NHL lockout 2012: Deadspin: league hires Frank Luntz for focus group

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A huge unpopular part of the NHL lockout is the public relations spin coming from the league and its Players’ Association. Fans started tiring of the messages from both sides before the work stoppage became a month old on Monday, Oct. 15.

Turns out the NHL had some help getting its strategy together, according to Deadspin, which published details and documents of a focus group run by GOP strategist Frank Luntz.

The report says that 30 people were paid $100 for three hours of research in a focus group that took place in suburban D.C. in an effort to gauge opinions on the lockout. A photo of Washington Capitals fans was part of one exercise, and Gary Bettman another.

Luntz’s company, Luntz Global, LLC, calls itself “the the global leader in language research, creation, and innovation.” On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Luntz put out a message looking for hockey fans in New York City for another NHL focus group.

Luntz, known for popularizing the phrase “death tax” and for being a frequent commentator on Fox News, confirmed the existence of the focus group in two Twitter posts Monday and then an official statement.

“Material from a focus group I conducted was made public earlier today in an attempt to discredit efforts by the NHL to reach an agreement with the players on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Luntz wrote. “The research was no different from what I and others in my field have done for sports teams, sports leagues, and players’ unions for many, many years.

“The objective: to understand exactly what fans think and precisely what they want. In this case, the fans were very clear: they want the teams and the union to reach an agreement quickly so that they can get the hockey they want and deserve.”

For the full report from Deadpsin click here.

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