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A question about going to a new market [mod: viability of Saskatoon for a NHL team]

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01-16-2013, 12:15 AM
  #1
Auror
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A question about going to a new market [mod: viability of Saskatoon for a NHL team]

First before I want to start, I want to make sure that this is NOT intended to start a pissing war. I just want to clarify on why some people stand by their opinion, this kind of discussion is all over different threads so it is difficult to keep track.

Keep in mind, I do agree that there are certain markets that deserve a shot at getting a team first, for sure. (Such as Seattle, GTA, QC, for example).

But what I would like to know is why, that there are some people that is absolutely against the idea of a certain place getting a team, and even would consider league contraction before putting a team there.

I am talking about Saskatchewan.

Granted, Sask would end up being the smallest market, but how would that mean they will be worse than some certain existing markets that is bleeding money year after year and people are fighting tooth and nail to convince others that these teams should stay in those markets, and LOL'ed at the idea of Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan may be a small market, but they are booming, growing fast, and have a extremely strong hockey community there and they do have large corporations.

Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders CFL team for example. They are in the smallest market of the CFL league, yet they are one of, if not the top in fan attendance and revenue generation.
I got this info from a forum, which provided a link (which unfortunately is broken)
Saskatchewan - Revenue: $22.9 million; operating expense: $21.1 million; profit: $1.73 million
Edmonton - Revenue: $13.86 million; expenses: $13.63 million; profit: $229,054
Winnipeg - Revenue: $13.1 million; expenses: $13.3 million; loss: $264,000

Again, I should clarify, I don't think Saskatchewan should be one of the first places to consider for relocation or expansion right now. There are other markets that should get them first, like I mentioned earlier. The only question I have right here, is why is Saskatchewan being shot down so fast, dismissed, LOL'ed at, etc. (Or consider reducing teams for the NHL), when Saskatchewan does have a strong economy and does have a considerably larger hockey fanbase when you compare it to some certain markets. Their WHL attendance is comparable to other places considerably larger than them. They even have equal or higher attendance than Seattle or Portland.

I just don't believe that looking strictly at city or metro population is a good indication of a good place to put a team there, because population /= people that would support NHL, which has already been proven in certain markets. Otherwise the Roughriders should be near the bottom in the CFL fan/revenues.

I'm just open for a nice, open discussion, not a pissing contest for "this place is better than yours AINEC"


Last edited by mouser: 01-16-2013 at 10:03 PM.
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01-16-2013, 12:19 AM
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Football is different. The Riders only played once a week. Sure you could fill up the Brandt Centre for a weekend game. I'd travel to Saskatoon to see an NHL game. The thing to worry about is the week days, or afternoon games when the people who would be at the game are working and/or can't travel. I'd travel to Saskatoon to catch a game, but not when I had class the same or next day.

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01-16-2013, 12:15 PM
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There's "low population" like the situation in Winnipeg, and then there's "low population" as in "eclipsed by US college towns every Saturday during football season". Regina and/or Saskatoon both fall into that latter category.

There's also a question of corporate support, although I can't speak authoritatively on that one as I'm unaware as to what opportunities would be there. The size, however, suggests "not enough by a long shot".

Seriously, Winnipeg required what amounts to an out-of-town sugar daddy to be possible, and they're something like three or four times the size. I just don't see how it's feasible.

That said, the lack of a team there at any leagues lower than that - the AHL, in particular, comes to mind - strikes me as something of an oversight. Then again, folks may be waiting to see if Abbotsford manages to stick around, considering how far west Saskatchewan is relative to the rest of the league.

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01-16-2013, 12:45 PM
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Even though hockey is a gate receipt driven league, one of the factors the league is going to consider is going to be metro population for TV contract reasons


Quote:
Saskatchewan - Revenue: $22.9 million; operating expense: $21.1 million; profit: $1.73 million
Edmonton - Revenue: $13.86 million; expenses: $13.63 million; profit: $229,054
Winnipeg - Revenue: $13.1 million; expenses: $13.3 million; loss: $264,000
My first question with this would be, how many other pro teams does the metro area have? Are the Roughriders "the only game in town?

