Thursday, October 18, 2012

NHL cranking up the propaganda machine trying to sway public opinion

Let's face it, during the last lockout the NHL clearly had the public on it's side and proceeded to win by a landslide the last contract.

This time 'round it's a little more complicated with the public squarely on the players side.

The NHL is trying to sway the public to it's side. It's latest tactic is it's surprise contract proposal. This was after they hire noted focus group guru/pr/marketing/Republican strategist, Frank Luntz.

In my post yesterday, I was hinting that the NHL was twitching and getting ready to blink. Maybe it is that, or maybe they were readying themselves for the big offensive.

The league touted it's latest proposal headlining it with a 50/50 split with the players. Which is all well and good. In fact I'd hazard to guess that most players see the writing on the wall and are planning on that as part of their future.

But, like with all things, "the devil's in the details," and the big question is, "50% of what?"

Then there are the other issues that you can read here as the NHL posted their proposal on their web site.

You can read all the gobbledy-gook you want, take in all the numbers and do all the calculating you want, but the second line should give you all you need to know, "HRR Accounting: Current HRR Accounting subject to mutual clarification of existing interpretations and settlements."

"Mutual clarification of existing interpretations and settlements." Which means that they have not clearly defined HRR, which means that the question remains, "50% of what."
Upon further review, most everybody who reads this proposal sees it heavily weighted in favor of the owners.

But...All they had to do (thanks to Frank Luntz) was throw out that 50/50 split, and the PR campaign to sway hockey fans was on. Didn't matter what was in the details,"50/50" was all they'd need to get the propaganda machine moving.

Union Chief Donald Fehr countered in his letter to the players, outlined here. Once again, feel free to look it over, but it's safe to say that Fehr didn't like the details.

Sure, both sides got their message out via the electronic media. And in this day and age, message board instantly fill up.

But it's interesting to note that the NHL must have some serious plants working the boards.

For instance, as I was typing yesterday's piece, I grabbed some early message board reaction to the contract proposal and added their like/dislike +/-.

Even while I was copying and pasting, their plus/minus doubled or tripled, now it's off the charts. Some responses I charted yesterday with where they are today (pgs. 68, 69 on the message board):
  • '50/50 is a great offer and the players should take it - if they refuse, they can kiss the little public support they have goodbye!! Well done NHL!'---Yesterday +50, today +633
  • 'TAKE IT!!!!!!'  +46, +423
  • '50/50 split and salvage all 82 games. Sounds fair to me. Take it and lets play some hockey' +44, +474
  • 'NHL just made a 50-50 revenue split offer. If they PA doesn't accept this offer I don't know anymore' +35, +347
And if you go through the messages, you'll see large, weighted pluses next to anti-Fehr/anti-player posts.

Same thing with Fehr's notes to his players on TSN. Look it up:
  • Every time i hear Fehr speak or write something down, my disdain for him and the players position
  • In other words: Lost season. Tables are turning. Fehr now looking greedy +223
Etc. etc.

They even went to the negative:
Interesting about the Make Whole concept. Owners are still offering malarkey. Fehr should continue to wait for better proposals -165
The NHL is on the offensive, and Frank Luntz gave them direction.

Don't be fooled. The NHL didn't hire the master of marketing propaganda, Frank Luntz, for nothing.

And they'll use every means necessary to get what they want.

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