Documents from NHL focus group leaked

The NHL is gearing up for the war of public relations, and they’ve hired a top Republican Party strategist to help get the public on the owners’ side.

According to a report from Deadspin, the NHL organized an emergency focus group on Friday to test pro-ownership messages on a group of 30 hockey fans. The focus group was led by Frank Luntz, the CEO of multinational market research firm Luntz Global.

The aim of the focus group was to gauge the public’s response on a variety of topics related to the ongoing labour dispute.

Among the type of questions the participants were asked to answer in a packet distributed to the group included the following:

– “Which of the following statements about the owners and their position in the labor dispute makes you feel most negative about the owners?”

– “Which of the following images make you miss hockey the most?”

– “Which following statements about revenue sharing do you agree with the most?”

– “Select which of the following paragraphs are the strongest and most persuasive at describing the goals of the NHL labor negotiations.”

– “Select which of the following paragraphs are the strongest and most persuasive at describing the importance of reaching a labor agreement.”

According to a participant mentioned in the report, the NHL plans to push the idea that the players aren’t buying into the message of NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, while promoting the owners’ slogan of “shared sacrifice.”

The focus group also participated in “dial testing,” which allows the participants to use a dial in front of them to give a positive or negative response to a certain message or image. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman scored low among fans while deputy commissioner Bill Daly came across as “blue collar.”

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