An interesting article in today’s The Globe and Mail concerning research done on the NHL at its brand. According to the study done by Level5 Strategy Group, based out of Toronto, shows a very high number of NHL fans who have become disinterested in the sport. Level5′s program creates “emotional maps called the emotisphere” to show favorable feelings, or dislike, toward a particular product.
There are some interesting findings in the survey. First, Canadian passion toward hockey is diminishing. Only one-third of Canadians would classify themselves as passionate hockey fans. Second, researchers found those in the other two-thirds to be apathetic or angry towards their feeling toward the NHL. The last bit of noteworthy information in the study is the emotional map created by the NHL brand was as bad or worse than BP after the oil spill in 2010.
It does seem like this lockout is completely different in the eyes of the fans. I hold onto the notion that fans will come back to the game no matter how long this work stoppage endures. However, it may take a McGwire/Sosa type of race to get a lot of fans back.
There were a lot of rule changes last time to make the game more exciting i.e. shootouts, crackdown on obstruction. What can the league offer this time? One thing we do know, it will not be cheap tickets!