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Research Explains Why NHL Fans Get the Bum-Rush
by Howard Fienberg, Correspondent
Scientists have discovered why Gary Bettman is such a dork. It was only a matter of time.
According to a recent article in Marketing Science, researchers have discovered that bad service and poor quality can make customers come back. They concluded that:
1. It is not necessary to exceed customer expectations to increase preference. Translation: give us the lowest possible quality of hockey, and we will keep coming back like a pack of craven fools.
2. Receiving an expected level of bad service does not reduce preference. Translation: as NHL fans, we are so used to getting the smackdown from the Hockey forces of darkness that it hardly phases us anymore.
3. Customers may rationally choose a brand with worse expected quality, even if all non-quality attributes are equal. Translation: Getting a satellite dish so you can watch European soccer may cost the same, but we suck up the ice capades like whiskey at an Irish wedding.
4. Paying more attention to loyal, experienced customers can sometimes be counterproductive. Translation: the core of hockey fans don't matter, so why try to maintain the integrity of the game?
Frightening stuff. Roland Rust's "What You Don't Know About Customer-Perceived Quality" is a downright scary piece of work. However, it allows me to plug my new favorite project. And it gives us as fans a chance to do something besides just watch our sport reduced to the status of Roller Derby on the Nashville Network.
It is a fan's union. The players have the NHLPA. The owners - well they have corporate pocketbooks and the ear of government officials. What do we have? Now, the NHL Fan Association (NHLFA).
Found on the web at http://www.nhlfa.com, the NHLFA is intended to give average hockey fans across North America an affordable (that is, free!) way to express their views on the NHL. They conduct fan polls and strive to shove them in the face of Bettman et al in order to make the voice of the fans heard loud and clear.
Membership stands at something like 3,000-4,000 I believe. When last he spoke to the NHLFA representatives, Bettman challenged them to boost their membership to something like 50,000 people. That's a heck of a team effort required. But it is free, and just takes a few minutes to register and fill out your opinions on the NHL. And maybe someday fans will have a chance to do what we really want and to see what we have been dying to see. Chuck D and Ice Cube put a cap in Bettman's sorry behind or an exciting hockey game that costs less than a hundred dollars for a good seat.
Nostradomus is a'waiting, kids!