Wednesday, October 19, 2011

NHL to NBA: "Thanks!"

Bill Simmons has a great point in that the NHL is going to end up reaping the rewards of the NBA Lockout:

Bill Simmons: Behind the Pipes

This is a really interesting thought. The NHL is certainly going to steal fans away from the NBA during their lockout, and for various reasons. One, the NHL had their own season cancelled in 2004-2005. Although that lockout did great to reshape the NHL game for the future, it also alienated fans and hurt the NHL's image, something they undoubtedly still remember sufficient enough to be on the other side of things during the NBA's lockout. Second, as Simmons mentioned, hockey is simply awesome. Anyone who watches it in person (it's fun as hell to go to Hawks games, for instance), watches it on TV (for my money, it's the best sport to watch in HD), plays it casually (doesn't everyone know friends that still play in adult leagues?), has watched the Stanley Cup Playoffs (hands down the best playoffs in sports), or even plays NHL 12 on Playstation (easily the best sports game out there. EASILY.) knows that hockey is underrated by the general sports-following population (unless, of course, you're from Canada).

While it is almost a given that people will turn to the NHL as the NBA Lockout continues to flounder, think of how this is going to hurt small market NBA teams. Think of teams like the Sacramento Kings (near the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks), Minnesota Timberwolves (near the Minnesota Wild and the newly relocated Winnipeg Jets), and Indiana Pacers (near the Hawks and Nashville Predators) who could potentially lose fans. We're not talking about the die hard fans; those people will always follow their respective NBA teams. We're talking about the swing fans, those who constitute a huge chunk of the NBA's revenue but only care when their team is relevant or haven't been alienated by a stupid lockout. Big market teams like the Bulls will never have issues; this city is so full of sports fanatics that the Hawks and Bulls will always be enormously successful.

For everyone, however, let's hope that David Stern and Billy Hunter are paying attention. The sports world wants both the NBA to come back and the NHL to become much more successful. There's more than enough room in sports for both.


Dubes said...

You looooooooooove using parentheses don't you Dave? You going to write about Gumbel calling Stern a plantation owner?

Dave Johnsen said...

Yes I do love parentheses (they are awesome). I'm so fed up with the NBA lockout that I might not even mention it until it's over.