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How would these cities fare if they had an NHL team?

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Old
12-22-2011, 11:30 PM
  #1
HalbertGil*
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How would these cities fare if they had an NHL team?

I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana

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Old
12-22-2011, 11:37 PM
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Memphis is less than 2 million people and home to 3 Fortune 500 companies (Fedex, AutoZone, and International Paper). I'd wager every last dollar I have that an NHL team there would be a disaster.

Bismarck is in a state with a total population of less than 700,000. No need to go further than that.

Cheyenne is in a state with a total population of less than 600,000.

At absolute minimum, a city being considered for an NHL team would need the following.
1) An international airport.
2) A population of at absolute minimum 1,000,000 within a one-hour drive.
3) Either have such an incredible support already built in that success is all but guaranteed, or else have a lot of money within the immediate area to gobble up luxury seating. Four Fortune 500 company headquarters would be a good start.
4) An arena that can host concerts and possibly be able to house an indoor football team and/or a pro basketball team.

Obviously, there are a ton of cities in the United States and Canada that can easily hit all of those. Places like Cheyenne and Bismarck can't even hit these admittedly weak minimum standards.

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Old
12-22-2011, 11:41 PM
  #3
viper0220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana


They would suck and make no money. How would these two cities fair if they had an NHL team


Québec City
Southern Ontario(Hamilton, Markham etc)

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Old
12-23-2011, 12:03 AM
  #4
LadyStanley
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There is a recent thread on Seattle.

There are many threads (including many of the Phoenix threads with mentions) on Vegas.

There have been discussions that no additional city in Tennessee could support a team (too much football).

SLC has been discussed.

Wisconsin has been discussed.

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Old
12-23-2011, 12:28 AM
  #5
Killion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious...

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Seattle (no arena, no solid ownership group with the exception of Levin out of Chicago & owner of the AHL Wolves is apparently moderately serious) and possibly Indianapolis are the only two locations on that list that would even begin to meet the criteria required. Seattle's case can be found on the thread on this board, while Indy's never been seriously brought forward to the best of my knowledge.

As your probably no doubt aware, Indianapolis was home to the WHA Racers playing out of the now demolished Market Square Arena from 74-78. Owned by Nelson Skalbania, they are best remembered for being Gretzky & Messiers' first pro team, signed as 17yr olds, Gretzky on a Personal Services Contract for a reported $1.75M.

From all reports, the fan base in Indianapolis was extremely enthusiastic & pretty wild, packing the building, however, Skalbania, a notorious gentleman of dubious character wasnt able to keep it together & ran into financial difficulties through other activities & had to sell off some assets; namely Gretzky, Messier, Eddie Mio & a couple of others to Pocklington in Edmonton. The Racers shutting down shop a few weeks later.

Previously, their was a CPHL Red Wings farm team that played for 2 seasons in the early 60's in Indianapolis, however there building, the Pepsi Arena, was destroyed when a gas main exploded & they were relo'd out of state. Earlier still, the AHL Indianapolis Capitols played from 39-50'ish, winning a couple of Calder Cups. I cant find anything earlier, but as a mid-west state Im sure hockey of one sort or another goes back a lot farther than 1939.

I'll let someone else comment on population, demographics, corporate & media presence, employment stats, median household incomes, proximity to other NHL cities etc etc etc if they so wish, however instinctively, I dont think its terribly attractive nor really very viable. Almost comical though; the arena blowing up in 63 then being saddled with Nelson Skalbania, of all the Grifters to wind up with, owning your franchise. If it wasnt for bad luck they wouldnt have any luck at all. Nelson was the guy who facilitated & expedited the Atlanta Flames sale to Calgary, doubling up on local offers & thus insuring the first loss of the NHL in Georgia. Real swell guy.


