Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/09/13 at 08:17 AM ET
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo,
This might be hard to hear, but here goes: Gary Bettman was right. The commissioner of the National Hockey League knew what he was doing as he weighed the risks and rewards during the lockout. In reality, the risks were never that great. The rewards already are.
Bettman made a calculated business decision. He sacrificed a few months and ticked off a lot of people, but he secured a better labor agreement for the owners and could count on the fans and sponsors to come back, based on history and cold, hard data.
By salvaging a 48-game regular season, Bettman set up the NHL to rebound immediately. The league returned for the time of year when it always draws the most attention and generates the most revenue, anyway, and it amped up the competition with a compressed, every-game-matters sprint to the playoffs.
For all the loud protests and dire predictions, the fans haven’t seemed angry or apathetic. They have seemed eager and engaged. Just 2-1/2 months after the NHL got back to business, business is booming, and the league is looking at ways to goose growth to record levels in the future.
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