Assessing the Impact of the NHL Lockout on Fans, Sponsors

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(from Sports Business Journal, February 19, 2013) The National Hockey League is underway, however, two months ago it looked as if there was not going to be a 2013 NHL season. It looked as if there was going to be a second cancelled season for players, sponsors, and fans. Commissioner, Gary Bettman, apologized for the league stating that they were sorry for harming the game of hockey. He also sent out a personal apology to the players, sponsors, and fans that love the game and have been affected by the lockout. The NHL was worried that fans would give up on hockey and find other interests, but it seems as if for now they are forgiving, because the seats at the hockey games are full.

The National Hockey League is now on schedule and everything seems to be back to normal. Even though players are back to staffed teams and the season has started with sellouts and high television ratings, no one knows where exactly the sponsors of the NHL stand. Sponsors have not spoken much on this subject matter, but the NHL has close ties with their sponsors and these sponsors have dealt with a lockout before. They feel that this lockout will not affect their sponsorships. This is what the NHL is hoping for, however, there is many questions unanswered with sponsors. The NHL could lose new sponsorship deals because of this lockout. There is still to be answered who will sponsor which clubs and players in the 2013 season.

With hard work and great effort the National Hockey League will need to put their reputation back together. They will need to put together the damage done and become appealing to their loyal fans and regular ticket buyers. Long- term marketing plans will need to be put into place in order for this to happen and to accomplish their goal. The NHL is already on its way to cleaning up the mess of the lockout out, but all party interests are going to have to come together to make it happen.