Sooner or later the powers to be have to wake up and publicly admit the NHL has a big problem in the U.S. gaining a fan base to compete with the NFL,MLB and even the NBA and NASCAR. You can't fix a problem you wont admit you have.
When poker shows on ESPN where out performing live primetime NHL broadcast
someone should have took notice and said "Toronto we have a problem"! The N.H.L. has got to ask the question, what are we doing wrong in the U.S. and can we fix it.
I think a huge part of the problem is just because it works in Canada by no means it will do the same in the States. Hockey WORKS in Canada, all hockey, peewee's to the big League's. If Canada had the population of the United States they would not need any U.S. cities to maintain a very profitable NHL. There has to be a stand alone model for the U.S. to compete with the crazed NFL fan base and all NFL,MLB all of the time tv coverage. And tv is the key! Without a tv revenue sharing package that keeps all teams able to meet their bottom line projections this league will always struggle.
The idea that fighting in hockey turns off U.S. tv viewers and fans is completely nuts! I wonder if League management knows that MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) draws the second highest tv sports rating in the U.S. only behind the NFL.
Has anyone ever been at a game or someones home an seen anyone leave when a fight broke out during a heated hockey match? NO! You have to know your audience, which seems to be a problem for Bettman.
Do I have all the answers,not even close, but I HOPE someone smarter than me and the guy's running things now can figure it out soon. Hockey is the greatest sport in the world, and many U.S.fans enjoy the game every year. But until the league can find away to reach the American masses the NHL will struggle.
The NHL has made a mistake. It expanded into southern markets where winter is none existent. Hockey is a cold-weather sport and only those who are hardy enough to live in the salubrious North can appreciated the game. Move the teams from Miami, Dallas, Tampa Bay, Charlotte ( I mean, really), Phoenix. LA, Anaheim and Nashville to Kansas City, Winnipeg, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Fort Collins, Portland, Los Vegas and Seattle then watch the attendance mushroom.