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09-10-2004, 11:32 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Country: Canada
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Most of the essential facts are no longer in dispute. The most important of these is that rapid expansion into soft hockey markets in the US did not pay off in national (US) television exposure and money. There was the optimistic bump from ABC/ESPN, and now reality has reared its ugly head. There are two main sources of income that teams have to depend on: gate receipts and regional cable revenues. Teams without both of these generating significant amounts of money will always be on the verge of insolvency. Accordingly, if the goal is to have a league where every franchise is a healthy one, the NHL should contract to approximately 20 teams. If the lockout is a lengthy one, no less than two and perhaps as many as four to fold without the league "doing" anything. In the four year period thereafter, another four to six teams will drop off. There's no deal that both the owners and the NHLPA will agree to that will prevent this from happening.

The likely victims? Between four and six of the following: Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Tampa or Florida, NY isles, Atlanta, Nashville, Calgary, perhaps Ottawa, Washington and Buffalo.

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