Why Paul Kelly thinks expansion would help end NHL lockout
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11-05-2012, 07:21 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: La Vieille Capitale
Originally Posted by
Actually it's three. Broken system yes. Bad franchises yes. But a question about the market in which a franchise operates, is a different question than one about how the franchise operates within that market. On this forum I've actually heard more of the former than the latter.
Take Phoenix as an example. Phoenix operates properly within the other three major league sports. The Cardinals and Diamondbacks have won titles, and the Suns are one of the better franchises in the NBA. None of these teams are the richest in their sport, but all of them are credible to get along as middle 10 teams at the worst. Clearly, if there's a problem here, it's not necessarily the market per se. And yet the fact that it's the Phoenix market that is the culprit is held as gospel by a lot of people who are convinced that their town would do better by the Yotes. They may not say that in so many words, but the tone of their arguments tends to STRONGLY imply it.
Also I'm not convinced that being southern is the problem. It doesn't really take a lot of knowledge about hockey to watch the sport and enjoy it. Heck, I knew nothing about it 6-7 years ago when I fell in love with the game and I still don't know as much as I'd like, but I know good sports entertainment when I watch it, and hockey is the most watchable product in televised sports in my not so humble opinion. Least amount of time spent doing nothing but watching players line up of all the Big Four. You ought to be able to market that game to enough people like me to keep going while attending a hockey game gets to be a habit.
Also it's not like Southern markets haven't taken to the NHL. Tampa Bay is more or less successful as an NHL market. No one's talking about moving Dallas. Carolina and Nashville struggle at times, but get by for the most part.
So no, evidence toesn't really point to southern-ness being the problem per se. There's a certain Canadian jingoistic nationalism that suggests that the failure of Atlanta, and the struggles of Phoenix (and to a lesser extent Florida, Nashville and Carolina) prove that the American experiment has failed, but there's plenty of counterexamples to give the lie to Southern-ness or American-ness -- to the market itself -- being a culprit in the high profile failures.
No, the real issue is that the franchises in Phoenix and Atlanta were horribly mismanaged, and given poor direction at a time during their histories when they needed the best possible leadership. It was the FRANCHISE, and decisions made at the level of that franchise, that were the problem. The problem was not with the market per se, except in the minds of a handful of Canadian nationalists who can't accept that American markets 4 or 5 times their home city's size need to be tried on to see if an NHL franchise will fit there before their particular local failed experiment is reattempted.
Sometime these franchises have been mismanaged, sometime they won cups(Dallas, Tampa, Carolina). But at the end of day, they are weak markets. Dallas has maintained good teams every year, yet have nothing to show for as far as attendances. Nashville do what they can with what they have, in fact they have a great organization and the fans show up but they are losing money and can't get their hands on an owner willing to spend money, nobody in that region is interested.
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