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Professor rips NHL for treating fans as stupid

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Old
11-20-2012, 02:53 PM
  #1
LadyStanley
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Professor rips NHL for treating fans as stupid

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sport...rticle5458657/

Quote:
[Andre] Richelieu is an international expert in brand management and sports marketing. The 42-year-old Laval University professor was recently advising in Minsk, Belarus, where they will hold the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation world championship. Earlier this month he was at the Banff Centre, where he was one of the featured presenters at a forum on sports journalism put on by Mount Royal and Carleton universities.
...
“The message the NHL has sent is that ‘we are stupid,’” he says. The NHL cannot possibly have any other opinion, he says, because the league has previous proof – two earlier lockouts – that the league can treat its fans in a cavalier way and they will always come back.
“That is the calculation they make,” Richelieu says. “When they say ‘We have the best fans in the world’ the presumption is that the fans will come back. That is the best example of insult and marketing myopia I know.
“From a sports-marketing point of view I think the NHL is about to realize that the last word is what the fans have. It is consumer power. When the consumers decide to act, to send a message to the organization, then the organization has no other choice but to change things.”
...
He says the NHL and its players should be even more concerned about what he calls “the Superfan” than about the so-called “casual fans.” Many observers are saying the casual fans will drop off, especially in weak U.S. markets.
“When you are a Superfan,” Richelieu says, “you are so involved, because it is a love-hate relationship. You love it. You love it to the extreme. You will support it. You will buy, consume, spend. But when you are upset you hate it. What we do not know is how long this kind of ‘upset’ situation will last for the Superfans and how it will translate, because definitely the trust has been broken. ..."
...

The Laval professor stands among an increasing number who are saying that 2012 is vastly different from 2004-05. “The psychological mindset of the fans has changed,” he says, “because for two CBAs in a row they have been told that they can be taken hostage. And what happens in the next seven years? The same circus will start again? Fans will say, ‘Why should I commit? Why should I get so involved in a sport, in a team, in players that will treat me with such a lack of respect? Why should I do that?”

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11-20-2012, 02:58 PM
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http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/86...ague-eyes-fans

And Buccigross: NHL is forever tainted league in the eyes of fans

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11-20-2012, 03:01 PM
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Great read. I'm a superfan and much of what he's saying rings very true. I know I'll be back cheering for the teams I love because it's such a big part of my life, but I'm also bitter, and realizing that I can make due without it. My return will be less... vigorous, and with a lot less initial enthusiasm, of that I'm certain. I'm far from the only one and I do truly hope this is enough of a message to prevent further lockouts.

Enough is enough.

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11-20-2012, 03:23 PM
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Look, that's all well and good now, and we're all upset now, and we won't forgive the NHL now, and the league has ruined their credibility now.... but none of that will matter if fans return en masse once they start playing again, like last time.

We can be upset all we want, but if all the usual suspects keep selling out all their games, season tickets remain the same (even if it's through fresh blood buying up cancelled plans), Nielsen families keep watching, and merchandise sales keep on happening, the NHL will have no reason but to treat us as stupid. Because, hey.... they can. Gave 'em no reason overall as a fanbase not to treat us that way after flocking back after the prior lockout. Hopefully after this one is different, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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11-20-2012, 03:25 PM
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Brian Boyle
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Yeah. We no stupid.

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11-20-2012, 03:25 PM
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I don't think it would be a bad thing if fan backlash stings both players and owners for a long time.

If they have to move from the assumption that revenue growth will happen at a slightly lower pace for one or two years and have to start assuming that you will have revenue decrease for two-three years if you have a work stoppage, I think you would find a completely different will to compromise the next time the CBA is about to expire.

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11-20-2012, 03:29 PM
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I think where they're really going to be hurting is the casual fan. You only get so many kicks at the can with a casual fan-and I'm thinking what's different from 04 is people weren't just coming the "great recession", people are STILL hurting, and those casual fans are seeing this sort of stuff go on again and say "why do I bother?"

I'll make a semi bold prediction: We'll see another lockout/labour situation (and we will) before we see the NHL get to 3.3 billion annual revenues-even with whatever "savings" the owners get in the next CBA. The NHL really shot themselves in the foot.

