Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/30/12 at 07:21 PM ET
from Wayne Scanlan of the Ottawa Citizen,
Most hockey insiders believe the league won’t wait as long as it did in 2004-2005, when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman declared on Feb. 16, 2005, that the plug was being pulled. More likely, the season would be canned this time in January, an arbitrary deadline that is fast approaching, after the latest effort, mediation, got nowhere this week.
Some inside the game have to question whether it’s worth trying to stage a makeshift, shortened season. It would be predicated on selling tickets and attracting viewers, when hard core fans are roiling mad and casual fans have already tuned out the season. If you were an NHL sponsor, would you invest in a slightly salvaged season?
Norm O’Reilly, an associate professor who teaches sports business, management and marketing at the University of Ottawa, believes the NHL is fast approaching the point of no return, if it isn’t there already.
“The longer this goes, the NHL is dealing with a much smaller pot of money to deal out,” O’Reilly said via Skype from Australia, where he is attending a sports conference.
“Are the players all going to want to come back for such a short season, are the owners willing to start it all up for that small a return? It gets much less attractive as the season gets smaller,” O’Reilly says.
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