During a recent episode of the popular podcast ‘Marek vs. Wyshynski’, the co-hosts of the show, Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynski, mused over the concept of protesting the looming lockout in the NHL. All in all, they nailed it on the head bantering about how fans can be heard while offering up listener recommendations.
The utmost loser in the event that another lockout occurs is the fans, those people who pay the costs to keep their sport on the ice. The NHL wants to keep costs down while attempting to grow the game and increase revenues. The Players want to play, but they also don’t want to lie down and give up what little they took away from the last League-initiated lockout.
“The only thing that’s keeping us from having a cancelled season, is the fact that the players are willing to negotiate on the points that the NHL has provided,” noted Wyshynski on the aforementioned recording.
Ultimately, the only thing that a fan wants is to be a fan. Of course everyone wants their team to win the Stanley Cup every year, but that takes a close second to merely having the game played this season. And real fans will always come back, buying tickets and memorabilia, after the dust has settled.
The trouble is, most fans feel helpless when considering the situation between the owners and the skaters. They feel like the have no way to vocalize their disappointment, that they aren’t a factor in the situation.
Fans need to know that they aren’t helpless. In fact, they are the largest voice in this entire debacle. There is no growth without fans buying and marketers selling to fans buying. This is where supporters can hit those in charge the most.
In the new era of social media, tweeting seems to be just as good as making a big stink, right?Tweeting a hashtag proves unity for the cause online, but it does nothing more than stir the pot of inaction on a place rife with sedentary activists, the internet.
How then do you lockout the lockout?
First, turn your back on those who have quickly forgotten you.
Don’t wear team gear. When you are out in public wearing a Colorado Avalanche jersey, hat, sweatpants, socks, and Bernie underwear you are sending the message that you support your franchise regardless. You bought this merchandise to show your loyalty and you gave your money to the club icing its own players so you could own it. You aren’t solidly showing your solidarity for the players.
Instead change up your wardrobe. When a deal is settled and practices, camps, and games are back on, then you can put on your favorite Avs pajamas and run about the house.
Second, stop buying tickets.
Obviously this is hard. You are a real fan. You want your team to stay in town and you plan on being in the crowd, cheering them on and energizing them for every battle that you can afford to attend. You probably even renewed your tickets before realizing that this trouble had been brewing for months before the previous season ended.
You don’t have to shun the game when a deal has been reached and the golden rays of sunlight from the glorious hockey gods return from the sky to illuminate the forsaken wasteland that used to be Pepsi Center or any other beloved arena. By all means, spend to your hearts content.
But know that you are doing harm to the sport by pre-ordering seat packages, season tickets, NHL Game Center, and preseason trips to Kansas City and Las Vegas. With spending like this, owners and accountants know that, no matter how the players are treated, money will be spent. If team’s around the League begin to feel insecure about the financial outlook from the remaining season, more give will be allowed during negotiations.
This concept most certainly applies to the Winter Classic, which is a cash cow for all parties involved, including the University of Michigan. Not spending to attend is sending a pretty big message, but it only works if everyone does it.
If you already bought tickets, ask for a refund. With deposits in hand and cash in the bank, very few businesses are thrilled about having to return product that has already been sold or promised.
Third, and most importantly, reach out to sponsors.
There is a lot of advertising money thrown at the NHL each season and, as the sport increases in popularity, even more will be spent marketing to viewers and spectators. From Peggy and the Discover Card commercials to GEICO to Coors Light and even Frontier Airlines, Key Bank, Waste Management, Copper Mountain and the Denver Post, there are companies spending money for you to see and become comfortable with their brands and products. They want you to spend your hard earned paychecks at their establishments and they pay large sums of coin for you to know this.
Call Bridgestone – sponsor of the Winter Classic – and tell them you were going to buy their tires but you’ve changed your mind because they are going to let the NHL lockout. Call NBC, who will pay the League hefty broadcasting fees despite no games being played, and tell them that you refuse to watch their shows unless they pressure their partner into getting a deal done.
Call Easton, Reebok, Nike, Warrior, Bauer, etc. and let them know that you’re not going to purchase their products until the league reunites with its players. If they don’t want to listen, tell them who you are going buy from: their competitors.
If you don’t think that they have sway then just give up now. We’ll see you in February when football is over and you need a new bandwagon to jump on. The rest of you better grab your phones and keyboards and start talking to those who have the power.
Tell your local teams that you are going to buy season tickets to the minor league club instead, since they are actually going to be playing.
“For every Gatorade, there is a Powerade,” Wyshynski said on his podcast.
Let voices with more emphasis do your speaking for you.
Finally, make your presence known.
Don’t just tweet about it, go do it. There are many like minded fans looking for ways to be recognized. Take the folks at NoHockeyLockout.com who are organizing live protests at multiple locations. The hockey community is one giant family and, together, can serve as a rallying cry for the sport that they love.
While there isn’t much that one person can do on their own, when a community decides to state their opinion en masse, they are sure to be heard.
Fans can save the NHL, but they have to take action. Together.
What do you think? What are you doing to lockout the lockout?