Brand NHL. Is it really damaged?

I will preface this post by saying that my perspective is a Canadian one and so, I’m not considering our friends to the south.

In less than a week, the NHL will start it’s regular season. There are a ton of opinions as to the health of the brand. How much damage have they done? Should advertisers come back? What will TV ratings be like? Will fans come back? Fans are upset and some have even taken to Facebook to rally other disenfranchised fans to boycott the NHL.  I’m here to say that it will come back stronger and with more fan interest than ever. It’s engrained in our culture. Saturday nights in the winter just aren’t the same without Hockey Night in Canada droning on our screens. If anything, the labour dispute will prove to be a weird, mutated version of a teaser campaign. Sports media consumers have tuned in intently listening to the most boring, obsessive coverage of legal nonsense possible. And now hockey is back and all will be forgiven once the puck drops. That, to me, is a sign of a pretty healthy brand.

Photograph: Fred Thornhill/Reuters