With community outreach at an all-time high, the current state of the Tampa Bay Lightning's marketability is still in the hands of the NHL lockout. Tampa isn't the most traditional hockey town, and overall, it isn't considered one of the greater sports cities in America.
That's why if the Lightning are going to get the local community behind this team and keep it that way, they have to at least be out there playing. This is the second time in eight years that a labor dispute has caused work stoppage, which is never a good thing for a town like Tampa trying to make it.
The Tampa Bay Times had this quote from David Carter, a professor of sports business at the University of Southern California and executive director of the school's Sports Business Institute.
"It's important to cultivate that fan base because it's a scenario where you eat what you kill in the National Hockey League on a local level," Carter said. "In a sport like hockey that among the four major sports leagues shares the least amount of revenue, it's beholden on the local franchise to connect with fans and corporate sponsors."
For more on the NHL Lockout and how it relates to the Tampa Bay Lightning, check out Raw Charge and Hockey Hub..