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04-18-2012, 10:36 AM
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TKG
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Ways to market/change the game

I was having a conversation last night with a buddy of mine who is an extremely casual hockey fan,but as we were having our conversation he pointed something out that struck me as to why he doesn't watch hockey.

He made the statement he is able to watch the Winter Classic because it is promoted heavily and he knows where to find it on TV.

Then,as our conversation pushed on he also said to me that he tries to pay attention to the playoffs but it clashes with too many other sports. NBA, MLB start (i know here in the metro area its huge)


As our conversation went on and the beers started to pile up, he made this crazy proposal to me about the NHL,and after some thought I have mixed feelings on it but it does have some merit.

The proposal my buddy came up with was starting the NHL season in either late June or July (this goes against all tradition and I tried to explain how this wouldn't work) and shortening the regular season by a few games (i.e. 82 dropped to 72) He also contends that the NHL start would go up against baseball, which has enough problems trying to get ratings.

This part took about a 45 minute argument before he got to the next part.

And then this where his idea got a bit interesting, if the SC playoffs were to start in late December and end up with the finals being in February when no other sport has the spotlight on them per say, then teams from a cold weather city could have the Finals played outdoors which to the casual fan may attract more attention.

If the team is say in PHX or FLA then the game would just be played in the arena. So it becomes a bit of an advantage for the cold weather team like in football.

I could see where he tries to make some solid attemps at making the NHL relevant to the mainstream. My question to you and myself is could we live with these changes if they were to theoreticaly (sp?) take such a drastic place?

I fall on the side of being a traditionalist and say leave it the system way it is. Its great for those of us who know the sport.


Also, what changes would you make to help grow this sport to help it grow particularly in the U.S?

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04-18-2012, 10:41 AM
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While those changes are fairly logical, I don't like the idea of changing the entire season around to get out of the way of the other sports. The only change I'd make is to implement slightly wider rinks to reduce injuries and create a little more offense. That in itself would help the game become more popular and safer at the same time with slightly increased offense and less injuries.

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04-18-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKG View Post
And then this where his idea got a bit interesting, if the SC playoffs were to start in late December and end up with the finals being in February when no other sport has the spotlight on them
except for you know the superbowl.

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04-18-2012, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKG View Post
And then this where his idea got a bit interesting, if the SC playoffs were to start in late December and end up with the finals being in February when no other sport has the spotlight on them per say, then teams from a cold weather city could have the Finals played outdoors which to the casual fan may attract more attention.
So you want the NHL playoffs to compete head-to-head with the NFL playoffs? That's somehow better?

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04-18-2012, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ogie View Post
except for you know the superbowl.
To be fair, the Super Bowl is in the first week of Feb.

HIS theory when there is nothing else on i.e. after the Super Bowl you would have the SC playoffs at the late second round/ ECF/WCF stages.

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04-18-2012, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
So you want the NHL playoffs to compete head-to-head with the NFL playoffs? That's somehow better?
Made the same argument. But my friend's contention is it might be for the mainstream fan you know the guy that likes football because of the hitting get introduced to hockey...


The NFL playoffs only do take up the weekend. It could help the sport.

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04-18-2012, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TKG View Post
Made the same argument. But my friend's contention is it might be for the mainstream fan you know the guy that likes football because of the hitting get introduced to hockey...


The NFL playoffs only do take up the weekend. It could help the sport.
The games themselves only take up the weekend. The sport takes up a lot of brain space for fans during the week.

Besides, even during the playoffs, the NHL gets it's best ratings on the weekends. So what are you going to do before the Super Bowl, schedule all the playoff games during the week?

It's an interesting thing to think about, but I honestly don't think it would have a big impact, if any at all.

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04-18-2012, 11:08 AM
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- To me, the only thing less logical than having hockey season end in June would be starting it in June.

- Try convincing the owners to lose 10 games (and presumably 5 gates)

- Football is the most popular sport in the country. This proposal puts hockey head to head with the NFL and NCAA football.


- The Winter Classic is unique because it's played outside. More games outside makes it less unique. Less unique quickly becomes who cares (the level of hockey in this Winter Classic was dismal).



NBC is investing heavily in marketing the game — the most since the NHL was on ESPN. That should help.

