Frank Luntz has issued a public statement in response to the leak of a NHL focus group that has set the hockey world on fire. Earlier on Monday Deadspin reported on a leak from a Luntz Global focus group that was spearheaded by the NHL and the owners, to better determine how to direct the league's public relations strategies moving forward.
The leak exposed what was an obvious attempt by the league to determine what the best method would be to sway public opinion away from the players and back on the side of the owners, by figuring out exactly what fans would like to hear from the league.
The NHL and NHLPA are currently locked in a stalemate in the current CBA negotations, with fan and media opinion firmly on the side of the players. Many see the NHL as unnecessarily proceeding with the lockout at a time when revenues were reported to be at an all-time high. The NHL, per the focus group, is apparently gearing up for an attempt to pull that opinion back onto the league's side by trying to paint the union, and not the players, as the reason the lockout continues.
Here is the statement from Frank Luntz, released via his Twitter feed:
Material from a focus group I conducted was made public earlier today in an attempt to discredit efforts by the NHL to reach an agreement with the players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The research was no different from what I and others in my field have done for sports steams, sports leagues, and players' unions for many, many years.
The objective: to understand exactly what fans think and precisely what they want. In this case, the fans were very clear: they want the teams and the union to reach an agreement quickly so that they can get the hockey they want and deserve.
The NHL and NHLPA are set to resume negotiations on Tuesday in Toronto, although it is not expected that core economic issues will be discussed.