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Contraction a necessary evil for survival of NHL says economist

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Old
11-30-2012, 07:19 PM
  #101
Multimoodia
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Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
If contraction ever did happen it would only be 2 teams tops. Phoenix is a guarantee and then you look at the dynamics... I would say Florida/Tampa is a good option. 2 teams in a market that struggles for all sports other than basketball (for obvious reasons) and in a very non-traditional hockey market. Even with teams like Columbus, St. Louis etc. struggling money wise, you know they can turn a profit given the right circumstances. I don't think the same can be said for Phoenix or for Florida/Tampa with any consistency.
Which I do believe is a fair statement as both of the places seem to have a very large percentage of transplants anyway. They would likely need two full generations instead of one and one wonders if waiting 50 years to create fans is too long (probably is) for the NHL model.

My point is I have read several opinions noting the NHL should contract more than simply two as removing only two will not ensure health for the league. I think such opinions are rather short-sighted as is the term "non traditional" as there are franchises in such locations which are or should be turning profit.

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11-30-2012, 08:20 PM
  #102
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I don't think contraction would ever be a decision where some panel just goes "You over there. You are out because it's a bad market!"As long as there is an owner willing to operate a team or someone willing to buy the team there is no need to even consider contraction. Only when neither is the case, then you can consider it. I wouldn't even consider it for Phoenix at the moment because you could probably find someone willing to buy them and move them to Seattle or Quebec.

Sports league used to have contraction quite regularly in the old days, teams simply went broke and stopped playing. That's how the league "contracted" to the Original Six in the first place. European soccer still sees it today all the time, teams go bankrupt and disappear. Soccer just has an automatic mechanism to replace such teams through the pyramid promotion/relegation system.

The thing is that the NHL has developed a mechanism where they can avoid this problem by simply "downsizing" their league another way - CBA negotiations. But there is of course a legitimate chance here that even the next CBA doesn't protect teams from getting into dire straits. I think there's obviously a choice here, you can have 32 teams with a relatively low fixed salary structure, an extreme focus on parity. In other words, you can move it toward a minor league structure. Or you can have a smaller league with higher salaries, more competition, more talent density.

The former poses the problem that we don't know if it may harm the sport overall (if even a star NHL player's earnings are considerably below those of NFL/NBA/MLB/European soccer players, more talented athletes may choose other sports) and the league could be hit by defections to European hockey or at some point a rival start-up league.

The latter of course means less "local" NHL hockey for less people, some cities and thus some fan bases would lose their teams and some NHL players/coaches would lose their jobs.

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11-30-2012, 09:33 PM
  #103
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Originally Posted by Top 6 Spaling View Post
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.
97.5 is good but the preds still get a 10 million subsidy from the city that could dry up. I like the press and hope they succeed but if their continued existence depends on the continued largesse of local Tennessee politicians, then this does not bode well. With only 2.5 % of seats unsold if you are going to substantially increase revenues this means Higher ticket prices which I do not know if your market will support.

I agree that it takes time to grow the game and nsh has done a better job than most. The question is how long do you give a franchise to establish a stable market ? It seems that the answer from many small market fans is perpetually "one more year". No one likes the notion of possibility of losing their team but aside from situations like Atlanta where the ownership walked away from the team,at what point does persistent failure in the stands indicates failed market ?

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11-30-2012, 09:35 PM
  #104
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I am not going to get into an argument over what markets don't deserve a team (I do enough of that on the Phoenix thread) but as long as QC, Hamilton, and Seattle are empty and the GTA only has one team contraction doesn't make sense. You also have KC, Portland, and Cleveland as second tier options since they have appropriate facilities that you can put a team in for a few years to give it a shot.

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11-30-2012, 09:36 PM
  #105
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People are forgetting contraction can be used as a threat against the players to bend to demand.

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11-30-2012, 10:17 PM
  #106
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Originally Posted by aqib View Post
I am not going to get into an argument over what markets don't deserve a team (I do enough of that on the Phoenix thread) but as long as QC, Hamilton, and Seattle are empty and the GTA only has one team contraction doesn't make sense. You also have KC, Portland, and Cleveland as second tier options since they have appropriate facilities that you can put a team in for a few years to give it a shot.
To that list, add Houston and Milwaukee as well. Houston in particular is a first tier contender the moment they decide to climb into the ring -- they already have a suitable venue and are a market of more than sufficient size to warrant attention. If there was reported interest by a potential owner, I'd put them right beside Quebec as one of the two most likely expansion targets.

As an oddball throw-in, don't leave without considering Baltimore as well, they've proven in other sports that they can support a pro team independent of the Washington market.

