We’ve heard plenty about the economic impact of the lockout on the players — the salary cap, hockey-related revenue, pensions. All of that can be a little mind-numbing. But there’s another factor at play for a few elite players: the effect of the lockout on their brand and their endorsements. There is obviously less demand for a guy like Steven Stamkos if he isn’t on the ice. While big-time players make the majority of their money from a few long-term deal deals, the possibility (which we almost experienced) of going a year and a half without any commercials and other sources of income isn’t something to overlook.
But what if you’re an international star like Alex Ovechkin, who spent the previous four months playing in the country where he’s arguably more popular than he is here? After all, Ovi’s appeal is limited in America. Hockey is by far the smallest of the major professional sports and athletes don’t generate much interest outside the cities they play in. In Russia, however, Ovechkin is a something of a national hero, not just a great player for the local team. There’s a case to be made, then, that Ovechkin could have actually made more money in his homeland than if he were in the NHL, both in salary and endorsements.