Will the fans comeback? Probably, particularly in Canada they'll be selling out arenas again-but the US, particularly in the "non traditional" markets? I think they're going to get bit hard.

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11-20-2012, 03:33 PM
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I disagree with his view. The NHL is not doing this to the fans, they are doing what they need to do to survive financially. In fact, they are doing this FOR the fans - without significant changes, many teams people cheer for will not exist.

Fans who are offended, make me shake my head. Be offended at the players - every one of them is making good money. They are driven by greed, 18 NHL teams are driven by survival.

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11-20-2012, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
Look, that's all well and good now, and we're all upset now, and we won't forgive the NHL now, and the league has ruined their credibility now.... but none of that will matter if fans return en masse once they start playing again, like last time.

We can be upset all we want, but if all the usual suspects keep selling out all their games, season tickets remain the same (even if it's through fresh blood buying up cancelled plans), Nielsen families keep watching, and merchandise sales keep on happening, the NHL will have no reason but to treat us as stupid. Because, hey.... they can. Gave 'em no reason overall as a fanbase not to treat us that way after flocking back after the prior lockout. Hopefully after this one is different, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I wouldn't bet on it either. And if we're right, this might be a nice bump before the next CBA negotiation.

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11-20-2012, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I disagree with his view. The NHL is not doing this to the fans, they are doing what they need to do to survive financially. In fact, they are doing this FOR the fans - without significant changes, many teams people cheer for will not exist.

Fans who are offended, make me shake my head. Be offended at the players - every one of them is making good money. They are driven by greed, 18 NHL teams are driven by survival.
Bam.

Bettman isn't the best and he isn't innocent, but the players need to be held responsible for their part, too.

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11-20-2012, 03:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I disagree with his view. The NHL is not doing this to the fans, they are doing what they need to do to survive financially. In fact, they are doing this FOR the fans - without significant changes, many teams people cheer for will not exist.

Fans who are offended, make me shake my head. Be offended at the players - every one of them is making good money. They are driven by greed, 18 NHL teams are driven by survival.
Some of the teams are doing this in order to survive finacially, some of the teams are doing this because a cap means astronomical profits in markets that have a historical passion for the game.

The idea that the players should shoulder all of the blame is completely misplaced. back to back to back lock outs because teams in weak markets leverage everything they have on a prayer because if it works out they look like geniuses, if it doesnt they lock the players out, AGAIN and cry poor and demand MORE cost certainty.

The other thread about fan apathy is important but at this point I'm not apathetic, I'm resigned to the fact that there will not be hockey this year, and perhaps the lockout will continue into next season as well ( I think losing two full years is unlikely). I'm also resigned to the fact that even if the players cave ( AGAIN) that this is nothing more than window dressing and at the end of the next CBA the owners will lock the players out (AGAIN) and demand the third or fourth round of concessions from the PA.

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11-20-2012, 03:47 PM
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From my standpoint I think the NHL are the ones who are being extremely unwise.

They are assuming that everything is going to be smooth sailing. This contrasts quite strongly with public opinion. Its a significant difference when compared to the previous stoppage.

The NHL is not in good shape in comparison to their stronger cousins, and they are much more vulnerable to things like sudden drops in gate revenue. A 10% drop could prove catastrophic.

It seems shortsighted, and perhaps they failed to consider things like how ridiculous another stoppage so quickly would appear to the public. I think more effort should have been made to work together by both sides, but they sure blew it.

The excessively public grievance between players and owners and the accompanying sideshow circus. Now that is stupidity.


Last edited by Gormo: 11-20-2012 at 03:58 PM.
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11-20-2012, 03:50 PM
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11-20-2012, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Fun Shogun View Post
We can be upset all we want, but if all the usual suspects keep selling out all their games, season tickets remain the same (even if it's through fresh blood buying up cancelled plans), Nielsen families keep watching, and merchandise sales keep on happening, the NHL will have no reason but to treat us as stupid. Because, hey.... they can. Gave 'em no reason overall as a fanbase not to treat us that way after flocking back after the prior lockout. Hopefully after this one is different, but I wouldn't bet on it.
I don't think that there is a good answer to this, but in your ideal world what would happen to the struggling franchises ? The league is predominantly gate driven and if ( and this is a big if) say league wide attendance drops 20%, how much you want to bet that the teams at the bottom will bear the brunt of this and the teams at the top will keep their ability to print money ?

