Contraction a necessary evil for survival of NHL says economist
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11-30-2012, 05:51 PM
...in the drink
Join Date: Aug 2002
Originally Posted by
Top 6 Spaling
Bad word choice, I didn't mean "might". I meant it in the same way a coach says "We may have lost the game, but we played hard." Obviously there are less fans, it's just the tense of the word there. But minor details. Obviously I know there are less die-hards.
I don't take contraction talk as an attack against me personally, I, just like you, am voicing my view on the subject. It's no different. I am firmly against contraction because I know that an NHL team does a whole lot more than just play 41 games a night there. Four years ago, Atlanta sponsored three travel teams per age level. They are now down to one (that I know of at least). It kills youth hockey. Also, as SoundGarden said, it hurts tourism. Downtown Nashville bars get a ridiculous amount of revenue from fans, home and away, and I'm sure other teams have similar relationships with local business.
For the record, as mentioned early, Nashville ranked #20 in attendance at 97.5% filled last year. Not bad.
My point is this: You have to let it grow. As you said, it is the responsibility of me - and other small market fans - to grow the game, but going downtown and shouting "Go buy Preds tickets!" won't work. It is a long process. As soon as I have kids, I will be taking them to games, getting them to play youth hockey, etc., but a city becoming a hockey town doesn't happen over night. Right now, many markets are going through growing pains. The hard part is figured out which ones need a few years to mature and which ones are truly just not going to work.
I think that, with the ownership they had, Atlanta was doomed to fail. No problem with moving them, as much as it sucked for Atlanta fans. Phoenix...it's close, and if they are relocated/contracted, I honestly would understand and not be too up-in-arms. But uprooting a team with a consistently growing fanbase and strong community ties shouldn't be uprooted before it has a chance to grow.
At least half a dozen teams in the last decade had horrible/toxic ownership and many we're rumored to relocate (and in a couple other cases almost did). I felt horrible for the fans going through that, regardless if it was an established market or a relatively new one. I felt horrible when Winnipeg moved to Phoenix, when Quebec moved to Colorado. Regardless of how bad the owners were and/or how bad the situation that causes a franchise to move, I could never take such a casual approach to brushing off a team when they do move (even if the rational/pragmatic part of my brain tells me it was the correct choice).
In Atlanta's case, they were never even given a chance to grow; the owners didn't do one significant thing to promote/market the team or the sport. And as soon as they got legal control, they did everything legally possible to make sure the team was moved.
You do seem a bit contradictory in that regard but I agree with the point of giving a team time to grow. Too many people think that a franchise, if after only 10 years, isn't at or close to the level of other franchises that have been around for 30, 40, 60, 70 years; then they should close up show and move somewhere else. Building a true fanbase takes a generation; then you'll really start reaping the rewards when people who started following the new team as a kid, has kids of their own to take to games. That's a slimmed down view of what it takes to grow a franchise, many other factors come into play. But none of them can ever be accomplished after a decade.
The internet generation has no patience, so it's not surprising that the concept of giving something time to grow is foreign to many of them.
Last edited by cws: 11-30-2012 at
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