Last edited by Killion: 12-23-2011 at 12:35 AM. Reason: typo
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Old
12-23-2011, 12:29 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Memphis
a) Not at all likely to get a team.
b) Would likely fail in very short order, due to relatively small population, low per capita income, and small corporate support.

Las Vegas
a) More likely than Memphis, but due to a combo of being hit hard by the recent recession, lack of a suitable arena, uneasiness of the league to directly deal with legal sports gambling, and lots of competition attractions and large percentage of the population working nights all work against Vegas getting a team.
b) Honestly have no clue if they'd be successful or not....

Salt Lake City
a) Somewhere between Vegas and Memphis in likelihood of getting a team. Growing market and fairly wealthy, but that being said still pretty small. Maybe in a few decades.
b) Now, probably wouldn't be successful. In a few decades though, SLC might very well become an attractive NHL city.

Bismarck
a) No chance on God's green earth. Way, way, way too small of a market.
b) Would fail due to a lack of people.

Seattle
a) Definitely in the NHL's sights, but not happening until a new arena is built.
b) I think that an NHL team would be successful in Seattle.

Cheyenne
a/b) See Bismarck.

Madison
a) Not likely..... heck, not likely anywhere in the entire state. Wisconsin's already an oversaturated sports market and would likely be unable to sustain another team, and putting a team in Madison would be like Columbus's situation on steroids. Badgers first, other teams in-state 2nd, and maybe an NHL team third.
b) Probably would fail due to lack of interest.

Indianapolis
a) Also not likely, due to it also being fairly oversaturated as a sports market, the fact that college hoops and the Colts are kings, and most Hoosiers just don't care at all about hockey. Might work as an AHL market, though.
b) Probably would fail due to lack of interest.

So of those, I'd say that only three could potentially get an NHL team (Vegas, Seattle, and Salt Lake City) in our lifetimes, but none are ready now.

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Old
12-23-2011, 12:34 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
At absolute minimum, a city being considered for an NHL team would need the following.
1) An international airport.
2) A population of at absolute minimum 1,000,000 within a one-hour drive.
3) Either have such an incredible support already built in that success is all but guaranteed, or else have a lot of money within the immediate area to gobble up luxury seating. Four Fortune 500 company headquarters would be a good start.
4) An arena that can host concerts and possibly be able to house an indoor football team and/or a pro basketball team.
Memphis has pretty much all of those things, but the FedEx Forum only seats about 11,000 for hockey, so unless it's Nashville's AHL team, it's probably not happening, and the Predators are pretty satisfied with their relationship with Milwaukee, so I don't expect any changes here soon.

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12-23-2011, 01:16 AM
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worstfaceoffmanever View Post
Memphis has pretty much all of those things, but the FedEx Forum only seats about 11,000 for hockey, so unless it's Nashville's AHL team, it's probably not happening, and the Predators are pretty satisfied with their relationship with Milwaukee, so I don't expect any changes here soon.
Well, keep in mind that my post only outlined the absolute, bare bones minimum to ever be considered for anything NHL-related. I think there are plenty of other obstacles that would prevent Memphis from ever warranting additional consideration...small metro area, not a ton of money, and no unique circumstances that would act as a positive on the ledger.

Also, Tiger High.

