Monday, June 19, 2017

China Key to Unlocking NHL Olympic Hockey Boycott

For 50 years, the National Hockey League (NHL) has been struggling in vain to break through in the American television (TV) market. When Sidney Crosby won his 3rd Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier this month, more Americans watched Celebrity Family Feud than the NHL telecast in the same time slot. The next night, the National Basketball Association won the United States (US) ratings battle with an audience three times larger than the number of NHL viewers.

The Olympics account for the 5 most watched hockey games in US TV history. The NHL has never managed to turn an Olympic hockey buzz into more American viewers. No American audience for a NHL game has come close to the viewership for team USA playing an Olympic final or semi-final.

Disappointed by the impact of past Olympics on NHL ratings, Commissioner Gary Bettman decided that his league had nothing to lose by threatening to boycott the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. Bettman demanded free use of the Olympic rings logo in NHL advertising as the price of player participation at the 2018 Games. When International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach rejected Bettman’s condition, the NHL blocked their players from going to the 2018 Olympics.

Bettman and Bach are two alpha males locked in a stand-off. Neither will back down. 

If you are interested in my proposal to solve this impasse before the 2022 Beijing Olympics, contact me at

And, check out my article on prospects for ping pong diplomacy redux on the Rideau in the Ottawa Citizen:

(How does this post connect to the Ontario economy and the other provinces? Canadians watching Olympic hockey in the middle of the nights and early mornings in February 2022 might have a small impact on productivity. That's the best I've got as an explanation. The sad truth is that I want to get this idea into circulation before it's too late and I couldn't find a better outlet than my own blog.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Ontario Silver Medal for Nominal GDP Growth

In terms of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at current prices for each year (NOT adjusted for changes in the prices of each province's products), Ontario ranked 2nd averaging 4.6%/year from the base year of 2013 to the latest data for 2016. BC was 1st at with 4.8% annual GDP growth, PEI 3rd at 3.2%, Manitoba 4th at 2.9% and Quebec 5th at 2.7%. 

Why am I reporting nominal GDP growth? 2013 to 2016 is an unusual period with a sharp drop in oil prices from the 2014 peak. As a result, nominal GDP fell by an average annual rate of -3% between 2013 and 2016 in Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

To my mind, the nominal GDP declines measure the pain suffered by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland workers, businesses and governments better than real GDP.

Over short periods, provincial governments cannot be held responsible for GDP growth. Alberta does not control oil prices. Neither Ontario nor Quebec controls American demand for their exports. However, I do believe that over much longer periods measured in decades, part of the difference between Ontario vs. Quebec GDP growth rates will reflect provincial government economic policy frameworks. Let's see whether the sensible Quebec tortoise catches up with the Ontario populist hare as the years go by.
(Updated May 2018)