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Should NHL continue playing in Olympics?


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#1 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:47 AM

CBS Sports: NHL decision on 2018 may come in six months, World Cup soon

 

http://www.cbssports...-world-cup-soon

 

Let me start out by saying, I like hockey in the Olympics more than "regular hockey." While I don't usually make the Caps appointment TV, I do enjoy watching the games and even moreso in the playoffs. All that said, I don't think the NHL benefits from someone like me. It's good for "growing the game' in a way, but once this event is over I'm back to my regular habits. I think there's many people in a similar boat to myself. This is similar to the World Cup soccer as well. We wrap ourselves around the flag and a single game knockout tournament (after a preliminary round) like in March Madness is very appealing to casual and non-traditional fans.

 

I can't come up with a good analogy here, but the NHL is sending it's best and is seeing little in return. Sure, someone like TJ Oshie might drive up the St. Louis Blues ratings and more will want to buy his jersey. There's the risk of injury to it's players, which can happen at any time, but it be worse from an owners perspective if it was during this event. In addition it messes up the regular season. I'd imagine hard core fans, who care much more about their team winning the Cup aren't too happy about this either.

 

Personally, I have mixed feelings about pros being in the Olympics in the first place. I think what made 1980 so special was that they were a bunch of college kids going up against the big bad Russians in the height of the cold weather. Unlikely that type of event would ever be replicated anyways given the underdog status, world events, and home ice. I really wish I had been alive for that. At the same time, I do like seeing the best in the world compete.

 

While I enjoy seeing NHL players compete in the Olympics, I completely understand if the owners want to go in a different direction with a World Cup-like tournament which the NHL could actually reap the benefits of. It makes even less sense to compete in South Korea given the time difference (already applicable in Sochi) in addition to the fact, South Korea doesn't exactly have much of a hockey culture.


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#2 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:51 AM

Well if they want to maintain interest, they should send the players.

 

The NHL is clearly in 4th place in terms of the "Big 4" sports, and MLS may or may not end up passing them (probably not for the foreseeable future). 

 

If the NHL wants to grow its game and its interest here in the states I think it's a good idea to send its best players to the Olympics where they're on the world's biggest stage for two weeks.  I remember four years ago -- people were all over facebook, twitter, etc talking about the gold medal game -- including friends of mine who rarely show any interest in hockey.


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#3 You Play to Win the Game

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:53 AM

Social media was also abuzz Saturday morning... So many people who I've nver seen comment on hockey clamoring for Oshie jerseys. It was awesome.

 

Sure, some may never watch the NHL after the Olympics, but I bet some will, and again the youth are what matters the most... kids who are exposed to hockey during the Olympics are more likely to watch the NHL, and then become life long fans.



#4 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:09 AM

Well if they want to maintain interest, they should send the players.

 

The NHL is clearly in 4th place in terms of the "Big 4" sports, and MLS may or may not end up passing them (probably not for the foreseeable future). 

 

If the NHL wants to grow its game and its interest here in the states I think it's a good idea to send its best players to the Olympics where they're on the world's biggest stage for two weeks.  I remember four years ago -- people were all over facebook, twitter, etc talking about the gold medal game -- including friends of mine who rarely show any interest in hockey.

They've been sending players since 1998. Not sure how much the NHL has really gained during that period and if they have how much can be directly attributed to the Olympics. Has the NHL seen any noticeable bounce from the 2010 Olympics? They had quite possibly the most memorable hockey game since 1980. I don't think they have much to worry much about the MLS in the near future, I saw somewhere the NHL had six times the amount of revenue the MLS did.

 

It's great that the games are interesting, but from the NHL standpoint, they see little monetary benefit here. And if they were to stage a World Cup, they could actually benefit.

 

And with regards to your friends who weren't too interested in hockey showing in interest, did they get into the NHL after the Olympics? I think patriotism is a bigger appeal than people want to give credit for.


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#5 You Play to Win the Game

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:10 AM

They've been sending players since 1998. Not sure how much the NHL has really gained during that period and if they have how much can be directly attributed to the Olympics. Has the NHL seen any noticeable bounce from the 2010 Olympics? They had quite possibly the most memorable hockey game since 1980. I don't think they have much to worry much about the MLS in the near future, I saw somewhere the NHL had six times the amount of revenue the MLS did.

 

It's great that the games are interesting, but from the NHL standpoint, they see little monetary benefit here. And if they were to stage a World Cup, they could actually benefit.

 

And with regards to your friends who weren't too interested in hockey showing in interest, did they get into the NHL after the Olympics? I think patriotism is a bigger appeal than people want to give credit for.