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Old
12-23-2011, 01:59 AM
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana
Memphis: No, not with a team in Nashville. They don't support their NBA team, it's a college sports town.
Las Vegas: Well, it'd be a risky investment. Considering Vegas has taken a beating during this depression (not a typo, that's what we are in, folks) I don't know if it's a risk worth taking. The gambling aspect has been neutered to an extent considering many states have now legalized casinos (including, just very recently, Massachusetts; can you believe it!?) But no, I wouldn't take the risk here.
Salt Lake: Yeah, might be worth it. A cold weather city, hosted the 2002 Olympics, has only one pro team right now. (And not that being a cold-weather city should be the sole arbiter of whether a city is deserving of a team, but it doesn't hurt.) To the best of my knowledge, Salt Lake only continues to grow, so this is a site the NHL should keep its eyes on. Would give Colorado a relatively 'local' rival.
Bismarck: I have no doubt a city like Bismarck would rally behind a major league pro team if they ever got one. But, they just don't have the numbers to make it work. Fargo, with it's big arena, might be a better option. Call them the Dakota Outlaws. But, even there, you still don't have a sufficient enough fan base to draw upon.
Seattle: Needs a hockey arena, and the people there are unwilling to build one. But, if one was built, it'd be a no-brainer. The first playoff series with Vancouver, and Seattle would 'get' hockey pretty quickly, I do suspect. Only drawback may be that the U.S. Pacific Northwest has a fair number of Canuck fans who may be unwilling to switch loyalties.
Cheyenne: See Bismarck. Just too small, and any hockey fans there are probably Avs fans.
Madison: Wisconsin probably should be fertile ground for NHL hockey, but it seems to be more of a college and high school hockey state than anything. Unless they had great ownership and direction, they would probably be in a situation similar to the Columbus Blue Jackets in short order. They'd make a logical rival for Columbus, though.
Indianapolis: This might work, especially if the Pacers aren't able to survive long term (and there has been doubt about that the past few years.) Built-in rivalries surround them at all points on the map. Do have a hockey history, including a brief tenure with Wayne Gretzky. Not sure how much that would matter to potential fans in Indiana, but take it for what it is. Cold weather state in the Upper Midwest. On paper, it should work. Reality may or may not be a different story. But, winners draw interest wherever they are. Indiana is supposed to be a basketball haven, but is there any doubt (this season being an aberration) that the football Colts are the kings of Indiana these days? Yeah, NHL hockey has the potential to work here.

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Old
12-23-2011, 02:35 AM
  #10
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Memphis - Really? There's a team in Nashville...I don't think anyone alive thinks Tennessee should have two teams, lest of all a city like Memphis that doesn't support their NBA team when they're firmly described as a basketball town. Throw in the fact they're 2:3 the scale of Nashville as it is and you have something that oculd only be described as a pipe dream.
Las Vegas - Nope. They may attract due to tourism, but that's it. Las Vegas has such a small base of people actually from there that you run into the same problems that have plagued Floridian and Arizonan teams for so long...finding a fan base that's actually going to root for the team and not the team from where they moved from...then throw in the political issues and the fact that it's still too small as things stand to support a team as it is and...nope. There are far worse options out there, I just don't don't see Las Vegas as a market that any league that takes itself seriously should aspire to capture.
Salt Lake City - Too small, not extremely hockey friendly, and a political disaster.
Bismarck - Alright now I'm just convinced you're looking at a map without doing any research...Grand Forks is the one that supports the hockey program and Fargo is the largest city and the one experiencing the economic boom...both double the size of the capital. North Dakota is way too small to support a team even if everyone was centralized...which it's not. We're talking about a U.S. state with a similar population of Saskatchewan and almost as equally spread out...this isn't possible.
Seattle - Yes, please. Once an arena is built...as it stands there's nothing there.
Cheyenne - Even more laughable than Bismarck. Missoula is bigger than Cheyenne for ****'s sake. Cheyenne is the 354th largest metropolitan area in the US...behind the powerhouses of Dubuque and Kokomo.
Madison - College town =/= pro town...especially when it comes to hockey. It's too small and the Green Bay Packers don't factor into things...a NHL team in Madison isn't going to have 80 years of history and a state-wide fan base to draw from overnight.
Indianapolis - Not a hockey market and too small.


Seattle is the only name up there that makes even the slightest bit of sense.

