recover in quite a few markets (never did of course, in Montreal - R.I.P. Expos :( ).
    Dad cancelled his tickets after 10 years of subscribing. For me, it just never FELT the same.
    I'm not sure how else to describe it... That strike just seemed to drive a stake between the Jays and their loyal fanbase. The slide has continued for years.

    I understand that some might say that baseball hadn't been around long enough in Toronto to be truly ingrained in our mindset.
    Yet the city has a colorful ball history that goes back over a century, and this is a city that absolutely CRAVES the "major league" tag. Something happened there that, in my opinion, has never been fully erased.

    So what will happen with hockey? How bad will the impact with the fans be south of the border? How are YOU, the paying hockey fan, feeling about this?
    Will you go back when they "fix" this thing?
    Or will YOU hold out?
    And in Canada, will the response (at the gate) be worse than most seem to be predicting? I get the impression that most seem to think that we Canadians will be so happy our beloved game is finally back, that we flock back to the opulent corporate palaces that pass for arenas these days.
    Or will the hardcore fans, the ones that gave their heart and soul to their teams, and paid for tickets out of their own hard-earned cash (rather than corporate freebies) feel that they've lost something that was there before...and stop blowing their money to line the pockets of millionaire players and owners?

    Let's hear some opinions.

    P.S. As for me, I'm having a hell of a time watching junior hockey...
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2005
  2. skellart

    skellart Registered User

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    Bottom line is that if there is no deal and the season is officially cancled, Hockey is done!!! NHL anyway. At this point I wouldn't mind never seeing some of these people play again. I'm just sick of the whole thing. Give me hockey or give them death, so to speak.
     
  3. lazaer

    lazaer Registered User

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    i think part of the reason fans didn't come back to the bluejays after the strike was because they were mad, i think that they don't come back now is because the jays don't have a snow balls chance and so the jays are stuck in an vicious cycle. they can't afford better players until fans come, and pay, to watch and fans won't pay to watch till they get better players.
     
  4. R0CKET

    R0CKET Registered User

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    I think that the key big-mouthed players will be bitter for the rest of thier lives.

    Not so much because they will have lost their 7-10 Mil but because their ever inflating ego will force them to constantly twist the spear into an open wound with the fans. When they lose this debate, and there is virtually no way they can't, they will start mouthing on about this for a long time.

    Bottom line - the fact that these overpaid pigs nearly ended the NHL (some have said that they would rather the League collapse than to play with a Cap) will incur the extreme dislike by the fans which I think will cause these players to never get the the respect their accomplishements should have allowed.

    Not getting that recognition wil be their biggest reason for their impending bitterness.

    The sooner it gets to them the better af far as I'm concerned.
     
  5. derbyfan

    derbyfan Registered User

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    Understood about the "mad" part, but the Jays have had some good teams over the past 10 years, better than some of the ones they had before their first division title in '85. However, while Torontonians were enthusiastic back before the first title (attendance at the horrible old Ex was pretty good), there is no such excitement now...
    Regardless, I'm simply trying to guage how people will respond once this thing is over, and if people will come back.
     
  6. lazaer

    lazaer Registered User

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    i'll come back but if the season is toast then i don't know what's going to happen in the states. If they miss this entire season then IMO they could come back with any system cause an average of 1.3 would be in their dreams, then we could all have a reunion in ten years..... blogs and all.
     
  7. handtrick

    handtrick Registered User

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    As far as the non-traditional markets, we might be surprised at the way hockey will bounce back if the playing field is more level. Right now, fans there are doing other things with their sports time and dollar. They aren't on the emotional rollercoaster that, we the diehard, are on that frequent these boards many times a day to get any nugget of info. They average fan there will probably be back, if an exciting product that has the potential to win, is put on the ice. Sure, there will be some protest absences at first, but they'll be back. That is why I think it is key to settle this year, have an abbreviated season and take the financial lumps, and roll out a fresh product next year with the bad taste of the lockout behind us.

    The cultures that live and breathe hockey, may display bitterness for longer depending on how this plays out.... :dunno:
     
  8. NYR469

    NYR469 Registered User

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    in major hockey cities fans will be back...fans might stay away at first out of protest but eventually the majority of diehards in toronto, montreal, edmonton, calgary, ny, det, boston, philly, etc will be back...

    there will be an initial drop but in the long run they will be fine...

    the teams you have to worry about are the ones that were struggling to build fan bases before...those teams can't afford to lose portions of the fan bases they have gained up to this point.
     
