With the days counting down until September 15th, Gary Bettman’s lockout date, fans have been getting anxious about losing a season. And rightfully so, after the cancelled season of 2004-05. The current situation has led some to call for a “boycott” of the NHL on that date. No buying merchandise, unfollowing the NHL’s twitter account, or buying game tickets.
Let’s say that a deal gets settled between September 15th and October 11th (opening night). If no games are missed, how will any “boycott” during that time make any sense? Most people don’t buy much merchandise before the season starts and season tickets (or partial game plans) have been sold by now. The season ticket holder boycotters don’t make sense either. They have three options. One, use their tickets. Two, sell them to someone else. Or three, let them go unused. The first two options defeat the purpose of a boycott and the third is not financially smart.
What about freebies? Are people going to turn them down because they’ll end up spending money for parking or concessions? Tickets might end up cheaper on sites like Stubhub if there are less people interested, but once games are in full swing, those tickets will get sold and used.
Unfollowing twitter profiles makes me laugh because the twitterverse only represents a small fraction of hockey fans. Honestly, are players and team accounts going to be upset if ten or twenty percent of people unfollow them?
In all reality, the only thing a “boycott” hurts is the smaller market teams. Hypothetically if ten percent of fans boycott, teams like the Flyers, Rangers, Blackhawks aren’t going to see a decrease in attendance. Teams like the Blue Jackets, Ducks, Islanders and Coyotes are going to see the biggest hit. And with at least one of those teams having some sort of franchise issue, a lockout and subsequent boycott will hurt these franchises. If a team is suffering, then the whole league is suffering, which is no good for anybody.
I agree that this whole situation sucks but it’s really out of our (the fans) hands. A small group won’t change that. If you plan to boycott and can do it, more power to you. Just know that your a lot of your fan peers won’t be.