August 08, 2005

NHL and NHLPA Partners Again

After a 16 month labor dispute that has greatly damaged the sport of hockey the players and employers, through their associations have embarked on a joint marketing strategy to win back fans:

From Wall Street Journal - Breaking Ice Humbled NHL Woos Back Fans (subscription required)

For the first time, the National Hockey League and the NHL Players' Association have entered into a joint marketing partnership in an attempt to woo fans. The two entities, which usually operate separately, will craft a "nontraditional, very aggressive" ad campaign, an NHL spokeswoman says, noting that details are still being finalized.

Indeed, without a new playbook, hockey faces a dim future. TV audiences for hockey games had been shrinking in the U.S. well before the lockout, according to Nielsen Media Research. Even in Canada, where the NHL first formed in 1917, the lockout managed to help erode a previously solid fan base. Since 2003, the number of Canadian sports fans older than 12 identifying hockey as one of their favorite sports has dropped to 55% from 68%, according to Solutions Research Group Consultants Inc.

In addition to the discounts and freebies, NHL "teams must take on an unprecedented service mentality" by retraining customer-service employees to better handle disgruntled fans, says Robert Cornilles, president of Game Face Inc. The Tualatin, Ore., consultancy is working with six NHL teams to recruit new employees for in-house marketing efforts. It is also coaching some of its players on how to win back corporations that used to sponsor teams.

For background on the NHL dispute see the book Red Line, Blue Line, Bottom Line

August 8, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 07, 2005

NHL Players Union Capitulation?

Kevin Greenstein from InsideHockey.Com is critical of the National Hockey League Players Association in an article in today's NY Sun.

In Brainwashed Players Appear Ready to Capitulate (subscritpion required) Greenstein quotes LA Kings forward Sean Avery as claiming him and his fellow players were 'brainwashed' and that, "We burned a year for nothing, We didn't win anything, We didn't prove anything, We didn't get anything. We wasted an entire season."

The article reports that the proposed collective bargaining agreement may cut some players salary by 40%.

The Players Association is denying reports however that a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

July 7, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 05, 2005

NHL Complains to NLRB

The NHL has filed a complaint wth the NLRB over allegations that the Players Association threatened to decertify agents for representing replacement players. In an article in today's NY Times (NHL's Complaints Givent to NLRB Atorneys) it is mentioned that replacement players were considered:

The NHL has the option of using replacement players next season if the lockout continues. The league has backed off that threat, saying next season won't begin on time if a deal isn't reached with the players.

Also in the NY Times, sources are optimistic that a new collective bargaining agreement will be in place soon.  See - Sides Move Closer to Firming Up Collective Bargaining Agreement

July 5, 2005 in Labor Disputes, Sports, Sports & Labor Relations | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack