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09-11-2012, 12:53 AM
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SBDJ Botta: As NHL lockout nears, teams, players and sponsors eye potential impact

While the Calgary Flames, as of last week, were the only club to so far publicly acknowledge that they will roll out salary cuts for employees in the event of a lockout, other teams are keeping a close eye on their bottom lines.

“We haven’t had any work-stoppage-related layoffs yet, and I haven’t heard of cuts around the league besides what the Flames announced,” said one senior vice president with an NHL club who requested anonymity. “What we’ve told our employees, and I’m hearing it’s the norm around the league, is to not spend a dime without approval. We want to protect our staffs as long as possible, so being prudent about expenses only makes sense. Who knows what the cost of a lockout will be?”

AJ Maestas, president of Chicago-based Navigate Research, pointed first to the NHL’s casual fans.

“Not only would another lockout become a major challenge to win more fans, I believe the NHL would lose casual fans and not regain them for an extended period of time,” said Maestas, whose firm conducts research, measurement and analysis of sponsorships in sports and entertainment. “Our research after the last lockout (2004-05) showed the passionate fans quickly returned to the arena but a long lag time for casual fans to return to attending games and watching on TV. Given that TV ratings are one of the greatest challenges for the NHL, this is not good.”
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said last week there is no standard answer for how league sponsors would be handled in the event of a lockout.
As for teams, Daly said the league will work with clubs on protocols for season-ticket holders and other customers, but most such actions will be driven by the franchises themselves.

Last edited by LadyStanley: 09-11-2012 at 01:01 AM. Reason: add a few more points
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