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01-16-2013, 12:48 PM
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The population of the entire province is just over 1 million, and only about 200,000 in Regina.

As the guy above said, the Riders only play once a week and people come from all over. That wouldn't happen several times a week for an NHL team.

The most expensive tickets for the Riders are $72... which would probably a similar price for the cheapest tickets for an NHL team.

I just don't think there is enough people and its too expensive.

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01-16-2013, 12:53 PM
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Winnipeg/Quebec City are pretty much the smallest you can go for a viable pro sports franchise without some other overriding factor. Even then, it helps to be the only game in town. The NBA's equivalent of Winnipeg/Edmonton etc. would be Oklahoma City/Portland. They are hoops-crazy towns with no much in the way of competition from other pro sports. Similarly small markets such as New Orleans are floundering in the face of competition, in this case from the Saints.

Some would point to the Green Bay Packers as an example of the big team/small city thing working. The only reason the Green Bay Packers and Saskatchewan Roughriders work as franchises is the fact that those two teams are so embedded in local culture they could never go away. Life revolves around these teams in the cities, similarly to college football in places like Alabama. As mentioned before, additionally these small city teams work better in football than hockey because games are a once a week event, not a day in and day out thing. People can drive in from the rural hinterland to attend a game every Sunday, not so much 4 times a week.

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01-16-2013, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MartysBetterThanYou View Post

Some would point to the Green Bay Packers as an example of the big team/small city thing working. The only reason the Green Bay Packers and Saskatchewan Roughriders work as franchises is the fact that those two teams are so embedded in local culture they could never go away. Life revolves around these teams in the cities, similarly to college football in places like Alabama. As mentioned before, additionally these small city teams work better in football than hockey because games are a once a week event, not a day in and day out thing. People can drive in from the rural hinterland to attend a game every Sunday, not so much 4 times a week.
The Packers are a unique example because they don't have one owner. Fans own the stock for the team and all of the profits go back in to the team which guarantees long term viability and that it won't move.

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01-16-2013, 01:03 PM
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Give it 20-30 years and we'll see how things stand. At the moment, Saskatoon and Regina both have a very long long way to go before they can be considered targets for NHL expansion.

You say that the province has large corporations, but I don't see enough that can really support a team. Could you elaborate?

I don't think that it's appropriate to compare 9 home football games on weekends to 41 home games for hockey that include many weekday games.

The fact that whichever city the team is put in is three hours away from the closest significant metropolitan area also poses a problem.

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01-16-2013, 01:04 PM
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As the guy above said, the Riders only play once a week and people come from all over.
And don't forget: the Riders play in the summer. Saskatchewan winters can be pretty nasty. It's one thing to plan a road trip to see the Riders play on a nice summer weekend, another thing entirely to make the trek when it's 20 below zero (or worse) and blowing snow on a weeknight.

No, Saskatchewan isn't viable for an NHL team. Full stop.

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01-16-2013, 03:21 PM
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If you combine Regina and Saskatoon their population is still half that of Winnipeg. Simply put, they need more people before they get a team.

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01-16-2013, 03:26 PM
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Your number are definitely old, but on topic the only way I could see it happening relatively soon would be wait 5-10 years, split home games between the two cities

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01-16-2013, 03:34 PM
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fwiw, usask just announced layoffs. the boom days in saskatoon seem to be coming to a bit of a soft landing.

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01-16-2013, 03:44 PM
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Oh, is it time for another Saskatchewan thread already?


this cannot work in a league like the NHL where there are multiple home games a week in the dead of winter, period.

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01-16-2013, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auror View Post
First before I want to start, I want to make sure that this is NOT intended to start a pissing war. I just want to clarify on why some people stand by their opinion, this kind of discussion is all over different threads so it is difficult to keep track.

Keep in mind, I do agree that there are certain markets that deserve a shot at getting a team first, for sure. (Such as Seattle, GTA, QC, for example).

But what I would like to know is why, that there are some people that is absolutely against the idea of a certain place getting a team, and even would consider league contraction before putting a team there.

