Barring any major surprises, the NFL lockout is coming to an end. You know the NHL was secretly hoping that wouldn’t happen. Without football, and also basketball, sports fans would need something to fill the void. This would have been an amazing opportunity for hockey to grow and become more popular. It still has potential to do that since it looks like the NBA will probably shorten their season. But it’s not the same giant that football is. While it’s a lost opportunity, it’s still not a bad thing for hockey that football is back.
We know that our Flyers are a hot ticket in town. They have no trouble selling out games and have tons of fans. But let’s be real here, they are the third most popular team in town behind the Eagles and the Phillies. The Phils season barely overlaps with hockey season. Meanwhile, football coincides with the first half of hockey season. This year, more than any in the past few years, the Flyers could benefit from the distraction.
Although I think this will be a much tougher season, we really don’t know what’s going to happen. So while the team is figuring out their style and trying to come together, it’s not too bad for them to be away from center stage. If the team has a few hiccups, it will be a side note on the sports page. But if things come together, people will notice and they’ll get their due recognition. Regardless of how well the Eagles are doing, people will always be paying attention to them. So at least until New Years, the Flyers can stay under the radar.
That gives them at least 3 solid months without a ton of outside pressure and local media speculation. It doesn’t give them a free pass, because there are still plenty of eyes watching. But there are many fans who don’t pay attention until the playoffs roll around. So while the NHL lost a shot to grow in popularity at an accelerated rate, at least the Flyers get to work in the shadows to try to build up a successful season.
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