“NHL preps for renegotiation deals” reads The Hollywood Reporter headline, referring to the NHL’s upcoming negotiations with its advertisers. The NHL “is expanding its digital media strategy and big event programming lineup to make pro hockey more appealing to advertisers.” They are taking these steps to build on the momentum from “a modest rebound in U.S. TV ratings.” And by doing so, they are also hoping to create “off-ice buzz from fans” that will help them when they begin TV contract talks with NBC and Versus in 2011.
What is the NHL doing strategically? Taking steps to make the NHL more appealing than their broadcasters’ Plan Bs, or alternatives to a deal with the NHL. All good negotiators understand that everyone has the ability to change their leverage. Leverage is not static. So when preparing to negotiate, figure out what concrete, practical steps you can take to improve your alternatives and limit the attractiveness of
your counterpart’s alternatives.