NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sunday morning at Midnight, the National Hockey League (NHL) locked out its players.
As the NHLPA noted in this excellent YouTube video, the players were willing to hit the ice without a deal and keep bargaining.
Make no mistake about it. This is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's lockout. And it's the lockout of major market owners who refuse to share record revenues equitably.I'm furious that this has happened. NHL players have conceded more than professionals in any other sport. If Bettman did his job effectively, this issue, which we saw coming like the fiscal cliff, would have been dealt with over the last year or two. As down as I am, I managed to get excited for a second. At least I could write one of those articles I have seen come out during labor disputes in other sports -- 5 Stocks That the NBA Lockout Could Hurt. Then, I woke up. It's hockey. "Nobody" cares. The NHL does not move markets like the NBA or even the flash in the pan that was Linsanity Of course, millions actually do care, but when you broaden the context, you get the responses I received on Twitter over the weekend. That one, from a former colleague of mine, Denver sportscaster Chad Andrus, tends toward the most popular. It's football season and nobody cares about hockey. Another guy on Twitter welcomed me to the NBA season. As much as I want to argue with these folks, I know they're right. Diehard hockey fans will come back stronger than ever. Work stoppages --whether over the summer or labor-related -- create pent-up demand for the core fan. But you're not going to get the casual sports fan who doesn't understand the culture or rules of hockey yet, let alone why players and owners can't come to an agreement. A lockout kills momentum with respect to that bunch. So, in a sport that "nobody" cares about, will any publicly traded companies suffer ill effects? The lockout could cause some problems for Canada's Rogers Communications (RCI) and BCE (BCE). Not only did they recently close on the joint purchase of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but no hockey will hit media revenue, which will deal a blow to that potentially prolific segment.
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