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Old
12-23-2011, 05:13 AM
  #11
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As far as relevance in the coming years, I think there's really only a small handful of markets that would garner some realistic consideration given a solid ownership group, and an NHL calibre arena (secured, if not already built). It should be noted that very few of these markets actually have all the ingredients in place. The few that do will definitely be the favorites for any relocation or expansion:

(in no particular order)

Grade A
Quebec City
Houston
Kansas City
SE Ontario/Hamilton/GTA
Seattle
Portland

QC is probably the safest and the most likely. Houston would be your high risk/high reward. I think an NBA -or- NHL team would work in KC, but it doesn't carry the same upside of a Houston.

I'm not rooting for the NHL's answer to the LA Clippers. If SE Ontario gets a new team, I hope it goes to a community with a strong sense of civic pride that runs independent from Toronto. Hamilton would be ideal. Regardless of how much another team in the area would really contribute to the growth of the game, I have little doubt that it would be a financial success.

I'm not as high on the NW as some people. IF Seattle can get a new arena, I think the Sonics would be coming back before anything else. I wouldn't put it past them to make both work, but that would be awfully saturated. Portland deserves another pro team, but I actually think MLB would be the better fit.

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12-23-2011, 05:25 AM
  #12
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Has Houston been talked about much in regards to an NHL team?

Might be a great location even if its non-traditional.

1) Houston Texans only moved to town this past decade and the city has supported them whole-heartedly.. shows they may do they same for an NHL team.

2) Toyota Center can easily fit an NHL rink and more than enough seating. I think I read 18,000 for hockey.

3) Couldn't find much on minor league teams in the area other than the Aeros.. which seems to get tons of fan support.

4) 4th most populated city in the U.S.

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12-23-2011, 06:02 AM
  #13
sushinsky4tsar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ANTONtario View Post
I realize some of these are very unlikely to ever get a team, but I'm just curious to know.
I'd like to know
a) how likely it is
b) how they would fare financially (fan interest, etc)
and anything else about hockey in relation to their city.

Memphis, Tennessee
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Bismarck, North Dakota
Seattle, Washington
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Madison, Wisconsin
Indianapolis, Indiana

I won't dignify Bismarck or Cheyenne. However, I would love to see Fargo get a crack at the AHL. Saskatoon too.

Memphis-
Would be about as successful as Louisville or New Orleans - NOT VERY!

Las Vegas-
The thought of a January roadtrip is a happy thought, but I don't see it.

Salt Lake City-
Better left as a one-sport town. There are worse option though.

Madison-
Interesting location in an affluent, northern market that isn't that much smaller than Winnipeg. They would have some supplemental help from Milwaukee and the rest of the state, but it's too small, especially with Badgers hockey already in town.

Indianapolis-
They have a fairly new arena that isn't viable for NHL configuration. It's not a terrible market, but I can't see them financing an NHL arena anytime soon.

It's all pie in the sky unless the owners decide we need a 48-team league by 2015. However, here are a few more you can promote ahead of Bismarck:

San Antonio
Austin
Grand Rapids
Omaha
Albuquerque
Boise
Spokane
Tulsa / Oklahoma City

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Old
12-23-2011, 07:04 AM
  #14
JohniusMaximus
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I'll touch on Memphis simply because that's the only city I have real knowledge about.

Not a chance. I'm surprised the Grizzlies are still there and that's one of "The Big Three" sports that dominates down here. Population wise, Nashville draws fans in from some decently populated surrounding counties (Rutherford, Wilson, Williamson, Sumner, Robertson, Montgomery and, to a lesser extent, Cheatham). In West TN you've pretty much got Jackson and Memphis as the main cities with the counties surrounding Shelby (Memphis) just not being all that ripe for fans. The draw wouldn't be nearly as good as Nashville.

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12-23-2011, 08:38 AM
  #15
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Thanks, I have to clean up the coffee I spit all over my monitor after I read Bismark. How about Pierre S.D. too then for a natural rivalry

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12-23-2011, 09:46 AM
  #16
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It's rather pointless to try to lump in this many cities in one thread. As LS pointed out upstream, several have their own threads; the remaining may or may not warrant a separate discussion.


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