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12-17-2010, 03:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Originally Posted by
I believe that a "bus" league built around Danbury, Brooklyn, and Troy (OH) could work, with Danbury and Troy being the geographical limits. Find three more markets within that geographical footprint, and make sure that the markets all have solid financing and a real medium-to-long-term business plan, and it could work.
Would need a minimum 60-game schedule (balanced; each team plays all others 12 times in a season) for maximum home revenue generation without overexposure; these "pro" leagues that want to play 40-game schedules are shooting themselves in the foot.
Get your six markets, and build each of them on solid foundations before even
expansion. Roster limit 23 players (13 forwards, seven defensemen, three goalies) max, salary cap < $10K/week (players average about $400/week).
The only real issue I see is that most markets in that footprint, that have a suitable facility, are already host to a minor pro or NCAA club.
Most teams cannot survive on payroll that is $3-4k/week, let alone anything approaching $10k..
In many/most/all minor league baseball teams, nearly all the baseball operations (ie: PLAYER SALARIES) are paid for by the MLB affiliate.. not so in hockey.. That is why the history of minor league hockey is littered with the carcasses of folded teams..
The problem is some business people see the success stories, like in Fort Wayne, or Danbury, or wherever - and think they can duplicate what those teams have done..
These people then open up teams without understanding what they're doing.. the first thing they realize is "Oh. I'll need a venue!" - so then they go find one.. they need a lease to show to the league office.. the venue knows that.. and in the negotiation, the team owners often give up concessions.. and guess what? The #2 revenue opportunity for your team just turned to $0.
But worse than that, the opportunity to package together a ticket/concession style family pack just became harder..
Speaking of tickets ... minor league sports team owners don't get it, to my amazement, that ticket sales are the life blood of the team.. They're already scared they're going to lose a quarter of a million dollars they haven't got, so they don't want to spend money on front office payroll..
Free advice to prospective team owners: The most important person in that front office isn't the owner, or the coach, it's whomever's in charge of SELLING TICKETS.
But instead of ticket sales, the owner thinks that getting money from the business community is what matters.. but then the companies realize there won't be people in the stands, so the businesses don't get involved.. so while the team owner was counting on $50,000 or $100,000 in corporate money, they're lucky to get $5,000... and all the time they spent trying to build up support in the business community was time wasted, and your ticket sales are a fifth of what they could have been had you focused on that instead..
So now you're in year one and your number 1 revenue stream (tickets) is at 20% of what it could have been, number 2 (concessions) is at $0 because the venue took it all, and number 3 (corporate) at 5-10% of what you were counting on - and worse because your attendance is low you won't be able to convince businesses to become sponsors in year two..
And in 80% of the cases, there is no year two.. in some cases, year one isn't completed.
As for Troy, my personal opinion (and it's a GUESS) is they'll return to junior hockey next year, so don't go drawing up any pro league plans that involve them.
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