  9. Jaded-Fan

    Jaded-Fan Registered User

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    Who are the fans who will be up in arms and angry? Big big difference this time around, the fans are almost 100% behind the owners and feel that they are gaining something for the lost season, a true Cap and a NFL, or at the very worst NBA, type system. They get that and you will be surprised at how strongly fans come back and how little rancor there will be.

    You lose a season and do not come back with a Cap, then you will see pissed off fans who will wonder what the season was lost for.
     
  10. Regency

    Regency Registered User

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    IMO, both sides are selfish and that will never change...they can say all they want they care about the fans but in reality they don't! I haven't been to a Leaf game in 10 years and I don't plan on stopping that streak. I could care less whether they come back in 2 weeks or 2 years.
     
  11. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    Plus they're stuck in "the division"

    Similar fate awaits Cleveland.
     
  12. Shadder

    Shadder Registered User

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    Ok, be nice...first post.

    I grew up in the Detroit area and am a life long Hockey fan. Yes, I love the Red Wings it's the game that I love. I never passed up a chance to play. At 49 I'm getting ready to start playing in a senior league next year. For the past 15 years I've lived in Atlanta ad have seen Hockey grow as not only a spectator sport but as a game here. Sadly, the media here seems to give it just a bit more coverage than whatever professional Soccer league currently is in operation. We are not only lucky enough to have the Thrashers but a pretty good ECHL team in the Gladiators. Given the fact that the Gladiators are currently leading the league in attendance at just over 6,000 a game hockey is surviving in Atlanta. In this situtation (the lockout) I don't really support either side, just want the NHL back. As a hockey fan I do plan on going back to at least the first game that the Thrashers have here at home and stand up and applauding when the players first come out on the ice. Whenever the Red Wings come to town I'll go. But other than that this lockout introduced me to the Gladiators where I can take 5 people and sit 4 rows off the glass at center ice for less than one Thrashers ticket, free parking and we get to see some pretty good hockey. Not to mention that the players are all accessable to the fans and seem to enjoy the game.

    In todays Sunday sports section the only mention of Hockey at all was a letter written by a 10 year old boy in responding to a article last week talking about how nobody missed Hockey and a small blurb on the BACK page of the section stating that last night's Galdiators game had been postoned due to weather.
     
  13. PeterSidorkiewicz

    PeterSidorkiewicz HFWF Tourney Undisputed Champion

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    Maybe in markets like Carolina and Atlanta and stuff the only people going to the games NOW are the people who really love hockey so theyll continue to come back when the NHL resumes. So places like Carolina may not get any new fans but they may not lose that many either. Its just another possibility to look at I guess.
     
  14. silver_made*

    silver_made* Guest

    fans will come back. they always do. we are suckers, and both the players and owners are fully aware of it. for instance, i am in south florida and no one has even noticed the panthers are not playing hockey, and guess what? when hockey comes back (which it will), fans here still won't be aware the panthers exist. the diehards come back and the fair-weathereds come back for sheer entertainment purposes. hell, i know i'll be back. fans=zero leverage.
     
  15. Icey

    Icey Registered User

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    I find some of your comments rather "interesting" and I'll tell you why.

    I live in Dallas, where the fan base is strong. On the whole this city does not have problems selling NHL tickets, merchandise etc. Only last season did the Stars break their sell-out streak which has been going on for 230+ games. Hockey programs in Dallas are growing by leaps and bounds. Youth hockey is alive and well.

    Bill Daly came to Dallas this fall to do a town hall meeting with the fans in Dallas, to discuss the status of the lock-out. This was held in late October beginning of November and it one point during the meeting he made a comment similar to all of yours, "the fans will be back" and in voices you could hear all the way to Toronto the audience screamed "don't count on it!". Jim Lites who is the president of the Stars, was truly bothered by the comment, it didn't faze Bill Daly.

    I think they are assuming an awful lot the fans will just come back. Maybe the true diehards will and then again maybe they won't. Maybe they are the ones that the NHL is pissing off so badly that they choose to send a message, but not going to games. I have heard plenty of people who say "I'll just watch the games on TV". Or maybe the true diehard will come back to the game and the arenas, but thats where it will stop. As they have said many times, not only do they need the fans to buy the tickets, they need them to show up at the games, park in their lots, buy food at their concession stands and merchandise at the fan shop. If people just show up to the game, they might as well keep the game shut down because winning a hard salary cap, will do teams no good. They need this revenue to survive.

