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10-21-2013, 01:13 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Edmonton
Country: Canada
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Originally Posted by Tad Mikowsky View Post
If season ticket holders honestly think they are forced to buy tickets to save the team, then they have ego issues and a huge sense of entitlement.
Ahhh, time for a look back at not-so-recent history.

1995-96 was a brutal season for the Oilers, and Edmonton overall, in many respects. The price of oil was under $20 a barrel. A far different job market than we know today. The complete opposite of a boom. Houses that are selling for half a million today could be had for $100k. The Canadian dollar was worth about 70 cents US.

After a lockout the previous season fans weren't eager to pay to see a terrible Oilers team - they would finish with 68 points. Kelly Buchberger was the captain?! The season ticket base had fallen to 6,200. They would average under 12,500 fans a night.

The Nordiques had already relocated. The Jets were in the midst of moving and Hartford was a season away from relocating. It looked like the Oilers would go the way of the other WHA teams.

The Oilers were placed into receivership. Cal Nichols (future head of the Edmonton Investors Group) lead a season ticket drive to keep the team in town. He appealed to fans to help save the team because it was a very real possibility the team would move if the dismal attendance continued. No one would invest in keeping the team in Edmonton (or loan money for a purchase of the team) with such dismal attendance figures.

The ticket drive was hugely successful. Yet, the team still almost moved. A sale had been arranged to relocate the team to Houston.

ATB had taken the team over from Peter Pocklington as part of bankruptcy proceedings. They received a $120 Million offer to move the team to Houston from the owner of the Rockets. ATB agreed to sell the team to the EIG for $100 Million. Nichols had arranged for loans of $40 Million so needed $60 Million in cash to keep the team in town. At the time of the Houston offer the EIG had $50 Million in cash.

Getting that last $50 Million in a weak economy was tough. Probably wouldn't have happened if a lot of fans who bought tickets as a means of helping save the team simply stayed at home and watched on tv.

It wasn't a matter of ego or entitlement. It was the reality of the situation.

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