So the fans taking a stand to show that we are not chumps directly contributes and exacerbates the differences between teams at the top and those at the bottom and would likely be the death knell for several current weak sisters, but this is worth doing so that the league thinks we are not chumps ? I though the intent was to try and shore up the weak markets, not accelerate their demise.

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11-20-2012, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sandysan View Post
at the end of the next CBA the owners will lock the players out (AGAIN)
You'd better get used to this now as the owners will lock the players out regardless of what they're looking for if there's no agreement once the CBA expires.

This will always happen, regardless if they're happy with the CBA and it's the players who are looking for concessions from the league. Due to what Fehr with with baseball (even once he's gone), this will now be the standard operating procedure to ensure that the players don't hold any leverage (by playing with no CBA, then striking before the playoffs).

You just need to remember that it takes two sides to come to an agreement, and that just because the league has locked the players out, doesn't automatically paint them as the bad guys.

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11-20-2012, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogopogo View Post
I disagree with his view. The NHL is not doing this to the fans, they are doing what they need to do to survive financially. In fact, they are doing this FOR the fans - without significant changes, many teams people cheer for will not exist.

Fans who are offended, make me shake my head. Be offended at the players - every one of them is making good money. They are driven by greed, 18 NHL teams are driven by survival.
This is one of the funniest pro-NHL owner propoganda post I've ever read. First of all, the NHL is not doing this "for the fans". The NHL is doing this to create more profit to take from the fans. The NHL actually made money in terms of profit as a whole and yet want to take more money. The fact is that if the NHL actually followed a smarter business model like other major leagues they could successfully redistribute the money to the bottom tier teams so that every franchise can survive.

The fact is that the reason why the NHL is like what it is today is because of the owners themselves. If the owners themselves didn't make the stupid decision to be greedy and go after players that they couldn't afford this would have never happened. But now because the profits aren't there for most franchises the owners are saying "wow, we screwed up so now we'll take your money we agreed to pay to you by contract". It's unbelievable. If you want a system where franchises can regularly compete with one another then you need a system where the top franchises have their money redistributed to the bottom franchises. It's that simple. But of course the greed of the owners wouldn't make that a possibility.

It's just funny because the players signed contracts that owners knew they couldn't afford. I just forget where the players are at fault for any of this?

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11-20-2012, 04:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riptide View Post
You'd better get used to this now as the owners will lock the players out regardless of what they're looking for if there's no agreement once the CBA expires.

This will always happen, regardless if they're happy with the CBA and it's the players who are looking for concessions from the league. Due to what Fehr with with baseball (even once he's gone), this will now be the standard operating procedure to ensure that the players don't hold any leverage (by playing with no CBA, then striking before the playoffs).

You just need to remember that it takes two sides to come to an agreement, and that just because the league has locked the players out, doesn't automatically paint them as the bad guys.

So we should focus on what could happen ( the players walking out prior to the playoffs so that the owners who make it dont see their salary-free windfalls) but we should simply forget about the fact that the league locks out players as often as they do ?

It does take two sides, and over the long hall both sides should be expected to BOTH make concessions. This has not happened, the owners cry poor, the players disagree. the owners, under the guise of cost certainty, want the players to cover their markers, the players say no so the owners lock them out. Say they go 50/50 ? The precedent here is that if they say at the end of the next cba we need to go 60/40. they players will say no and the owners will lock them out. so seven years from now, its 60/40. 15 years from now its 65/35 ( and the weak sisters are still weak and crying poor).

I'm just wondering, how many times do the players need to cave before people abandon the notion that they are nothing but money grubbing illiterates ?

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11-20-2012, 04:29 PM
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Maybe I am stupid, but I'm coming back. I don't care, I just want my hockey. Yeah there's other hockey, but it's not the NHL, it's not the Rangers, it's not the same.

Of course I'm pissed off. If something horrible happened to Gary Bettman I wouldn't have an ounce of sympathy, that's how upset I am. But when the games resume, I just wanna watch them. I just want my hockey.