 

It's also hard to truly guage what the NHL would have gained from that given how horribly run they've been with the two lockout's during that time frame. That adds a whole lot of "noise" to the equation that makes this type of intepretation pretty impossible.



#6 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:15 AM

Social media was also abuzz Saturday morning... So many people who I've nver seen comment on hockey clamoring for Oshie jerseys. It was awesome.

 

Sure, some may never watch the NHL after the Olympics, but I bet some will, and again the youth are what matters the most... kids who are exposed to hockey during the Olympics are more likely to watch the NHL, and then become life long fans.

Yeah I think you've brought that up before and that's tough to measure since it takes years to find that out. However, we've already had Nagano (when the US team trashed their hotel) and more importantly, Salt Lake City, which were 16 and 12 years ago respectively. I tried looking around to see if any studies were done and really couldn't find anything. I'm sure the NHL has done their own research however and if it was more favorable, they would be stronger about continuing.


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#7 You Play to Win the Game

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:17 AM

Yeah I think you've brought that up before and that's tough to measure since it takes years to find that out. However, we've already had Nagano (when the US team trashed their hotel) and more importantly, Salt Lake City, which were 16 and 12 years ago respectively. I tried looking around to see if any studies were done and really couldn't find anything. I'm sure the NHL has done their own research however and if it was more favorable, they would be stronger about continuing.

 

I just know that there have been studies about basic youth psychology - and it's all about the experience/memories for youth. For instance, it's VERY rare that an adult becomes a baseball fan, unless they were brought up watching it or going to games.. same is true for hockey... church... lots of things. But yeah, it's hard to quantify exactly, and I highly doubt the NHL has ben able to do some scientific study on it. Just because you can't quantify it though, doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it.



#8 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:27 AM

I just know that there have been studies about basic youth psychology - and it's all about the experience/memories for youth. For instance, it's VERY rare that an adult becomes a baseball fan, unless they were brought up watching it or going to games.. same is true for hockey... church... lots of things. But yeah, it's hard to quantify exactly, and I highly doubt the NHL has ben able to do some scientific study on it. Just because you can't quantify it though, doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it.

What would be great is if the NHL polled it's fans in their late teens/early 20s and found out how they got interested in hockey, specifically asked them about the Olympics. They might have already done something along those lines.

 

I'm sure some fans have been gained from this, but I do question how many have become even somewhat interested in the NHL as a result.


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#9 You Play to Win the Game

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:29 AM

What would be great is if the NHL polled it's fans in their late teens/early 20s and found out how they got interested in hockey, specifically asked them about the Olympics. They might have already done something along those lines.

 

I'm sure some fans have been gained from this, but I do question how many have become even somewhat interested in the NHL as a result.

 

Yeah... I guess there's just too much noise, IMO, between the two lock-outs and all the rule changes, failed expansion projects, etc. The league just hasn't been very well run. And now they suffer from an issue of exposure - getting back in bed with ESPN would be good for them.


Anyway, my point is that I'm sure there are plenty of adults who grew up watching hockey and loving it, but fell out of love with it when the second lock out happened, or maybe even before.

 

For me personally, I watch probably about 70'ish games a year and go to a few and I grew up watching the Caps.



#10 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:35 AM

Yeah... I guess there's just too much noise, IMO, between the two lock-outs and all the rule changes, failed expansion projects, etc. The league just hasn't been very well run. And now they suffer from an issue of exposure - getting back in bed with ESPN would be good for them.


Anyway, my point is that I'm sure there are plenty of adults who grew up watching hockey and loving it, but fell out of love with it when the second lock out happened, or maybe even before.

 

For me personally, I watch probably about 70'ish games a year and go to a few and I grew up watching the Caps.

It's actually good to see that you're in favor of the NHL players in the Olympics because I know some fans would prefer they just play on and not interrupt the NHL season for this. Last thing in the world you want to do in any business is alienate your base IMO even at the expense of getting new customers -- there's a fine line in this regard.

 

One thing I like about hockey fans is they seem to be more passionate about their sport than just about any sports group of fans.


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#11 glenn__davis

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 11:54 AM

I really enjoy Olympic hockey and watch zero minutes of NHL hockey per year.

 

I do think Olympic hockey is great for the sport in general.  My 6-year old was watching the US-Russia game and loving it. 

 

But I guess the question is, does it really matter that the NHL guys are in there?  Would it still be just as good without them?  The level of play might not be as good, but would someone who's not really a hardcore hockey fan even be able to tell the difference?



#12 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:06 PM

I really enjoy Olympic hockey and watch zero minutes of NHL hockey per year.

