This post isn’t about baseball or diversity, although The Mahatma, as Mr. Rickey was known, was an expert in both. Hard for someone who is a lifelong Yankees fan (stop it – I can hear you from here) to admit, but true.
Nope. This post is about the start of the Stanley Cup Finals and one of my former employers, the NHL. The NHL has set a number of records on the business side this year – higher TV ratings among them. There are some who say that the outdoor game (Winter Classic – sorry!) and its huge TV viewing (for something not football) on New Year’s Day distorted the season’s numbers. There are others who say that the good fortune of having Detroit, Dallas, Philly, and the Pens in your final four, all teams with good Canadian appeal yet no Canadian team to hurt US TV, was a stroke of luck. The fact that the US teams are from BIG markets and not smallish ones helps too. Lucky!
Well, to quote an expression that was more popular in Mr. Rickey’s time, pshaw. In general, pro sports teams ARE in big markets and the past few years have been the aberration. Giving fans an alternative to college football, even on its biggest day, isn’t a bad idea and hockey doesn’t need huge numbers to be successful.
How about we all acknowledge that this “luck” may be due to solutions that reflect careful thinking and long-term planning? It’s very easy to duct tape something together and say it’s fixed. Really fixing things takes time and maybe the odd banged thumb here and there. That’s how we try to approach solutions with our clients.
With no team in the Final from west of the eastern time zone, the scenario isn’t perfect but the residue of design that’s ready to start is pretty appealing none the less.
Luck is the residue of design.
Branch Rickey, Lecture title, 1950
US baseball administrator (1881 – 1965)