During the last 20 years, the N.H.L. has lost nearly 10 percent of its scheduled games to labor disruptions, a rate of cancellation more than three times greater than any other major sports league in North America.
With the current lockout in its 88th day, negotiators from the N.H.L. and the players union are scheduled to begin a new round of talks Wednesday at an undisclosed location, with federal mediators in attendance. Even if they make rapid progress, the damage done by the third lockout under Commissioner Gary Bettman is likely to affect the league well into the future, advertising and branding experts said.
“Clearly, its business model is dysfunctional,” said Tony Knopp, the chief executive of Spotlight TMS, a company that manages corporate ticket sales. “Things have to be terrible for them to be willing to throw away two seasons in less than 10 years."