    Last season alone I spent over $1000 on NHL merchandise and probably another $500+ on road games. I won't do that for another few years after the game returns. I'll go the games, but don't expect me the pour my money into merchandise etc, like I have in the past. It's just not going to happen. I'm pissed off and that is the only way I know to make my statement.

    What all 30 teams need to do is be very careful how they treat their STH. Not the new ones they may get once the season resumes, but the ones who are leaving their money with the team. I know as a STH I don't want to find out that the guy sitting next to me who bought season tickets the night before opening nights is getting the same "deal" as I am getting, afterall it was I who left my money with the team for over a year.

    If they treat their current STH right and give them some awfully good deals on next years tickets, then they have a chance to bring the casual fan back simply by word of mouth, screw the season ticket holders and they can scream louder than you can imagine and the casual fan will stay away.

    Some of the smaller markets will probably have problems getting the fans back, but that is where the NHL's marketing needs to step up and big time. They need a marketing program like they have never had before to lure the casual fan back to the games.

    I hope it survives, but I am not convinced all 30 teams will survive.
     
  16. Prof_it

    Prof_it Registered User

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    Some interesting comments...Im not surprised to hear NHL management and players aren't that worried about attendance and expect fans to be back. IMO the league, whenever it returns, will survive. Sure there will be a dip. In the meantime, the true victims are the smaller businesses that chose to build around the sport. Think of the restaurants, bars, etc. around the rinks. Heck, I've even let my Hockey News subscription slip.

    On a more personal note, I was worried about what to do with no NHL. I've been pleasantly surprised that instead of watching a game a night- i now watch only 2-3 a week, but I look forward to those nights. Between NCAA, major junior, and the minors i've seen some entertaining games and great prospects. But i've also found that i've become much more involved at the grass roots level...coaching and playing. I don't plan on giving those up even when the league comes back. If anything i've found other outlets for the sport. I'll still follow the NHL, but the time spent watching it will be shared with the other leagues and my own involvement.
     
  17. jratelle19

    jratelle19 Registered User

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    I am not going to speculate on how other fans will approach the NHL after a deal is made. I can only tell you the decision I've made. If this season is cancelled, I will never spend another dime of my money on anything NHL-related again. No tickets, no NHL Center Ice, no programs, no yearbooks, no apparel, NOTHING! Believe me, if I lived in Canada where junior hockey on TV was available to the viewing public, I wouldn't even give them this ultimatum. I would've broken my ties as an NHL fan months ago.

    I refuse to be played for a fool by either side. It is insulting and absolutely thoughtless on the part of the NHL and the NHLPA to treat their clientele in this manner. For over 30 years, I have devoted time, money, and a ton of stress to this league. Enough already! For the past 10 years, I have watched the NHL go through 2 lockouts, a steady demise in the quality of the product which the league refuses to address, and expansion into markets where hockey is as foreign to the public as bacon in a synagouge.

    Believe me, I am not a casual fan by any means who uses this sport to bridge the gap between football and baseball. I am not a fan of baseball or basketball, and although I am a football fan, I am not a huge fan like I am of hockey. So, basically, hockey is it for me. That being said, I will cut ties with the NHL if this season is cancelled. I will have extra time on my hands, and I will use it wisely.
     
  18. Winger98

    Winger98 powers combined

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    I honestly don't know how I'm going to react. I know the cancellation of the World Series turned me off baseball in a serious way and it took I don't know how many years right now before I attended another game (I think five), and I just haven't had the same connection with it that I had before that. I don't have as strong of a connection with hockey as I ever did with baseball, but that's been two-fold. I haven't missed it as bad as I thought I would, but I've found losing it also isn't that big of a deal. So, in short, I'll prolly go back to just watching it on TV but not putting any cash on the table for it.

    In the larger picture...I think it's a crapshoot. Hockey's lack of popularity might work in its favor (what fans do they have to alienate?), but it could also mean it's pushed out of the media whether they start playing again or not. With a town like Detroit, we might see fewer people at the games, but the high dollar seats will still be sold to the corporate buyers, so the Wings won't be hurting too bad at the gate, imo. And I bet it will be the same with the other teams that sell a lot of corporate seats. Teams that aren't as heavily backed could see a serious hurt put on at the gate, as I think fans will stay away, partially out of anger and partially out of indifference.
     