The point is that for every team in any danger at all of actually being moved (rather than just some set of fans turning their nose up at another team's turnout and saying they SHOULD be moved) there's 3 markets willing to climb into the NHL if they can get a franchise. It's ridiculous to even suggest contraction in that environment, especially since you have at least 12 of our current 30 teams that are consistent contenders in some form or another. That doesn't sound like a diluted talent pool to me.

I thought I heard some bring bulb seriously considering contracting the Lightning. Seriously guys? The Lightning are one of the crown jewels of the southern expansion. Don't lump them in with Florida's struggles. If for some oddball reason you actually did have to have only one team in Florida, it WOULD be the Lightning. No question.


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11-30-2012, 10:24 PM
  #107
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
People are forgetting contraction can be used as a threat against the players to bend to demand.
Don't see it. Contraction is an incredibly empty threat because the players association can see pretty clearly that there is no particular need, cause, or purpose, to be found in contraction as opposed to relocation.

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11-30-2012, 10:25 PM
  #108
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As a fan it would be great. Better depth, better hockey.

Losing the worst 40 or so players in the league would be a great thing.

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11-30-2012, 10:31 PM
  #109
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I'd agree if depth were even a problem. it isn't. Not even close. Players good enough to get by on a third line are festering in AHL affiliates around the league as it stands right now. I can think of about 3 guys who are scheduled to break camp in Providence if the season ever started, that someone should be giving a chance to.

If your team is so incompetent or so miserly it can't assemble a high level of both talent and depth, then the problem isn't a diluted league. The problem is it's a poorly run team.

A diluted league would look like the opposite of the current NHL situation. If there wasn't a lot of talent to go around most of it would be on the big money franchises for the obvious reason that the big markets are the ones that bring prestige, alternate revenue sources, and A Chance To Win. So if there's not enough talent to go around in any really meaningful sense, you know that's true when you see the richest teams loaded with talent and dynasties galore, and about 25 noncontenders. Kind of like the NBA these days.

What we see instead is about 24 teams in any given year, going into January with a shot to fight their way into the playoffs, and many lower seeded teams advancing a round or two -- or at least putting up the kind of fight the Senators last year, and the Canadiens the year before, made against higher seeded squads.

That means that 24 teams in any given year can assemble enough talent to go to war with the best other teams in the league with a puncher's chance of winning. That kind of talent being available even to the mediocre market is a pretty good sign that the last thing our talent level is, is diluted.


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11-30-2012, 10:45 PM
  #110
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Originally Posted by Dojji View Post
I'd agree if depth were even a problem. it isn't. Not even close. Players good enough to get by on a third line are festering in AHL affiliates around the league as it stands right now. I can think of about 3 guys who are scheduled to break camp in Providence if the season ever started, that someone should be giving a chance to.

If your team is so incompetent or so miserly it can't assemble a high level of both talent and depth, then the problem isn't a diluted league. The problem is it's a poorly run team.
Tell me who leads centers in ice-time for the Nashville Predators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, and Calgary Flames, because if the league doesn't have a problem with depth, surely at least one of these teams has a legitimate no.1 center (one of if not the deepest position in the league today.)
Quote:
A diluted league would look like the opposite of the current NHL situation. If there wasn't a lot of talent to go around most of it would be on the big money franchises for obvious reasons. You would see the richest teams loaded with talent and dynasties galore, and about 25 noncontenders. Kind of like the NBA these days.
Of course, there's the salary cap which one could argue enforces disparity amongst the league.
Quote:
What we see instead is about 24 teams in any given year, going into January with a shot to fight their way into the playoffs and many lower seeded teams advancing a round or two. That means that 24 teams in any given year can assemble enough talent to go to war with the best other teams in the league with a puncher's chance of winning. That kind of talent being available even to the mediocre market is a pretty good sign that the last thing our talent level is, is diluted.
The Loser Point helps. It doesn't change the order of seeding, necessarily, but those late season, down to the wire, runs might not be a thing without it (or with the 3 point system.)

All in all, awful.

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11-30-2012, 10:51 PM
  #111
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I am not going to get into an argument over what markets don't deserve a team (I do enough of that on the Phoenix thread) but as long as QC, Hamilton, and Seattle are empty and the GTA only has one team contraction doesn't make sense. You also have KC, Portland, and Cleveland as second tier options since they have appropriate facilities that you can put a team in for a few years to give it a shot.
What does kc have besides an arena without a primary tenant ? If portland and Cleveland are in the same tier, this does not bode well.