I am talking about Saskatchewan
.
I request clarification. Are you asking this question in general, and using Saskatchewan only as an example? Or are you really primarily focused on Saskatchewan and wondering why people here so often turn down talk of expansion to Saskatchewan as an undoable? Clarification please!

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01-16-2013, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by saskriders View Post
Your number are definitely old, but on topic the only way I could see it happening relatively soon would be wait 5-10 years, split home games between the two cities
This is pretty much never a good idea in pro sports

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01-16-2013, 07:14 PM
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Seriously, Winnipeg required what amounts to an out-of-town sugar daddy to be possible
No. Winnipeg required was amounts to being a VIABLE MARKET (through years of attendance from the Moose) to be possible. The "Sugardaddy" thing was just a bonus.

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01-16-2013, 07:33 PM
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The population just isn't enough right now. With a 20k seat stadium you'd need like 9% do the entire population to show up for games.

Best case scenario the enthusiasm in Winnipeg for the Jets lessens a little over the years and makes it logical for a few games to be played in Regina or Saskatoon to help expand the fan base. Still pretty unlikely.

But didn't Saskatoon make a bid to buy the Blues at one time?

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01-16-2013, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post
There's "low population" like the situation in Winnipeg, and then there's "low population" as in "eclipsed by US college towns every Saturday during football season". Regina and/or Saskatoon both fall into that latter category.

There's also a question of corporate support, although I can't speak authoritatively on that one as I'm unaware as to what opportunities would be there. The size, however, suggests "not enough by a long shot".

Seriously, Winnipeg required what amounts to an out-of-town sugar daddy to be possible, and they're something like three or four times the size. I just don't see how it's feasible.

That said, the lack of a team there at any leagues lower than that - the AHL, in particular, comes to mind - strikes me as something of an oversight. Then again, folks may be waiting to see if Abbotsford manages to stick around, considering how far west Saskatchewan is relative to the rest of the league.
Mark Chipman,co-owner of the Winnipeg Jets is the main reason why the Jets came back.Thomson is partner and the Jets made money in their 1st year back.The basic model is solid and they have just scratched the surface.

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01-16-2013, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post
There's "low population" like the situation in Winnipeg, and then there's "low population" as in "eclipsed by US college towns every Saturday during football season". Regina and/or Saskatoon both fall into that latter category.

There's also a question of corporate support, although I can't speak authoritatively on that one as I'm unaware as to what opportunities would be there. The size, however, suggests "not enough by a long shot".

Seriously, Winnipeg required what amounts to an out-of-town sugar daddy to be possible, and they're something like three or four times the size. I just don't see how it's feasible.

That said, the lack of a team there at any leagues lower than that - the AHL, in particular, comes to mind - strikes me as something of an oversight. Then again, folks may be waiting to see if Abbotsford manages to stick around, considering how far west Saskatchewan is relative to the rest of the league.
Nope, Mark Chipman owned the Manitoba Moose and looked into having a downtown arena, the closed down building in a downtown lot owned by David Thomson was the perfect place so the two got together and built a strong partnership. Thomson has been working in Winnipeg thru the Hudson Bay Co., and he isn't just an "out of town sugar daddy".

The Jets were made possible by: The MTS Centre, TNSE and the background of owning a pro hockey team, Winnipeg - being the only viable option at that time, and the availability of a franchise.

TNSE have been talking to the NHL for several years, before the whole Phoenix/Atlanta or whatever city was flubbing to have a team.

You've been educated.

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01-16-2013, 08:27 PM
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The Packers are a unique example because they don't have one owner. Fans own the stock for the team and all of the profits go back in to the team which guarantees long term viability and that it won't move.
They also have the city of Milwakuee to draw fans from and used to play half of their home games there

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01-16-2013, 08:32 PM
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Nope, Mark Chipman owned the Manitoba Moose and looked into having a downtown arena, the closed down building in a downtown lot owned by David Thomson was the perfect place so the two got together and built a strong partnership. Thomson has been working in Winnipeg thru the Hudson Bay Co., and he isn't just an "out of town sugar daddy".

