• 02/03/2009, 09:10PM ET

March Madness of Throwdowns: How can you make the NHL more popular in America?

PhillyEagles36 (75-13-3) vs PissOff (234-129-21)

How would I make the NHL more popular?

Well most importantly the NHL needs more mass media exposure. Having just one channel that a majority of the games come on is ridiculous. NBC shows just about 3 games a year! Versus (a channel I didn't even know existed until today) shows 1 game a night most nights. If more games are on TV or on a bigger network with more viewers, the greater chance ratings increase.

Star players need to be promoted better. The marketing right now is bad, the average person doesn't know or see the amazing stuff that Crosby and Ovechkin do daily. Spread the word!

More outdoor games. The past 2 years the outdoor games have been the highest rated game all year. There is nothing better than watching high paid athletes braving the weather.

There are too many teams in the south. It is hard to get into the sport when you live in Florida, Texas or Arizona. Move these teams north and increase popularity.

Lastly, get rid of Gary Bettman, the commish. Many fans don't like him and he has made some very stupid decisions in the past which has hurt the game.

More to come...

Hockey killed itself with the lockout. When Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux were on the top of their games, hockey was riding a tidal wave of success and support in this country. But greed on the part of the owners and the players absolutely put it on life support. The road back won't be easy, but it can be done.

To start with, I would CONTRACT the league. There simply isn't enough talent to fill the ice, so games are actually boring more often than not. I don't mind a southern team or two, but combining Florida with Tampa Bay would make for one profitable and competitive team, rather than the current two teams of mediocrity.

I see you want a TV blitz of games, but lets be honest, that did nothing for the Arena Football League, the XFL or the USFL. TV reacts when it comes to sports, it doesn't create.

Plus, look at baseball. Most of the country never sees a game during the regular season, but it remains popular.

The FASTEST way to increase hockey's popularity would be to reduce salary costs, and pass that savings on to the fan. Teams like the Islanders and Rangers traditionally pay millions to bad players, with nothing to show for it in return.

Good start..

It's obvious that the lockouts made the NHL lose many fans, we have 1 man to thank for these. Gary Bettman was the league commissioner during BOTH of these lockouts. Many fans do not like this man, getting rid of him is something that must happen.

Relocating is a necessity. Teams in the south such as Nashville, Atlanta, Phoenix, along with others all rank near the bottom in attendance and TV ratings. Teams from Chicago, Detroit, Philly all rank near the top. Its obvious that the NHL's key demographic is areas with actual "cold" weather and these teams need to be moved to an area to better suite this. Bettman has approved expansion of Atlanta, Nashville, along with other bottom feeders in attendance, we are starting to see a trend her.

The past 2 season's the NHL has had an outside game. These games have been the highest rated games the NHL has ever seen. I know that it's unrealistic to believe that a lot of games could be played outdoor, but it isn't hard to have a few more games a season in the cold.

You blame greedy owners yet you want these owners to combine their teams with other? I don't see that happening at all.

More to come.

If what you say is true....why did northern teams move south? The Minn North Stars now the Dallas Stars. Trust me, Dallas does not have an attendance problem. Colorado, on the other hand, is a northern team....and gets outdrawn by Tampa Bay and Dallas. So your theory sounds good, but it isn't really based in reality.

While I agree with you that TWO outdoor games drew big crowds....lets not kid ourselves. Nobody wants many games outside. Its a trick, a gimmick. You won't promote the game to the majority of fans with gimmicks.

And where did I blame greedy owners? Do you mean where I said greed on the part of BOTH the players AND the owners?

I believe both the players and the owners are going to have to take a step back. There needs to be a reduction in salary...which will be reflected in ticket prices. THIS will draw the fans that stay home.

Also, there must be a NHL game of the week, at a minimum, on TV. But don't get rid of the Versus Network. Like TBS and basketball....those games are needed the rest of the week. Please don't make fun of this vital link to the hockey world.

And if you don't think owners would contract rather than fold...what can I say?

While Dallas's attendance is good, its not great. The numbers don't lie, teams in the south are in the bottom part of the league in attendance. For the most part the experiment of placing teams in the south failed.

Outdoor games will increase popularity. Something like 5 games a year outdoors would raise popularity. The NHL is far behind other major sports, anything will help.

Come on, what does it matter if you blamed greedy owners or owners and players. It's pretty obvious that if owners don't want to give up their teams players aren't going to want to give up their job because "their isn't enough talent". You can't just combine teams and kick the less talented players out of the league, thats exactly the wrong way to draw fans.

The NHL needs to get games on a big network, whether its more games on NBC, CBS, USA. Make it happen.

One of the most important things the NHL can do is market better. This starts by getting games on a big network, the next step is to make star players household names. This is essential, there are so many household names in the MLB, NFL, NBA yet most of America could only name Crosby.

Following this is the best way to make the NHL popular.

Actually, last season the Dallas Stars were in the TOP 10 of attendance. Know who else is? The Atlanta Thrashers. The Carolina Hurricanes.

Know who were in the bottom 10? Pittsburgh. Toronto. Vancouver. St Louis. Philadelphia. And on the cusp...New York....both teams.

You really should do your homework BEFORE typing.

Outdoor games are a gimmick. 1 or 5 won't change anything. If the one each year doesn't do it, 4 more won't be any better.

And did I really read you saying removing less talented players isn't good for the game? I don't know how to respond to that. People don't tune in to see garbage. The TV audience has shrunk as more teams have been added....because they don't like bad play.

I'm glad you agree with me that the NHL needs to be on a major network. I said that last argument. But no network is going to carry the NHL every night. That's just silly. So the Versus network is needed just as TBS is needed. Just as USA Network is needed for other sports.

You know who could really promote hockey? ESPN. How about getting a SPORTS network involved.

In the end, my simple solutions will work better than your laundry list.


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