The fact is, there's really no such thing as a casual hockey fan. Gimmicks don't change that. And it also doesn't help that hockey is really not a great TV sport.

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04-18-2012, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tawnos View Post
The games themselves only take up the weekend. The sport takes up a lot of brain space for fans during the week.

Besides, even during the playoffs, the NHL gets it's best ratings on the weekends. So what are you going to do before the Super Bowl, schedule all the playoff games during the week?

It's an interesting thing to think about, but I honestly don't think it would have a big impact, if any at all.
To the bold. I agree.

Well if I were the guy making the schedule I certainly wouldn't go up against the Super Bowl. However, there is plenty of time before the Super Bowl that could settle some people's blood thirst due to hockey's violent nature.

And also you could schedule your matinee/showcase game at 1 p.m like NBC does in the regular season on the weekends.


It was interesting enough of a discussion for me to still be thinking about this the next day while I am working.....

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04-18-2012, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TKG View Post
Well if I were the guy making the schedule I certainly wouldn't go up against the Super Bowl. However, there is plenty of time before the Super Bowl that could settle some people's blood thirst due to hockey's violent nature.
You mean the exact thing they're trying to take out of the game?

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04-18-2012, 11:16 AM
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NYR Sting
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One of the best things about hockey is that it is a niche sport. Why would you want more people watching? The NFL may benefit from their sport being so popular, but how exactly does it benefit you as a fan?

The more popular hockey becomes, the harder it will be for real hockey fans to go to games. The more popular hockey becomes, the more stupid people who don't know what they're talking about will have opinions on it, the more annoying, overblown talking heads in the media will get involved. Again, how does that benefit you as a fan?

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04-18-2012, 11:16 AM
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Simply put, the NHL needs to make themselves more desirable and important than the start of MLB or ending of the NBA season. There will always be competition among other sports.

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04-18-2012, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by vipernsx View Post
Simply put, the NHL needs to make themselves more desirable and important than the start of MLB or ending of the NBA season. There will always be competition among other sports.
I think the only sure way is a long term approach starting with kids. Get more ice rinks built, get kids to play street hockey or outdoor roller hockey. Develop a program to give away NHL tickets to parents to take their kids to a game in really good seats. Build a community around the sport when people are young, and they'll be interested in the sport when they're older. People in the US don't grow up really exposed to hockey unless they live in Upstate NY / Minnesota / Michigan / New England or someone in their family is a big hockey fan

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04-18-2012, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway View Post
- To me, the only thing less logical than having hockey season end in June would be starting it in June.

- Try convincing the owners to lose 10 games (and presumably 5 gates)

- Football is the most popular sport in the country. This proposal puts hockey head to head with the NFL and NCAA football.


- The Winter Classic is unique because it's played outside. More games outside makes it less unique. Less unique quickly becomes who cares (the level of hockey in this Winter Classic was dismal).



NBC is investing heavily in marketing the game the most since the NHL was on ESPN. That should help.

The fact is, there's really no such thing as a casual hockey fan. Gimmicks don't change that. And it also doesn't help that hockey is really not a great TV sport.

The first bullet I again agree with.

The second bullet I shot down as well stating the same thing you did.

The third bullet, I at first saw it as head-to head with football at first,but as our argument went on my friend put it more as a "continuation" of the U.S' most popular sport,a contact sport.

The fourth bullet, yes the WC is unique because it is played outside 3 potentially 4 games outside make it less unique, to a casual fan? I have a hard time buying it.
Also let me add I thought this was his coolest idea here. The outdoor games in SC final if your a cold weather team would be awesome IMO.


I also don't agree that there is no casual hockey fan, just because you and I are diehards, doesn't mean there aren't casual hockey fans. I work with at least 10 of them who when you talk in depth about hockey they have no clue, but they will give you the "I watched the Ranger game and it was cool I hope they win."

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04-18-2012, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway View Post
You mean the exact thing they're trying to take out of the game?

Clean checking is violent, simply put. The other shenanigans are obviously what needs to be cleaned up.

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04-18-2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by TKG View Post
The first bullet I again agree with.

The second bullet I shot down as well stating the same thing you did.

The third bullet, I at first saw it as head-to head with football at first,but as our argument went on my friend put it more as a "continuation" of the U.S' most popular sport,a contact sport.