The Jets were made possible by: The MTS Centre, TNSE and the background of owning a pro hockey team, Winnipeg - being the only viable option at that time, and the availability of a franchise.

TNSE have been talking to the NHL for several years, before the whole Phoenix/Atlanta or whatever city was flubbing to have a team.

You've been educated.
Regardless of what his business connections are with Winnipeg, it's extremely hard to see the Jets flying home without Thomson's largesse.

I'm very thankful for that as I've been wanting the Jets to return to Winnipeg since the moment they left, but the Jets aren't there if Thomson is out of the picture.

Saskatchewan...it's too small, period. Winnipeg is the absolute minimum size for a market to have a team in the NHL. I don't care about how well they support the Riders; the Riders play only once a week, on the weekend, during the summer. Let's see how many people are going to be making the drive from Lloydminster to Saskatoon on a Wednesday night in January.

Maybe some day they will be large enough for that to happen, but they're going to have to triple in size for it to be realistic.

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01-16-2013, 11:05 PM
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For Saskatoon, even before addressing the market, a whole new arena will be required. The existing barn, while having enough seating, would never support the kind of revenues required to run an NHL franchise. Only if a potential owner thought that hurdle could be crossed would they even contemplate anything there, even then it would have to be based on some VERY aggressive growth expectations for the province. Uranium, potash and underground bitumen can only get you so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Viqsi View Post

Seriously, Winnipeg required what amounts to an out-of-town sugar daddy to be possible, and they're something like three or four times the size. I just don't see how it's feasible.
Yeahhhhh, I see what you're getting at, but you're a little off the mark there. I wouldn't call it sugar daddy, but whatever, if you're interested in learning a little more there's lots written about his involvement in TNSE and how it went from a multi-headed monster a-la Edmonton's former ownership group to the current Chipman/Tompson partnership.

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01-17-2013, 12:19 AM
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Regardless of what his business connections are with Winnipeg, it's extremely hard to see the Jets flying home without Thomson's largesse.

I'm very thankful for that as I've been wanting the Jets to return to Winnipeg since the moment they left, but the Jets aren't there if Thomson is out of the picture.

Saskatchewan...it's too small, period. Winnipeg is the absolute minimum size for a market to have a team in the NHL. I don't care about how well they support the Riders; the Riders play only once a week, on the weekend, during the summer. Let's see how many people are going to be making the drive from Lloydminster to Saskatoon on a Wednesday night in January.

Maybe some day they will be large enough for that to happen, but they're going to have to triple in size for it to be realistic.
What did I just say?

"The Jets were made possible by: The MTS Centre, TNSE and the background of owning a pro hockey team, Winnipeg - being the only viable option at that time, and the availability of a franchise."

All of those things. Sure Thomson would have been there, but there wouldn't be an arena if it wasn't needed for TNSE's hockey team. And Winnipeg wouldn't have been looked at as a potential market if we didn't have a team, and no team would've moved if Atlanta wasn't for sale. All those things worked in their own time, to come together and make a wonderful story. The end.

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01-17-2013, 12:36 AM
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The population of the entire province is just over 1 million, and only about 200,000 in Regina.

As the guy above said, the Riders only play once a week and people come from all over. That wouldn't happen several times a week for an NHL team.

The most expensive tickets for the Riders are $72... which would probably a similar price for the cheapest tickets for an NHL team.

I just don't think there is enough people and its too expensive.
I would love to see a team in Sask but empty seats at the WJC during Canada games looked like the market is soft when the ticket prices are high. I hope that I would be wrong with NHL hockey.

It could be 25 years before Saskatoon gets a team. Sorry Regina.

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01-17-2013, 01:33 AM
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The population just isn't enough right now. With a 20k seat stadium you'd need like 9% do the entire population to show up for games.

Best case scenario the enthusiasm in Winnipeg for the Jets lessens a little over the years and makes it logical for a few games to be played in Regina or Saskatoon to help expand the fan base. Still pretty unlikely.

But didn't Saskatoon make a bid to buy the Blues at one time?
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