The NHL and the NHLPA continue to squabble over a new collective bargaining agreement, and fans are becoming restless. One study finds the league will have some major public relations issues on their hands once the game does return, according to The Globe and Mail.
In fact, public opinion of the league could be worse than it was for BP after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
From a branding point of view, NHL hockey and its multiple corporate sponsors are facing a huge hurdle, Kincaid says. The passionate fans are angry, the neutral fans turned off and bored, the mostly non-fans - the people hockey needs to attract if it hopes to grow - disgusted.
The company that ran the study, Level5, claims to base their findings on a combination of in-depth interviews and 1,066 surveys. They have found that the majority of fans fall between apathy and anger toward the league, and getting them back will be a difficult task.
Level5's most dire findings had previously come when evaluating the attitude towards BP following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, but the NHL's outlook is even more grim. Many have given up on the league entirely, and the company says the NHL will likely never get them back.
The fans that are still waiting for hockey to return are hoping that findings like this will kickstart the negotiations.