ON N.J. SPORTS MARKETING
Just to be clear, there is little good that can come from an extended lockout for the NHL for those involved in the business of hockey.
It comes at a time when the NHL and “brand hockey” has perhaps never been stronger in the eyes of a global public who have re-engaged or discovered the sport for the first time. While the clutter of the early fall may keep the lockout out of the minds of many casual sports fans in the United States for a few weeks, the dark clouds and loss of equity that can follow for both sides, especially with the NBA now back stronger than ever, the NFL going strong again and even college sports gaining equity, can be devastating for all involved in the game going forward.
So if the lockout continues and games are lost, is there any entity that could benefit in any way?
Perhaps it could be in the minors. Unlike the two most recent lockouts, the NBA and the NFL, minor league hockey is a wide scale fallback for some looking for a hockey fix. While the NBA did have the D-League, the minor tiered minor league hockey system across North America is still pretty vast, with outposts from small markets in the south to emerging cities and even major cities like Chicago. It has many of the characteristics of minor league baseball as affordable fun and the affiliated leagues do hold the future stars of the game in their midst, all of which will be playing regardless of the NHL lockout. Their games can provide filler for regional networks, and their marketing partners could expand a bit wider if the NHL stays silent. Their are also a slew of very low minor league groups, some of which in places like Brooklyn for example, that could also get a little word of mouth bump for people needing a hockey fix.