Die-hard hockey fans probably didn't notice. It's dry enough diving into the details of labor negotiations in the sport you love, let alone one you don't follow. But on the 132nd day of the NBA lockout, players and owners met for more than 12 hours Wednesday without striking a deal. They'll meet again today.
In theory, there's an upside for the NHL if the NBA and its players can't strike a deal during this latest round of talks. Grantland's Bill Simmons wrote a column in mid-October about his decision to buy Kings season tickets since the Clippers weren't playing. "The Kings have either seven, eight or nine months to win me over," Simmons wrote. When the most well-read sports columnist in the United States takes that stand, the NHL notices.
"Bill Simmons' interesting article about purchasing Kings season tickets and trying to see if hockey players really are the best guys -- I think that's great," said NHL COO John Collins. "It's not changing what we're doing. Our effort is to capture as much share of advertising as we can to become increasingly relevant to the casual sports fan and make hockey as easy to find on any screen."
Perhaps that gets a little easier when there's not another professional sports league competing for those advertising dollars. But the majority of general managers I spoke with who have NBA teams in their markets haven't noticed a significant change in interest because of the NBA lockout.
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