The question no one can answerOctober 13, 2012, by
How will the lockout affect the game’s future?
The other night on Twitter I posed this 3-point question:
- How betrayed/disrespect do you feel by the NHL and NHLPA?
- How much does that really matter to your interest?
- Bottom line: will it really stop you from spending money on tickets?
Plenty of Rangers fans are outraged and insist this latest work stoppage is an unforgivable foul. I suspect that some of the fan base has really been turned off, but not a big enough part to make any difference; the Garden will still fill up.
But for the league in general, I’m not so sure. We already know how much the people in the southern areas of the country care about their teams, so what’s going to happen to the health of the league?
For some reason, there’s still talk of expansion within a few years, which is sort of mind-boggling when the NHL is having trouble supporting the 30 teams it already has. Perhaps the supposed failures of some of these clubs were exaggerated a bit, but the question remains whether the league’s general fan base is engaged enough to continue carrying it forward.
The league execs must be extremely confident that the NHL’s economic health is not at all in jeopardy, otherwise its kind of hard to understand why they’d be carrying on with this lockout.
Can they really just be that stubborn? It’s a popular storyline right now, but I don’t really buy it.
Both teams are supremely confident that there’s an endless flow of cash to support the whole operation, but the key question is: will fans continue to allow that to be so?