Jun 12, 2012

NHL Lockout 2013

After last night's demolishing victory over the New Jersey Devils, I decided to re-evaluate the effect of the L.A. Kings big win and the position that the NHL will be in next year.

My conclusion: NHL - 2013 - Temporary Lockout caused by: broadcast ratings, lack of attendance (See end of page) / owners ROI or player safety.
What else? The L.A. Kings and New Jersey Devils play in the Stanley Cup and no one cares. This year's Cup Final trailed last year. As USA Today reported: "Ratings for the first two games, on NBC, were down 25% from last year, while the next two on NBC Sports Network were off 33% -- and the overnight for Game 5 on NBC was off 19%."

Here's how I came to that...

Over the last few decades, it seems as though the popularity of teams in professional sports plays an important role of the likelihood of a season the year after. There seems to be a trend on the excitement of the season, ratings and winning team popularity that correlates to the future of the league.
I'm not saying there's a direct cause and effect of popularity. Strikes and lockouts are caused by more than just one factor. For example, rule changes / player salaries vs. owner profit / collective bargaining / player agreement arrangements / etc. are all factors that play a key role.
  • NBA - 2011/12 - Temporary lockout resulting in half a season caused by owners upon expiration of the 2005 collective bargaining agreement. What else? Despite charismatic owner Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks were certainly not America's team. Their captain and unstoppable leader Dirk Nowitzki lead the Mavs to win the Championship in 2010-11 after beating the Miami Heat 'All-American Dream-Team' of Lebron, Wade and Bosh
  • NFL - 2011/12 - Not an official lockout but caused by owners and the NFLPA who could not come to a consensus on a new collective bargaining agreement, delaying pre-season. What else? The ratings for the season prior were up 10% however pre-game show ratings were at an all-time low. Perhaps fans were getting sick of the repetitiveness of the same teams doing well and the bad ones still losing
  • NHL - 2004/05 - Full-blown lock out caused by a labour dispute between NHL owners and the NHLPA over collective bargaining. What else? At this point, the discrepancy between the popularity of hockey and other sports in America was evident. Hockey was not doing well and an unlikeable Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004. Prior to their Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay had a low attendance record and were looking at possibly moving the team. Tampa also knocked out the top 5 most popular (and well-attended - see below) teams, the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers and the Calgary Flames, in the playoffs
  • MLB - 1994/95 - Strike caused by the owners of major league baseball teams who collectively proposed a salary cap to their players. What else? The Toronto Blue Jays, the MLB's least popular team, win back-to-back World Series prior
  • NFL - 1987/88 - Strike caused by players union who demanded that a wage scale be based on percentage of gross revenues be implemented; NFLPA wanted 55%. What else? John Elway, in his prime, lost the Super Bowl to the New York Football Giants who were heavy favourites over the Broncos and beat them by multiple touchdowns
  • NFL - 1982/83  - Strike caused by a lack of collective bargaining agreement. What else? San Francisco 49ers win in 1982 for the org's first time with Joe Montana. Despite this, the Bengals were actually the more popular team: a Superbowl dark-horse after finishing the prior-season 6-10 and never having won a playoff game. The game was a bit of a wash, but so was football 20 years ago
For a cool infografic on the history of lockouts and strikes, check this site out.
I guess I'll try another sport, like knitting.

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