  19. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    I think NHL fans are the most dedicated to their sport, as it's a niche sport at this point. The base will return, however you feel it should be defined.

    I read bits of an article in the local paper today about how NHL fans are decidedly different from the other major sports in that they are much more tied to their sport in terms of devotion.

    Being from Columbus, i get a sense that many fans are devoted to the sport, as aside from OSU Football, they still come out of the woodwork to support their team. Ofcourse, the argument rests with some of them being bigger fans of the Redwings, Penguins because of the region.
     
  20. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    As a Leaf fan living in the city of Ottawa, who also owns seasons tickets to the Ottawa Senators, the aftermath of a canceled season will cause me to not renew seasons tickets to the Senators. I will still watch the game of the week on CBC but I won't pay for center ice again either. Nor will I do my monthly trip to Toronto to catch a couple Leaf games a month either

    I figure after all is said and done the NHL will have lost $10,000 of my money per year. And since the lack of the NHL has caused me to follow junior hockey much more close I'll probally just toss some of that money into a 67's season ticket package.

    I just think my money is served better that way, than into the pockets of greedy owners and players who don't really give a damn about the fans.

    The Red Wing owner says "the hockey does'nt matter"

    Natasatan666 says "The hockey DOES matter, the NHL brad of hockey does'nt matter
     
  21. PecaFan

    PecaFan Registered User

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    Fans said that last time, and average attendance in 1995 after the lockout was *higher* than in 1994 pre-lockout.

    If we lose the season, attendance will drop a little. But NHL fans are the most rabid there are, and I have no doubt there'll be no long term impact. I know many here think the US will be severely affected, but I don't believe it at all.

    US fans are in many ways much more dedicated than Canadian fans. It's easy to be a Canadian hockey fan, you're surrounded by it, you're immersed in it from a young age. A US fan gets almost none of that.
     
  22. HckyFght*

    HckyFght* Guest

    More important to me than the end of the lockout will be what changes the league makes to "fix" a game that wasn't broke until Bettman got hold of it. If they come up with a horrid bunch of gimmicks to lure big time TV rather than getting back to basics and simply rolling back the Bettman era on ice changes, I'll be pissed. That is what would keep me away. I'm an NFL season ticket holder for 44 years and I thought the replacement games were a scream, they certainly are legend around here, Washington, DC, but it's the game itself I'm most concerned about. Shootouts? Wider nets? No center red line? These ideas are simply ludicrous and come from lazy players who want a brutal game made easier, or know-nothing outsiders who dangle potential windfalls at weak NHL leadership, windfalls, that really don't exist.
    Otherwise, I'm happily there every night!
    -HckyFght!
     
  23. bhawk24bob

    bhawk24bob Registered User

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    i think it's going to depend on the general feeling of the fans on the purpose of this lockout. if the majority think it was for the good of the game, then i dont think attendance will dip too much. if a majority feel that it was over greed, then i think the nhl is going to have a serious problem.
     
  24. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    I remember Burke once describing hockey as more of a cult in Canada than a sport.

    Bettman described the overwhelming sentiment of fans telling him to shut down the league for as long as it takes to get the Cap deal done, as inspirational. I hope its not the same fans now threatening to boycott the league if it doesnt have a season.


    For season ticket holders, check this out:

    http://www.seasonticketholders.org/
     
  25. tritone

    tritone Registered User

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    I myself have been striking any form of payment to all things related to the NHL for a few years now . Ever since I went to my first game at the "Bell Centre" initially named "Molson Centre" . 65$ for a seat in the whites , it just happened to be the last row of the white section so I was about 5 feet closer than the 30$ blue section....8$ for a beer that tasted like it came out of Mr.Molson's ass . $3.75 for a hot-dog AND worst of all those annoying commercials on the jumbotron every time the play was stopped . Horrible . From that point on I decided never to spend a penny of my money to support this fiasco and the lock-out is just one more reason to further my own personal cause.
    To any nay-sayers out there...yes I have even refused free tickets to Habs games on principle.
    I watch every single game on satellite tv which means I don't affect the ratings in anyway . But as much of a fan I am , they will never get my money ever again.
     
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