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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 12:07 am 
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Not much of an NHL fan, but this was brought up during a talk show that I listen to. The host suggested that the economic slowdown is going to make it impossible for leagues to meet their payrolls. He suggested that a lot of sunbelt hockey teams might die, suggesting th eteam may lose as many as 8 teams and again become an Icebelt league.

He also talked about the red wings. They are one of the more successful franchises in the NHL, but with Detroit's auto industry in collapse, their luxury boxes will be empty. They'll still draw sellouts to the normal seats, but ill they be able to survive with no luxury box income?

Finally he talked about ridiculous prices at sunbelt team arenas and said he didn't think that these would prove viable.

All pretty interesting.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 1:19 pm 
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Hope so. It would be a better league without:

Carolina, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Florida, Nashville and Phoenix

4 six team divisions:

East: NY Islanders, NY Rangers, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh
North: Boston, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo, Detroit
Central: Columbus, Chicago, Minnesota, St. Louis, Dallas, Colorado
West: Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton

I would even move Columbus to Milwaukee and Anaheim to Seattle


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:53 pm 
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I think Anaheim far outdraws the Kings in LA. I've heard rumblings that the Kings were looking around. Of course, AEG firmly controls Staples Center IIRC.

I've said before that the NHL had an arena strategy disguised as a Sun Belt strategy. I hold to that. I do wonder, however, if any of these teams go insolvent. One spot I'd really be curious about- Nashville. The city subsidizes the team brazenly... I'm not sure how much. Is it enough to anchor the Predators there?

We'll see how this develops.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:44 am 
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It's been noted elsewhere on this website that the Phoenix Coyotes are profusely bleeding money.

Player salaries are capped, the issue seems to be that the team signed an arena lease with the city of Glendale that is horrendously expensive. So then management compounded the problem by charging exhorbitant ticket and concession prices, and that has helped chase a lot of potential fans away.

To break the lease and get into a position where it can be renegotiated, the team may have to declare bankrupcy.
Nobody seems interested in buying the team (to relocate it), since the price would be very high (assuming a ton of accumulated debt).

Of course there are more hard-core hockey fans in the north, but there are a fair number of retirees with disposable income to buy hockey tickets in the sun belt. The sun belt teams have been largely expansion teams (all but Phoenix (formerly WHA Winnepeg Jets) and the LA Kings (1967 expansion) and Carolina Hurricane (formerly WHA New England/ Hartford Whalers)), so they haven't been competitive right off the bat. Now Tampa, Carolina, and Anaheim have won the cup. Do they not draw reasonably well ? I think the sun belt franchises will (over time) inspire more kids in those areas to play hockey. Youth hockey is fairly strong in St. Louis (where I now live) and this would never have happened without the St. Louis Blues franchise starting up here in 1967. But it has taken time, and I dare not compare St. Louis to anywhere in Ontario.

Sun Belt expansion may have been an attempt to leverage potential relocation as a way of creating "need" for new arenas (God knows the NFL, MLB, and NBA have employed this tactic). But the other driver was to blanket the country with franchises in an effort to gain a lucrative national TV contract. Before the strike, ESPN2 gave the NHL very good exposure. I happen to think the changes that came out of the strike were sorely needed (salary cap to eliminate "haves" and "have not" franchises, rule changes to defeat the ever-so-boring neutral zone trap (which made transition SO DIFFICULT) and create more decent offensive scoring opportunities). I think the NHL is economically healthier, the salary cap has crept upward, and ESPN may be interested in jumping back in when the current contract with this cheesy "VS." network expires. We are in March and almost every franchise is still in the playoff picture. So the level of competition is good, in terms of holding interest for fans of most franchises.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:07 pm 
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tute79 wrote:
I think the NHL is economically healthier, the salary cap has crept upward, and ESPN may be interested in jumping back in when the current contract with this cheesy "VS." network expires. We are in March and almost every franchise is still in the playoff picture. So the level of competition is good, in terms of holding interest for fans of most franchises.