 

I do think Olympic hockey is great for the sport in general.  My 6-year old was watching the US-Russia game and loving it. 

 

But I guess the question is, does it really matter that the NHL guys are in there?  Would it still be just as good without them?  The level of play might not be as good, but would someone who's not really a hardcore hockey fan even be able to tell the difference?

Not trying to pick on you here, but you're the exact fan I imagine the NHL hates. Someone who will watch their players but won't watch the NHL product itself. Nothing wrong with that by the way.

 

You think your kid will get more into the NHL as a result? (if s/he wasn't already)

 

I think it does matter for a few reasons. A) You want to give the US/Canada the best chance to win from an NHL perspective. B ) You want to see the best players playing.

 

Other than 1980 in the past 40 or so years, at least in this country, I don't think it was as good without them.


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#13 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:07 PM

Accidentally put this in the wrong thread, so I'll ask again here:

 

Here's some questions I have -- how many have watched games outside the ones involving the US? (I haven't) And if the US doesn't advance, how likely are you going to wake up at 7 AM on Sunday to watch the gold medal game? (I doubt I will)


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#14 DJ MC

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:16 PM

Not trying to pick on you here, but you're the exact fan I imagine the NHL hates. Someone who will watch their players but won't watch the NHL product itself. Nothing wrong with that by the way.

 

It's like people who can enjoy watching the World Cup and various USMNT games, but not really care about MLS or the different international soccer leagues. There's something naturally interesting in watching the best players competing for their country.


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#15 DJ MC

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:18 PM

Accidentally put this in the wrong thread, so I'll ask again here:

 

Here's some questions I have -- how many have watched games outside the ones involving the US? (I haven't) And if the US doesn't advance, how likely are you going to wake up at 7 AM on Sunday to watch the gold medal game? (I doubt I will)

 

I've watched a bit. But I haven't watched much of the US either.

 

I'd be willing to wake up at 7 for the gold-medal game no matter who plays, at least more than I'm normally willing to wake up at 7 (which is not much  :P).


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#16 Oriole85

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:22 PM

It's like people who can enjoy watching the World Cup and various USMNT games, but not really care about MLS or the different international soccer leagues. There's something naturally interesting in watching the best players competing for their country.

I'll watch the US soccer teams in the World Cup and the Olympics, but not really any other soccer.


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#17 mweb08

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:35 PM


Yeah I think you've brought that up before and that's tough to measure since it takes years to find that out. However, we've already had Nagano (when the US team trashed their hotel) and more importantly, Salt Lake City, which were 16 and 12 years ago respectively. I tried looking around to see if any studies were done and really couldn't find anything. I'm sure the NHL has done their own research however and if it was more favorable, they would be stronger about continuing.


I just know that there have been studies about basic youth psychology - and it's all about the experience/memories for youth. For instance, it's VERY rare that an adult becomes a baseball fan, unless they were brought up watching it or going to games.. same is true for hockey... church... lots of things. But yeah, it's hard to quantify exactly, and I highly doubt the NHL has ben able to do some scientific study on it. Just because you can't quantify it though, doesn't mean they shouldn't consider it.
I wasn't taken to one basketball game as a kid and my dad wasn't much of a fan. ;)

#18 You Play to Win the Game

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:36 PM

I wasn't taken to one basketball game as a kid and my dad wasn't much of a fan. ;)

 

Our first one-off. Congrats! ;)



#19 glenn__davis

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:56 PM

Hmm - trying to quote oriole85's post from above and it's not letting me for some reason.

 

Anyway, you asked if my kid would be more inclined to watch some NHL as a result of the Olympics, and I feel fairly confident saying that he won't be.  He loves the Olympics and rooting for team USA.  I think that's easy to him to identify with.  But he hasn't really gotten into any other sports at all yet, mostly because I don't think he really gets why we would "root" for someone at this point.  But rooting for your country, that's a pretty easy sell.



#20 BSLMikeLowe

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 01:54 PM

It's also hard to truly guage what the NHL would have gained from that given how horribly run they've been with the two lockout's during that time frame. That adds a whole lot of "noise" to the equation that makes this type of intepretation pretty impossible.

 

Agree. I just don't think you can measure what benefit the Olympics have had (if any) because of how the league has shot itself in the foot with the 1.5 seasons lost to labor stoppages, and franchises still allocated to less than optimal markets. It will always be somewhat of a niche sport in the US, and won't equal or overtake the NFL/NBA/MLB in our lifetimes....but they can do better, and I think the Olympics can be a small but important part of that.






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