The fourth bullet, yes the WC is unique because it is played outside 3 potentially 4 games outside make it less unique, to a casual fan? I have a hard time buying it.
Also let me add I thought this was his coolest idea here. The outdoor games in SC final if your a cold weather team would be awesome IMO.


I also don't agree that there is no casual hockey fan, just because you and I are diehards, doesn't mean there aren't casual hockey fans. I work with at least 10 of them who when you talk in depth about hockey they have no clue, but they will give you the "I watched the Ranger game and it was cool I hope they win."


I think 3 maybe 4 outside games for the Stanley Cup would be something the die-hard fan would have a problem with. You're adding elements to games that decide the ultimate prize. And the hockey outside has been bad. I can't get behind a gimmick in a series that decides the Stanley Cup.

Ask your work friends why they don't watch during the regular season.

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04-18-2012, 11:31 AM
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I don't think it's a good idea at all, but assuming the league decided to do it, how in the world would they implement a change like that? Start the new season a week after the SCF ends? Not much time for the draft, free agency, or for players to recover.

And then you've got to consider all the other leagues. Are they going to change too, or have seasons that don't run parallel to the NHL? They AHL would have to change for sure, otherwise how would you deal with callups. And the CHL would probably have to change as well.

Whatever benefit there might be to this--and it wouldn't be much--the negative impacts would far, far, far outweigh it.

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04-18-2012, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by NYR Sting View Post
One of the best things about hockey is that it is a niche sport. Why would you want more people watching? The NFL may benefit from their sport being so popular, but how exactly does it benefit you as a fan?

The more popular hockey becomes, the harder it will be for real hockey fans to go to games. The more popular hockey becomes, the more stupid people who don't know what they're talking about will have opinions on it, the more annoying, overblown talking heads in the media will get involved. Again, how does that benefit you as a fan?
Opinions are like *******s everyone has one. I don't need to listen to a talking head to make up my own mind thank you I am not a sheep.

I'm already a fan I will always watch the Rangers I'm not going anywhere, I don't really need any benefits, but the league does they need the revenue.

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04-18-2012, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by SingnBluesOnBroadway View Post
I think 3 maybe 4 outside games for the Stanley Cup would be something the die-hard fan would have a problem with. You're adding elements to games that decide the ultimate prize. And the hockey outside has been bad. I can't get behind a gimmick in a series that decides the Stanley Cup.

Ask your work friends why they don't watch during the regular season.

My work friends haven't had the proper exposure to hockey. Therefore, I as a hockey guy am trying to help the process along, you know keep the interest up things like that.

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04-18-2012, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TKG View Post
My work friends haven't had the proper exposure to hockey. Therefore, I as a hockey guy am trying to help the process along, you know keep the interest up things like that.
Just curious, but what do you get out of this situation?

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04-18-2012, 12:20 PM
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Playing more outdoor games would be a bad thing though. It's a gimmick, and it works because it's unusual. Once a bunch of games are outdoors it's no longer special and you'll need another gimmick to keep people watching.

Like I said IMO the only way to build fan support is long term planning starting when kids are growing up so they have hockey resources available to them (ice surfaces, outdoor roller hockey rinks, equipment, etc...) and have the game marketed to them

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04-18-2012, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Vito Andolini View Post
Just curious, but what do you get out of this situation?

Well, for me it is something I can speak about rather than have to listen to Knicks and Yankee **** for 9 hours a day....

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04-18-2012, 12:45 PM
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This one's easy.

Step One: Fire Shanny.

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04-18-2012, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by GordonGecko View Post
Playing more outdoor games would be a bad thing though. It's a gimmick, and it works because it's unusual. Once a bunch of games are outdoors it's no longer special and you'll need another gimmick to keep people watching.

Like I said IMO the only way to build fan support is long term planning starting when kids are growing up so they have hockey resources available to them (ice surfaces, outdoor roller hockey rinks, equipment, etc...) and have the game marketed to them
The bottom I agree with also part of the argument I made.

The Winter Classic may be a gimmick... but it also works.... and I agree an overkill of games outdoors wouldn't work, but the concept of an all-outdoor or partial outdoor SC final could be a useful marketing tool for the league.

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04-18-2012, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mcdunna with fries View Post
this one's easy.

Step one: Fire shanny.
qft.

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