And contrary to your desires, if a team that has been in existance for more than a decade and has never turned a cent in profit or whose profits are buoyed by local subsidies, I think discussions of whether that market deserves a team is the responsible question to ask, far more responsible than blindly throwing money at it hoping for a miraculous reversal of fortunes.

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11-30-2012, 10:57 PM
  #112
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I agree that it takes time to grow the game and nsh has done a better job than most. The question is how long do you give a franchise to establish a stable market ? It seems that the answer from many small market fans is perpetually "one more year". No one likes the notion of possibility of losing their team but aside from situations like Atlanta where the ownership walked away from the team,at what point does persistent failure in the stands indicates failed market ?
Honestly, I believe that with the right ownership, and (reasonablly sized) market can support an NHL team. Including Phoenix. The question is, at what point does the cost of getting it to a hockey market outweigh the benefit?

Cities I think can support teams: Quebec City, Markham/Toronto/whatever, Seattle, Houston, Milwaukee, Kansas City

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11-30-2012, 11:12 PM
  #113
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Here is my biggest problem with this article taken right from the source.

If, say, Florida, Phoenix and Anaheim move northwards, that would greatly reduce the biggest globs of red ink losses from the NHL. Then, say, the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Buffalo Sabres – also all losing $10-million-plus – improve their businesses and benefit from some increased revenue sharing. Combined, the NHL as a financial enterprise would be considerably strengthened.

Who is this Todd Jewell, NHL Owners, NHL Players, stupid northern fans to say who moves and who doesnt and who gets to benefit. Why should we kill Anaheim to save the Islanders? Who makes that decision? Does it seem fair? Absolutely not.

Also as i brought up in another thread the disparity between rich and poor team mirrors the disparity between rich and poor people in America. The numbers are startling similar. Why in the nhl is it ok for team genocide to occur when in Canada or in America the rich are asked to support the poor. Hypocrisy at its finest.

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11-30-2012, 11:15 PM
  #114
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The owners don't want it, because it would cost them money to buy the franchise, limit the chances of a big TV contract in the future, and wouldn't solve the problem of other teams who don't make a profit. The players don't want it, because that would be 46 less players with a job. If neither side wants it, then it will never happen.

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11-30-2012, 11:29 PM
  #115
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The NHL doesn't need to lose teams to be successful. If they relocate some of the 'loser' teams to viable markets then the league can surely survive with 30 teams or even more. Markets like Quebec City, Seattle, Houston, Hamilton, Milwaukee and a second team in Toronto could all be very successful financially. And if the Phoenix deal goes through we won't have to worry about them for the next 20 or so years.

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11-30-2012, 11:31 PM
  #116
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Originally Posted by PanthersHockey1 View Post
Here is my biggest problem with this article taken right from the source.

If, say, Florida, Phoenix and Anaheim move northwards, that would greatly reduce the biggest globs of red ink losses from the NHL. Then, say, the New York Islanders, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Buffalo Sabres also all losing $10-million-plus improve their businesses and benefit from some increased revenue sharing. Combined, the NHL as a financial enterprise would be considerably strengthened.

Who is this Todd Jewell, NHL Owners, NHL Players, stupid northern fans to say who moves and who doesnt and who gets to benefit. Why should we kill Anaheim to save the Islanders? Who makes that decision? Does it seem fair? Absolutely not.

Also as i brought up in another thread the disparity between rich and poor team mirrors the disparity between rich and poor people in America. The numbers are startling similar. Why in the nhl is it ok for team genocide to occur when in Canada or in America the rich are asked to support the poor. Hypocrisy at its finest.
Florida is fine. In seriousness, any team not matter what location that has problems after this CBA is done in 2015 (yeah I said it) should be gone.

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11-30-2012, 11:33 PM
  #117
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Don't see it. Contraction is an incredibly empty threat because the players association can see pretty clearly that there is no particular need, cause, or purpose, to be found in contraction as opposed to relocation.
Owners can say losing money is not worth it and unless all players take a roll back, some can lose jobs. It's incredibly scummy but I can see it happen.

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11-30-2012, 11:35 PM
  #118
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I really think expansion is the solution. Throw two teams in Quebec City/Markham/Seattle/Milwaukee/KC. They make money, which means a bigger revenue sharing pool. NHLPA gets 45 more jobs, so they're happy. NHL gets more revenue, so they're happy.

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12-01-2012, 12:25 AM
  #119
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What does kc have besides an arena without a primary tenant ? If portland and Cleveland are in the same tier, this does not bode well.

