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NHL: Is the Lockout Damaging Its Value to AdLand?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Quick, name a major NHL sponsor.

We had a hard time naming one too.

With all bias aside, the NHL does not get the attention that the NFL, NBA, and even MLB gets. The money in hockey simply doesn't compare. Yes, even the money in Major League Soccer is growing at a faster rate than in hockey. But everyone has that small group of friends who are hockey die-hards. 

And the NHL is dying, hard.

Brian Stubits from CBS Sports wrote recently about the NHL lockout, which has now been extended through Dec. 14th, and brought up the little-talked-about business side. How are sponsors — AdLand — dealing with the uncertainty of the NHL? This is the third lockout in 18 years, so how can the NHL demand dollars from advertisers when it is unsure if there is going to be a season?

Would not advertisers be weary to advertise on a TV show that is repeatedly cancelled and delayed? Why shouldn't the same logic be applied here?

The business powers-that-be in the NHL need to provide a good answer. In the article, Stubits related a potential pitch from another source covering the story, saying that the NHL could lure potential sponsors by "promising a new game." 

We all know that kind of talk. And many of us won't budge.

The longer the lockout continues, the more talk we hear from friends and colleagues totally giving up on the NHL. The more eyeballs the NHL continues to lose, the more difficult it will be for the league to get its regular sponsors, let alone new ones.

We would say that this NHL issue is like a train wreck. But with train wrecks, it is not so easy to look away.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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