I actually think that the NHL is in a good place on Versus. I think it's good for another company to challenge ESPN in the cable sports business, and I'm pretty sure VS gained more distribution when they started broadcasting the NHL. Since that time, VS has picked up some college football as well as the IndyCar Series beginning this year.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 12:16 pm 
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pounder wrote:
I think Anaheim far outdraws the Kings in LA. I've heard rumblings that the Kings were looking around. Of course, AEG firmly controls Staples Center IIRC.

I've said before that the NHL had an arena strategy disguised as a Sun Belt strategy. I hold to that. I do wonder, however, if any of these teams go insolvent. One spot I'd really be curious about- Nashville. The city subsidizes the team brazenly... I'm not sure how much. Is it enough to anchor the Predators there?

We'll see how this develops.


I saw most of these NHL problems years ago. Both the NBA and NHL had strategies to have separate arenas for each sport. That was their desire. But it makes little sense to ASK for taxpayer money for both sports when a single arena would work fine.

Look in Seattle. It would have been easy for the city of Seattle to lure a hockey team with a new arena that could have served as a home for the Sonics. It means creating jobs and generating revenue for 82 home games instead of just 41 for basketball (not to mention some SeattleU, UW and a single Gonzaga home game). But nobody wanted a two sport arena.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:00 am 
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Quinn wrote:
I saw most of these NHL problems years ago. Both the NBA and NHL had strategies to have separate arenas for each sport. That was their desire. But it makes little sense to ASK for taxpayer money for both sports when a single arena would work fine.

Look in Seattle. It would have been easy for the city of Seattle to lure a hockey team with a new arena that could have served as a home for the Sonics. It means creating jobs and generating revenue for 82 home games instead of just 41 for basketball (not to mention some SeattleU, UW and a single Gonzaga home game). But nobody wanted a two sport arena.


Actually, Seattle CAN'T have an NHL team without the Canucks' approval, because the city is considered within the team's territorial rights. It's similar to why Hamilton ON (growing very fast, has the population base to support an NHL team) will not have a team either. Vancouver does rely on Western Washington as a part of its fanbase, and Hamilton is actually in the middle of three fanbases (Toronto, Buffalo, and Detroit), so this is considered a part of a team's territory. Hamilton would need the consent of all three bases, while Seattle would need Vancouver's, and considering how spread out the West is outside of LA and the Bay Area, you'd need more than a couple of hours' separation to have teams that close to each other to both flourish.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:16 pm 
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So LA had to agree to Anaheim and Philadelphia gave approval to Washington (130 miles away)?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 4:36 pm 
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From what I read, that territory is only a 50 mile (80 kilometer) radius. Seattle is about 140 miles from Vancouver.

What I read didn't totally give a clue regarding Anaheim, but it did take pains to mention that it applied to a team MOVING to another market. It could be accidental wording, or it could be an indication of how Anaheim arrived. Of course, the TV rights potential is so lucrative that Anaheim may have thought it worth a large payment to the Kings all those years ago.


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 4:34 am 
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westwolf wrote:
So LA had to agree to Anaheim and Philadelphia gave approval to Washington (130 miles away)?


It makes more sense when you put the maps away and look at the numbers. Greater Los Angeles has 17 million people, When you combine the Greater Philly and Washington-Baltimore areas, the population is 14 million, while Greater Seattle and Metro Vancouver have about 6 million combined.

Or, if you still want to look at the map, look at how many teams there are in the East Coast in a smaller area, then look at how many teams are in the West, as to why you have areas out East that can handle 3 teams in a city area, then two more within a few hours drive, and then look at out west and show me a scenario outside of LA where you have an area in the US where you can have two hockey teams within 200 miles of each other.


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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 4:42 am 
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pounder wrote:
From what I read, that territory is only a 50 mile (80 kilometer) radius. Seattle is about 140 miles from Vancouver.

What I read didn't totally give a clue regarding Anaheim, but it did take pains to mention that it applied to a team MOVING to another market. It could be accidental wording, or it could be an indication of how Anaheim arrived. Of course, the TV rights potential is so lucrative that Anaheim may have thought it worth a large payment to the Kings all those years ago.


Both Washington and Anaheim were expansion teams. The last time you had a team move to an area that close was when the Colorado Rockies moved to New Jersey... then again New York's metro are has the base they could probably support four teams.


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