The National Hockey League lockout continues. The NHL and its players’ association returned to contract talks on the last day of 2012 hoping to save some part of the season in 2013. The lock-out is putting pro hockey in a dangerous place with its corporate customers.
"The NHL is letting their proverbial girlfriend or wife go out and date other sports.," says Tony Knopp, co-founder and CEO of Calabasas-based Spotlight Ticket Management. Spotlight helps companies purchase and manage their tickets to pro sports events. Knopp says those companies aren’t buying any fewer tickets right now.
"It’s not like they’ve said, 'Twenty percent of our purchases have been the NHL, and since the NHL is not here this year, we’re down 20 percent,'" Knopp explains. " They’re actually NOT down 20 percent, which means they’re spending the money someplace else." That may be good for other sports, but it isn't good for the NHL. After an extended lock-out, Knopp says, getting those corporate ticket buyers back at the same price will be tough in a lot of markets where pro hockey isn't as established as basketball, football, and baseball.
If not for the lock-out, the Anaheim Ducks and Stanley Cup champion LA Kings would face-off Wednesday night at the Honda Center. Each team has missed more than 35 games so far this season. While they’ve been away, it’s a good bet their fans have been out dating other sports.