Monday, October 17, 2005


Panthers, Coyotes, Zebras, Giraffes!

Tom Benjamin thinks the refs were starting to back off of obstruction calls this weekend, and has this very fair take:
Fans who do think the game should evolve to something new are entitled to their opinion and they can't be cheated of a fair trial. This has been part and parcel of the plan from the outset. Let's play it out and find out what kind of hockey fans really want. Prove Gary right or prove Gary wrong, but prove something for once and for all.

I didn't see all the examples he cites, but I don't doubt him. And in fairness, it is hard to tell on TV which infractions are ignored rather than unseen. But I am interested to see how this plays out over the next couple of weeks (and what the pundit consensus sees). For me, the least interesting aspect of the whole thing is whether "the NHL's reputation will be shot" if they back down from the original plan.

The NHL does not need to worry about its reputation, per se. It needs to worry about how to produce the most entertaining possible product to maximize the number of people who want to voluntarily exchange their money for NHL entertainment.

The Decima poll last week got a lot of attention; I'm unimpressed. It is what it is, but it's too disconnected from the actual decision process of the potential NHL consumer. All consumer polls are limited to a degree, since they don't require the respondent to put his money where his mouth is. This one was limited even moreso because of its general/theroretical nature.

If we really want to know how the new rules (particularly, the obstruction crackdown) are going down with fans, you need to do some exit polling at some NHL games, with specific questions, like:
  1. Would you say the refs tonight: (A) called too many penalties, (B) called too few penalties, (C) just right, (D) both A&B (inconsistent), or (E) don't know.
  2. Did you think the game tonight had: (A) too much physical play, (B) too little physical play, (C) just right, (D) inconsistent, (E) the wrong kind of physical play, or (F) don't know
  3. Does the way the game was officiated tonight make you: (A) more likely to attend another NHL game, (B) less likely, (C) no effect
If the answers to these questions, and the revealed preferences from actual NHL consumers (i.e. revenues), suggest that the obstruction crackdown is a failure, then I don't see why the league shouldn't feel free to abandon it.

The success of the NHL is a function of how many people are buying tickets, buying merchandise, and watching TV broadcasts. This is a set of voluntary transactions where, as an example, individuals determine on their own whether the pleasure (and other "value") derived from attending an NHL game is worth more to them than whatever else they could do with that 60 bucks and three hours.

There are all sorts of factors that affect these individuals' choices, and they are different for each individual. I will be so bold, though, as to suggest that "how much fun I have watching the game" is generally much more relevant than "my opinion on how 'The NHL' is managing the game".

All that said, I'm still pretty sympathetic to TB when he says, "Let's give this a fair test, if only to put the larger issue to bed." I would prefer to never again have to hear, "It would have worked, if they had just seen it through."


All we need is for Greg Millen to say -- "Thank you NHL for the wonderful hockey you have given us"

At least I think it was millen. Yuck.

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?