VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 18, 2012) - Over half of Canadians appear to have a lack of interest in the two sides reaching an agreement in the National Hockey League dispute, according to survey results out today.
The results show 52% of those surveyed said it is not important whether the NHL and the NHL Players Association reach an agreement so the hockey season can resume.
The telephone survey by NRG Research Group and Peak Communicators was completed on September 16, to gather public opinion on the first day of the lock-out for the 2012-2013 hockey season. It includes the responses of 1,001 individuals with approximately 143 coming from each of Canada's seven hockey cities. A summary of the survey results is found at: http://www.slideshare.net/PeakCo/nhl-hockey-lockout-2012-2013.
"The response shows Canadians are less angry about the lock-out than one may expect," said Andrew Enns, President of NRG Research Group. "In this case, the lock-out did not come as a surprise and this is the third lock-out in 20 years. Our results would indicate this may be having an effect on the fan base."
Not surprisingly, among the hardcore or regular fans of the game, the desire for an agreement to end the lock-out increases significantly. Twenty-nine percent of respondents self-identified themselves as either hardcore fans (12%) or as interested followers throughout the season (17%). Of these individuals, 86% said it was important to get an agreement to end the lock-out.
"While a large segment of the population in the NHL cities may be indifferent to the lock-out, among the various teams' fan base, there is clearly some angst and a strong desire to get back to playing hockey," said Enns.
Males between the ages of 35-54 represent the largest number of hardcore enthusiast fans. Fans in Ottawa had the highest percentage of moderate to high interest in the NHL (44% hardcore/regular fans) and those in the Greater Toronto Area showed the lowest (19% hardcore/regular fans) level of interest. Enthusiasm for the game is divided by franchise market size. Interest in NHL hockey was notably higher among fans in smaller franchise markets (39%) than in larger markets (27%) such as Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
When it comes to who the survey respondents are most angry with regarding the lock-out, over a third (35%) say all parties equally. Nine per cent selected the owners with five per cent indicating the players. Interestingly, 13% of survey respondents say they are most angry at NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman while only 1% feel the same for the NHL player's representative, Donald Fehr. Anger with Bettman is most noticeable in the Ottawa and Vancouver hockey markets at 22% and 19% respectively.
Regarding the issues at the core of the lock-out-player salaries and league revenue sharing-respondents to the survey appear to be saying both the players' and the owners' positions are right. A majority of respondents (55%) feel NHL players are currently overpaid but 62% of people also support the NHL Players' Association position that the league needs to share more revenues with smaller market franchises.
The survey was conducted in both official languages in the NHL franchise cities of Montreal, Ottawa, Greater Toronto Area, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Greater Vancouver Area. A survey of 1001 people provides results with a confidence interval of +/- 3.1 percent 19 times out of 20.
NRG Research Group is a leading Canadian public affairs and market research company, with offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg.
Peak Communicators is the largest independent full-service PR agency in Western Canada with a specialty in media relations, communication strategy, media training and digital media.