And I don't have any interest in some "protest" that nobody is going to listen to anyway. I'm tired of playing activist, it gets nothing accomplished.

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11-20-2012, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Meow View Post
The fact is that the reason why the NHL is like what it is today is because of the owners themselves.
Do also note that the owners also decided to put teams in "weak" markets. Sure they "did it for the fans" *, but they also did it for the expansion fees money and the promise of an future lucrative broadcasting deal.

* when they moved teams from Minnesota, Hartford, Quebec, Winnipeg, Atlanta, I'm sure they did it for the fans too. And you know, despite that, a lot of those fans are still ... diddled. Ingrates really.

But more seriously, all parties involved are just following their perceived self-interest. Even the fans; we'll be back, because we want to be entertained.

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11-20-2012, 04:36 PM
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All hyperbole aside, I still think this lockout could have major long-term implications if it isn't resolved soon.

If the season is lost, I expect there to be a lot more scorched earth than there was following 04/05. How can you not, really.

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11-20-2012, 04:37 PM
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Rings true for me about the super-fan part. I am so apathetic to this lockout. Last time I was upset.

I've already said I would not spend any money on the NHL next year, I may even watch less games. I have become quite a Hitmen fan in the past few months and honestly, I can actually afford to go to those games whenever I want, even with my friends who are students.

This lockout will have different repercussions than the last one, thats for sure.

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11-20-2012, 04:39 PM
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Reading that hurt my eyes and reminded me of why I quit going to that University back in 2008.

This prof should stop for a second and consider that, even if he does not like it, there is a business side to the NHL. If you chose to be angry because you ignore it and don't want to hear about it, then it's your own damn fault.

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11-20-2012, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MM425 View Post
All hyperbole aside, I still think this lockout could have major long-term implications if it isn't resolved soon.

If the season is lost, I expect there to be a lot more scorched earth than there was following 04/05. How can you not, really.
And I think a likely long term implication is the death of several weak market teams. Isn't that what the two sides are trying to prevent ?

The longer it goes the more likely weak teams get moved and once the traditional markets are saturated, then the ones that didnt jump early will never jump at all.

As other people have said, I want hockey back as bad as the next guy but it it means sitting out a year ( or two) to implement a system which ensure a lockout at the end of each and every cba, then I think that's bitter medicine worth taking.

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11-20-2012, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
“When you are a Superfan,” Richelieu says, “you are so involved, because it is a love-hate relationship. You love it. You love it to the extreme. You will support it. You will buy, consume, spend. But when you are upset you hate it. What we do not know is how long this kind of ‘upset’ situation will last for the Superfans and how it will translate, because definitely the trust has been broken. ..."
I think it's probably safe to say that all the regular posters on HF are Superfans. The battles that rage here are not Casual vs Super fans, but the latter on latter.

Personally, I'm in the "hate the NHL" mode because I've had something I enjoy taken away, and I don't believe the league has built a case that convinces me it was necessary THIS TIME. I'm not about to be happy that this is going on.



Quote:
The Laval professor stands among an increasing number who are saying that 2012 is vastly different from 2004-05. “The psychological mindset of the fans has changed,” he says, “because for two CBAs in a row they have been told that they can be taken hostage. And what happens in the next seven years? The same circus will start again? Fans will say, ‘Why should I commit? Why should I get so involved in a sport, in a team, in players that will treat me with such a lack of respect? Why should I do that?”
There was a psychological shift for me. During the last lockout, I think I was just disappointed, and the disappointment was greatly exacerbated by the length of the lockout, losing an entire season.

When there was a realization that there would be ANOTHER lockout, I felt like seven years was just too soon. I remember too much of the last lockout (at an emotional level). There is a feeling of greater disappointment, but more like betrayal than disappointment alone at losing something I enjoy.

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11-20-2012, 04:45 PM
  #25
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Reading that hurt my eyes and reminded me of why I quit going to that University back in 2008.

This prof should stop for a second and consider that, even if he does not like it, there is a business side to the NHL. If you chose to be angry because you ignore it and don't want to hear about it, then it's your own damn fault.

"Marketing" is a psychology-based field that attempts to influence buyer behavior and purchasing decisions.

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