Weak Teams In the Central Hockey League
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11-16-2009, 10:39 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Originally Posted by
We'll see what happens.
2,500 - 3,000 IS NOT a good crowd in a league that plays 32 home games. That's barely breaking even or small loss.
Guess who was in your "Good Crowd" range last year? New Mexico, your big example, with an average attendance of 2,791
. The year Lubbock folded, they were drawing better than your “good crowd” with 3,336 per game. They're still gone.
Did Oklahoma City fold because they were foundering? I never said that. I merely said that the league lost the team, which was arguably it's flagship franchise. But more goes into it than that. By losing Oklahoma City, the league lost a team that was in the middle of the league. No less that four teams were within 300 miles of Oklahoma City, which made trips to Oklahoma City (for five teams) a day trip, where the team saves on having to pay out more per diem, and extra day on the bus, and a pile of hotel rooms. (That 300-mile figure is in the CBA.) Did you know that the average travel budget in the CHL was $120,000 last season? And it's only going to go higher as more of these teams at the bottom of the attendance chart fold.
It's not going to take much for the dominoes to start falling. Let's start with Amarillo, which is drawing a stellar 1,515 per night, good for dead last in CHL attendance. Amarillo folds, and Odessa loses it's only day trip. Odessa is only drawing 2,484 per game thus far, so you can bet they are losing money, and there have been several articles over the past few years about how that club is barely hanging on. Then look at Corpus Christi. That team is drawing 2,886 a night, and had the fold-and-unfold drama in the not-too-distant past. If CC is gone, Laredo and RGV are on an island. Bossier-Shreveport nearly folded last year, and I doubt they are doing much better this year. They're drawing almost 1,000 less than they did two years ago. And the team that really shocks me is Arizona. Their average attendance is off 800+ from last season thus far and nearly 1,600 from two years ago, and they were one of the leagues' marquee franchises for their first few years.
Granted, we are in a recession. People have less disposable income. But at the same time, hockey is a business, and businessmen aren't in business to lose money.
The vultures are starting to circle. Right now, I'd bet at least three and as many as six teams folding in the CHL after this season.
The problem isn't wholly in the economy, it's in the business model and it's pervasive in the CHL, IHL, and ECHL. Hockey at that level is in for a rocky summer in 2010, mark my words.
New Mexico, did require a larger break even attendance than many other CHL teams. (I was generalizing on my break even attendance estimates.) The cost for the new, poorly located, arena obviously made it tougher for them to make money. (Having been to several games in Santa Ana Star Center in recent years I can say your numbers might be a bit high.)
I agree losing Oke City was a blow for many reasons including those you mentioned but it was the team owners choice and one he may chose to reverse in the future. The travel in the CHL has always been a challenge and is now even more so, as reflected in this year's scheduling.
I don't doubt that it is possible to lose more teams if the economic situation continues or gets worse. I would say all hockey teams, be they in the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL or any other leagues that you care to add, are all in similar situations. In fact we might as well include all major professional sports and any kind of entertainment options in your doom and gloom senario. Why focus only on minor pro hockey?
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