it's Just Business, Right?
We as NHL fans can protest. We can sign petitions. We can yell and scream and Tweet. The NHL may hear us but they won't listen. The owners saw the fans return after the last lockout and they feel confident we will again. As far as the league representatives go - they believe they are sitting on a winning hand and only have to out wait the NHLPA to get what they want. I believe the players have come to the table more prepared for compromise but have only been met with the crushing hand of the NHL brass. So how can the fans make a difference? We have to hit the owners where it could hurts.
We've been treated to the saying, "it's business" in regards to the labor relations and lockout. Us fans are a passionate bunch and we see the game differently. To us it has been about connecting with friends, recapturing the joy of youth, the thrill of competition and simply watching something beautiful. Maybe that is our problem and maybe we need to think a little more business like.
The NHL gets money from sponsors - corporations that pay a great deal of cash to attach their brand to the NHL name. Maybe the league doesn't think we have much power to impact the negotiations as they stand -- but we have all the power in the world to affect hockey's sponsors and partners. As fans and as consumers we can choose to boycott any company the NHL has a relationship with.
The Winter Classic has become the headline in-season event for the NHL. Honestly I love it. I was hooked watching the first snow-globe like game in Buffalo and I think it is a wonderful centerpiece to the marketing efforts of the league. The Winter Classic in 2013 (and prior years) is sponsored by Bridgestone. It is due to the NHL's position offering no real solutions to the NHLPA and their relationship with this company that I will be launching a full boycott of Bridgestone once the lockout begins. I call upon all NHL fans to boycott all products by this corporation and instead to purchase items from their competitors (as you may have seen, I am already pushing Goodyear). In addition, I ask each of you to write Corporate Bridgestone and voice your displeasure of the NHL and Bridgestone's relationship with the league. Their address is as follows:
Bridgestone Americas Inc
535 Marriott Drive
PO Box 140990
Nashville TN, 37214-0990 USA
They can also be reached at: 615-937-1000
We the fans are the engine behind this enterprise and we have the ability to force this realization upon the league via their business partners. The NHL can continue its waiting game but it will come at the expense of tarnishing their own brand in the eyes of their corporate patrons. This may seem like a hard line to take...but after all, it's just business.