Course Overview

This course explores the trends and forces that are defining and influencing the business of hockey. It also explores the forces that determine success off the ice with particular focus on franchises’ competitive advantages both within the league and within local markets. The underlying assumption is that hockey franchises are businesses and must be managed as businesses.

With the foregoing in mind, this course commences with an overview of sports economics with an emphasis on professional hockey. Included here are discussions of the distinct nature of professional sports markets, league structure, revenue streams, and player labour markets, along with the role of outcome uncertainty and competitive balance in determining the attractiveness of hockey as an entertainment option.

In the second section of the course, both the macro environmental forces (e.g., demographic, sociological, political) and industry trends and topics (e.g., social media, public-private partnerships, collective bargaining, revenue sharing, player safety) are discussed with the goal of anticipating how the competitive landscape for hockey franchises is likely to change in the future. In the final section of the course, students are introduced to theories and frameworks from both strategic management and marketing and asked to apply these in the context of a professional hockey franchise.

Most students entering into the Business of Hockey (HCKY 641) course will have completed Managerial Economics and Quantitative Analysis (MEQA 501) or a similar MBA level economics course. Supplementary materials will be provided alongside the core content of HCKY 641 to ensure students are sufficiently prepared to participate. Please note that a considerable amount of time will be required to cover the supplementary materials in addition to the core content.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify trends shaping the business of hockey at the franchise, league, and international levels.
  • Apply economic principles and models to better understand key forces and dynamics impacting the business of hockey today and in the future.
  • Analyze the revenue sources and expenses of a hockey franchise and the forces that impact them.
  • Assess the trade-offs required between team success and franchise profitability.
  • Identify and understand the forces driving league expansion and team relocation.
  • Understand competitive balance and outcome uncertainty and their influence on team and league profitability.
  • Apply strategy and marketing frameworks to support decision making that maximizes both on-ice and off-ice performance.