Monday, January 29, 2007

Is Enough Enough?

I've rarely posted non-Canucks-related articles this season, but this one is too good to pass up:
Anyone who doesn't think hockey can work in America is forgetting this era. All of a sudden, hockey was challenging, if not beating, the NBA in a number of major U.S. markets – including New York. It's almost impossible to imagine now, but it happened.

As the conspiracy theory goes, Stern sensed the potential trouble in 1993 while the NHL was in search of a new commissioner. So he looked around his own office for someone so incompetent that if they got the job, the NHL would be marginalized by their mismanagement and never again be a threat to the NBA.

Naturally, Stern recommended one of his assistants, Gary Bettman, for the job.
I have my own mixed thoughts on the job Gary Bettman has done since taking the commissioner's job. Basically, I think he's done - for the most part - a great job for the owners who make money and a horrible job for the fans who pay them. Practically guaranteeing the owners a profit is good on one hand; giving Canucks fans eight games against Minnesota in the regular season isn't. Opening up the game for Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin was good; making sure one-thirds of the league only see them once every three years isn't. There are other examples of course, but perhaps I'll post them in more detail another time.

For now, grab a beer or two and enjoy the rest of the article.

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 8:24 PM


At January 31, 2007 8:33 PM, Anonymous GZ Expat said...

I enjoyed this article and it did get me thinking about Be(u)ttman's reign over the league.

One thing that bothered me was the assumption that Bettman's entrance into the league was directly tied to the clutch and grab era. Say what you want about Bettman, but I don't think his arrival was directly tied to any of that. Larry Robinson's arrival in New Jersey had more to do with it...

The previous leadership of the NHL was corrupt to the core...look at the police blotter for the commissioner and a few of the owners back then, and you would see what was wrong with the league. Bettman has shored up the league in a business sense. Similar to any large corporation hiring a 'finance' guy to get their stock price going through sound fiscal management. Bettman has done that.

The problem is...Bettman doesn't have a clue about marketing the game. He is very cut off from the average fan. He talks about 'our fans are telling us'...who is? Who are you talking to? He is getting his information from polls that the league holds. You think he gets out of his office to go to a pub to shoot the shit with Rangers fans at the local pub? Or...maybe sitting in the stands with fans...going and buying a hot dog...and listening to people talk about hockey? Doubt it.

They need to double their marketing budget...get a real and proper advert/pr agency (such as Weiden & Kennedy, who do the ESPN and Nike commercials)...and then PAY ESPN to show their games on one of their channels.


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