And contrary to your desires, if a team that has been in existance for more than a decade and has never turned a cent in profit or whose profits are buoyed by local subsidies, I think discussions of whether that market deserves a team is the responsible question to ask, far more responsible than blindly throwing money at it hoping for a miraculous reversal of fortunes.
KC, Cleveland, and Portland are all markets that have suitable facilities but would be a roll of the dice as far whether or not they would be good hockey markets. So if you had a team in a truly dire situation it wouldn't be the worst idea to move it into one of those markets (after QC, GTA2, Hamilton, and Seattle) are squared away as opposed to contraction

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12-01-2012, 01:43 AM
  #120
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I'd agree if depth were even a problem. it isn't. Not even close. Players good enough to get by on a third line are festering in AHL affiliates around the league as it stands right now. I can think of about 3 guys who are scheduled to break camp in Providence if the season ever started, that someone should be giving a chance to.

If your team is so incompetent or so miserly it can't assemble a high level of both talent and depth, then the problem isn't a diluted league. The problem is it's a poorly run team.

A diluted league would look like the opposite of the current NHL situation. If there wasn't a lot of talent to go around most of it would be on the big money franchises for the obvious reason that the big markets are the ones that bring prestige, alternate revenue sources, and A Chance To Win. So if there's not enough talent to go around in any really meaningful sense, you know that's true when you see the richest teams loaded with talent and dynasties galore, and about 25 noncontenders. Kind of like the NBA these days.

What we see instead is about 24 teams in any given year, going into January with a shot to fight their way into the playoffs, and many lower seeded teams advancing a round or two -- or at least putting up the kind of fight the Senators last year, and the Canadiens the year before, made against higher seeded squads.

That means that 24 teams in any given year can assemble enough talent to go to war with the best other teams in the league with a puncher's chance of winning. That kind of talent being available even to the mediocre market is a pretty good sign that the last thing our talent level is, is diluted.
Depth isnt a problem? LOL. Maybe for scrubs. Top 6 quality talent is the worst I've ever seen it across the league.

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12-01-2012, 01:51 AM
  #121
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After everything we have gone through, if the league starts to contract, I'll be pissed off. It doesn't take an economist to figure out that this labour dispute is all about who is going to foot the bill for the weaker teams.

The disparity in interest and revenue make the NHL a unique league in north america. If all of a sudden, they contract teams, then this whole labour dispute was all for not. That would leave anyone fuming.

Its certainly frustrating, but since we are already going through the pains of trying to grow, you might as well see it all the way through.

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12-01-2012, 01:55 AM
  #122
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Depth isnt a problem? LOL. Maybe for scrubs. Top 6 quality talent is the worst I've ever seen it across the league.
I would argue that the depth is better today than it was a decade ago. That's an issue that isn't brought up as much as it used to be. That may partly have to do with the the fact that they eliminated some clutching and grabbing since then, but I think the depth really gets compromised in the times where we have new expansion teams being phased in, which was the case a little over a decade ago with teams like atlanta and columbus coming in.

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12-01-2012, 02:15 AM
  #123
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You're not going to pull out of big US markets to go to medium-sized Canadian ones if you're the NHL right now.
It's already happened. Atlanta moved to Winnepeg

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12-01-2012, 07:28 AM
  #124
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KC, Cleveland, and Portland are all markets that have suitable facilities but would be a roll of the dice as far whether or not they would be good hockey markets. So if you had a team in a truly dire situation it wouldn't be the worst idea to move it into one of those markets (after QC, GTA2, Hamilton, and Seattle) are squared away as opposed to contraction
But atlanta had suitable facilities and a much larger market and went south because ownership waked away from the team. A viable hockey market is a hell of a lot more than an arena and a large population base, you need good ownership or you get boots if not lets expand to Mexico city.

The idea that lets roll the dice and throw a team into another non traditional market and hope for the best is precisely what got us into this mess. I think right now there are two viable markets for relocation, Quebec and Toronto 2. Then probably Seattle if the dual use arena goes forward and I'd guess the odds of it establishing a viable maker at 3:1. I think every other place is a crapshoot.

And for the people who say that they deserve a team because they are passionate fans and love their team, the same argument could be made for places like halifax which probably has more diehard hockey fans than Phoenix, but they are not in any conversation for relocation because there just aren't enough people to support a team there.

I don't think contraction is likely but if Quebec and Toronto 2 get filled the good markets dry up and moving a struggling non traditional market team to another untested non traditional market is a lateral move at best.

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12-01-2012, 09:20 AM
  #125
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There are like 3 guys that can score 100 points. We used to have at least 6 or 7.

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