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The NHL Off-Season Thread Starts With a Bang

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  • #31
    The Jets and the Nordiques suffered from being the smallest markets by quite a ways in the league - and they still would be if they got new or relocated teams. I think the NHL at the time was really gunning for lucrative media deals, which are hard to get in cities with ~650k people. They also were having arena issues (as in, the cities/provinces wouldn't pony up for new areas). I can't remember what happened with the North Stars or Whalers.
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    • #32
      Winnipeg wasn't that small. Calgary's population at the time was roughly 700,000, which is the same as Winnipeg is now. Ditto Quebec City.
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      • #33
        Yes, and Calgary and Edmonton were hurting for a while too, but they didn't have the additional ownership and arena problems the Nordiques and Jets had. Calgary's ownership had to appeal to fans to buy more season tickets in 1999 and 2000 or the team might have moved as well. Even after that, the team bled money.
        "The French caused the war [Persian Gulf war, 1991]" - Ned
        "you people who bash Bush have no appreciation for one of the great presidents in our history." - Ned
        "I wish I had gay sex in the boy scouts" - Dissident

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        • #34
          Is 700k the metro area population for Winnipeg & Quebec, or the city proper?

          Columbus has a population of ~750k, and the Jackets are doing rather well. Metro pop is probably double that. Probably about the same for Pittsburgh. (Bad example, I know.)
          "My nation is the world, and my religion is to do good." --Thomas Paine
          "The subject of onanism is inexhaustable." --Sigmund Freud

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          • #35
            Metro pops, IIRC
            "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
            Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

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            • #36
              It was all about the US Network TV contract. The league wanted big bucks and the networks laughed in their faces. They were "told" that they weren't a national sport and this was supported by the poor national ratings. So the NHL tried their best to become national... putting teams where they probably didn't belong. And to no ones surprise, the ratings still sucked. Hell, when NASCAR, not really national either, can double and triple the ratings of the NHL, the locations aren't really the problem.

              notyoueither has a valid point. It's how you run the club and support the fans. In Chicago, the Blackhawks were dying under their owner. The once proud franchise was on the bottom of Chicago sports francises, having serious problems. But then, the owner died, and his son took over. What a difference. They are now media darlings, the stadium is full once again, people are watching on TV. Yeah, a lot of it has do with them winning... but it's also about the attitude... it's obvious the new management WANTS to win... and they put a better product on the ice.
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              • #37
                I don't really have a problem with the Florida teams. Tampa and Florida are in huge markets, and make sense for an expansion.

                Atlanta, same deal. Large city, natural expansion.

                But Nashville? I can't understand that one at all. When you've got Houston, or San Antonio, or Austin.
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                • #38
                  **** off about this Texas ****...Houston doesn't make any more sense for a hockey team than Nashville. It's retarded.
                  "The issue is there are still many people out there that use religion as a crutch for bigotry and hate. Like Ben."
                  Ben Kenobi: "That means I'm doing something right. "

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                  • #39
                    Yes and no. From a population standpoint, Houston makes much more sense. However, they would have to compete against three other pro teams in the market, while the Preds only have one.

                    Austin is a much bigger metro area than Nashville (or K-W or any other potential Canada site, or most of the US sites mentioned here), somewhat more compatable climate-wise than the rest of Texas (comparable to Nashville), and is without any other pro teams. If there is to be another Texas team (and, much as I loathe the idea, it is not unreasonable), Austin would be the best fit.

                    Personally, I'd rather see Portland or Seattle or Kansas City if a move must be made to another US city.
                    "My nation is the world, and my religion is to do good." --Thomas Paine
                    "The subject of onanism is inexhaustable." --Sigmund Freud

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                    • #40
                      Austin metro is barely bigger than Nashville metro (1.6 million vs. 1.5 million). I have no idea if it's a better fit for hockey, though - but it can't be much worse.
                      "The French caused the war [Persian Gulf war, 1991]" - Ned
                      "you people who bash Bush have no appreciation for one of the great presidents in our history." - Ned
                      "I wish I had gay sex in the boy scouts" - Dissident

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Ben Kenobi View Post
                        But Nashville? I can't understand that one at all. When you've got Houston, or San Antonio, or Austin.

                        There is a lot of cash in Nashville. from what I've read. I think that is supported by a local ownership group being about to manage most of the cost of purchasing the team. It should be noted that the Preds ownership group paid a far higher price (at least double) than the Edmonton group did. I'm impressed, and a noted blogger from Toronto is also.


                        Originally posted by Kontiki View Post
                        Austin metro is barely bigger than Nashville metro (1.6 million vs. 1.5 million). I have no idea if it's a better fit for hockey, though - but it can't be much worse.

                        I think I read somewhere that Nashville is at or very close to break even, already. From what I've read, one of the problems for Craig Leipold's Preds is he got on the wrong side of the local business community right off the bat. Annoying the guys who pay the big bucks for the boxes and tickets for entertainment is suicidal.

                        If what I've read is true, I am not surprised a group of local businessmen could turn it around promptly. Now, if only they don't run out of time or luck due to the economy.
                        Last edited by notyoueither; May 11, 2009, 21:48.
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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Guynemer View Post
                          Did the North Stars really fail, though? Or did the ownership just think they would do better in Dallas? I don't remember the North Stars going bankrupt, or the Jets or Nordiques, for that matter. (I may be wrong, I just don't remember.)

                          Attendance problems, even though they had a team that did well in then recent playoffs. That was preceded by some ownership turmoil, and the guy who came out owning them and who moved them to Dallas is synonymous with turd in the local lexicon (ironic that Leopold has ended up owning the Wild).

                          Funny quote from Wiki:
                          "When [Norm Green] came here, he said, 'Only an idiot could lose money on hockey in Minnesota.' Well, I guess he proved that point."




                          The problems in Winnipeg and Quebec City have been touched on by 'Tiki. There were two big ones. Old, low revenue buildings with no one willing to chip in to build new ones. And no one was willing to put up the money to keep the teams in those cities.

                          There were no 'local ownership groups' then. The league encouraged Cal Nichols in his efforts and bent or ammended rules to allow for the Edmonton Ownership Group to buy the Oilers when they were about to be moved to Houston by an American buyer. That was a first. It was also a very close run thing, and there was considerably more money in and around Edmonton than in either Winnipeg or Quebec City, and the building was not inadequate at the time (although the old barn is in the aging category now).

                          To this day there is not the combination of population, corporate money, and facility in either Winnipeg or QC to warrant a team going back, from what I have read.
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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Guynemer View Post
                            Is 700k the metro area population for Winnipeg & Quebec, or the city proper?

                            Columbus has a population of ~750k, and the Jackets are doing rather well. Metro pop is probably double that. Probably about the same for Pittsburgh. (Bad example, I know.)

                            Metro.

                            Edmonton and Ottawa are the smallest at just at or over 1 mil each with Calgary not that much larger.

                            There are also a lot more corporations with readily burnable cash in both cities. Or at least there have been. We'll see what the near future brings.
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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Ming View Post
                              It was all about the US Network TV contract. The league wanted big bucks and the networks laughed in their faces. They were "told" that they weren't a national sport and this was supported by the poor national ratings. So the NHL tried their best to become national... putting teams where they probably didn't belong. And to no ones surprise, the ratings still sucked. Hell, when NASCAR, not really national either, can double and triple the ratings of the NHL, the locations aren't really the problem.

                              The league has never got that much money from US networks, IIRC.

                              Bettman did get them on ESPN, but ESPN treated the league very poorly and when the contract expired, they tried some bullshit like no cash up front, so the league told them to get stuffed.

                              As it happens, the owner of the Philadelphia Flyers also owns the company that owns Versus (used to be the Outdoor Network). He was willing to pay cash, a significant amount of it (much more than ESPN wanted to). It was good for the league short term for cash, good for Ed Snider long term as his network used the NHL to gain a lot more penetration rapidly than without (from what I've read) and for the league long term if ESPN knows that the league is completely willing to go to a competitor.

                              The biggest problem the league has with US TV is fragmentation, IMO. The old, established teams get a ton of cash from local cable deals. The Rangers are owned by the guy who owns a cable company as well as regional channels, IIRC. There is huge inertia in the way of doing something like the NFL did when all the teams agreed to pool TV broadcast revenue and let the league run it. I would think the fact that local cable competes for eyeballs in major markets with national broadcasts would be a pretty large disincentive to a major deal with ESPN, let alone one of the large over air broadcasters.

                              That may change though. The league and the Rangers recently had a legal squabble over ownership of the rights to market over the internet. The league won. The days of 20 or 30 seperate sand piles may be coming to an end.

                              All this is from memory, and some may be imperfect.
                              Last edited by notyoueither; May 11, 2009, 21:55.
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                              • #45
                                If we're talking metro areas, K-W is a bit smaller than Winnipeg and Quebec City, and barely bigger than London, which is further away from the Leafs/Sabres fan base. (Hell, they aren't even that much bigger than Halifax or Victoria.)

                                Even Omaha and Tulsa have bigger populations than the above listed Canadian cities, and they would let Bettman to continue to dabble in new U.S. markets. They might even do rather well, being the only game in town, similar to the Jackets. The Omaha market, especially, may do well, as they have a intermittantly successful college hockey team there that draws a lot of fans.

                                I can't see why a US Pacific Northwest team wouldn't work better, though. Both Seattle and Portland are bigger, are economically prosperous (comparatively), and would undoubtedly love a new team, as Portland only has an NBA squad, and Seattle just had their NBA team skip town.
                                "My nation is the world, and my religion is to do good." --Thomas Paine
                                "The subject of onanism is inexhaustable." --Sigmund Freud

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