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NHL Fan Interest in Cities that Lie Between existing NHL cities

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Old
12-10-2011, 01:15 PM
  #1
MoreOrr
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NHL Fan Interest in Cities that Lie Between existing NHL cities

Not sure if this topic has a sufficient purpose for the Business Board, but a thread on the Main Board is asking about fan interest in NHL teams that lie between two NHL cities. In that thread, posters seem most focused on small-town Canadian cities, but I'm curious to expand it to larger population areas that could to some degree possibly support an NHL team.

Now, this could be looked at as purely an Expansion location possibility thread, but I'd rather it be focused on data or information that people can post directly related to how actual NHL teams are followed in the cities we're potentially considering here. What kind of an NHL fan-base actually currently exists in these cities? Is there a significant following of certain NHL teams?

This is the list I came up with in the other thread:

Milwaukee (Chicago - Minnesota)
Indianapolis (Columbus - Chicago)
Louisville (Columbus - Nashville - Chicago)
Baltimore (Washington - Philadelphia)
Salt Lake City (Colorado - Phoenix)
Tulsa (Dallas - St Louis)
Hampton Roads (Carolina - Washington)

I'll include these:
Hamilton (Toronto - Buffalo)
Hartford (Boston - Islanders - Rangers)
Atlanta (Carolina - Nashville)
But I think interest in the NHL is already an established fact in those places, so more talk about them may not serve much purpose.

A place like Seattle could also be included, though it doesn't quite fit the idea of the thread as there isn't an obvious NHL fan-base to compete with Vancouver in the Seattle area. Nevertheless, the amount of interest in the Canucks that exists in Seattle is a meaningful consideration.
I suppose the same could be considered for Kansas City.

So, I'm starting here only with the topic. If the Mods think it has some value, then whoever has info to post...

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12-10-2011, 02:19 PM
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No Fun Shogun
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I'd be mostly inclined to agree with you, except Indianapolis. Blackhawks and Blues are the biggest fanbases in that city (not that that's saying much, really....) and the BJs aren't even thought of.

And I'd have to imagine that Louisville fans would also be much more inclined to follow the Blues instead of Columbus, too.... and Chicago has more of a lockdown on Milwaukee, I think.

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12-10-2011, 02:36 PM
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In-betweenies?. Take your pick...


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12-10-2011, 02:50 PM
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So that's where they filmed Clerks....

And that's all that's worse than Detroit? Newark would like a word with you.

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12-10-2011, 02:58 PM
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Well yeah... and if you take a look at the demographic in south Florida you'd think Orlando would be absolutely ideal no?.

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12-10-2011, 03:36 PM
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People in Orlando are scarcely even aware of what hockey is, let alone that there are NHL teams in Miami and Tampa.

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12-10-2011, 03:39 PM
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There's a map kicking around these threads somewhere which apparently shows NHL-team fan interest in as it's spread around the US (perhaps Canada also, I don't remember). It would be a noce addition here, but more so I'm seeking some kind of estimate of actual numbers of NHL fans in these "in-between cities". Probably quite hard to come by.

Found it:


Last edited by MoreOrr: 12-10-2011 at 03:55 PM.
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Old
12-10-2011, 03:58 PM
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Phil Parent
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The most popular team in Florida is probably the Habs, because of people from here spending the winter down there. Habs have solid support through Canada, and a smattering in California too, because of the number of people from here who live there to work in the gaming industry.

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Old
12-10-2011, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreOrr View Post
Not sure if this topic has a sufficient purpose for the Business Board, but a thread on the Main Board is asking about fan interest in NHL teams that lie between two NHL cities. In that thread, posters seem most focused on small-town Canadian cities, but I'm curious to expand it to larger population areas that could to some degree possibly support an NHL team.

Now, this could be looked at as purely an Expansion location possibility thread, but I'd rather it be focused on data or information that people can post directly related to how actual NHL teams are followed in the cities we're potentially considering here. What kind of an NHL fan-base actually currently exists in these cities? Is there a significant following of certain NHL teams?

This is the list I came up with in the other thread:

Milwaukee (Chicago - Minnesota)
Indianapolis (Columbus - Chicago)
Louisville (Columbus - Nashville - Chicago)
Baltimore (Washington - Philadelphia)
Salt Lake City (Colorado - Phoenix)
Tulsa (Dallas - St Louis)
Hampton Roads (Carolina - Washington)

I'll include these:
Hamilton (Toronto - Buffalo)
Hartford (Boston - Islanders - Rangers)
Atlanta (Carolina - Nashville)
But I think interest in the NHL is already an established fact in those places, so more talk about them may not serve much purpose.

A place like Seattle could also be included, though it doesn't quite fit the idea of the thread as there isn't an obvious NHL fan-base to compete with Vancouver in the Seattle area. Nevertheless, the amount of interest in the Canucks that exists in Seattle is a meaningful consideration.
I suppose the same could be considered for Kansas City.

So, I'm starting here only with the topic. If the Mods think it has some value, then whoever has info to post...
These "interest in so and so sport" always seem like kinda of a stretch to me.

Take me for example, I live in Washington. I don't watch much hockey but do keep up on what's hip in the sports scene. Growing up, the Capitals didn't seem like much of a attraction in the 90s. Now they are the second hottest ticket in town.

I am not sure about their history, but all I do know is that historically it's been the Redskins and everyone else in this town. Now it's different. One because the redskins suck, two because the Caps are good now.

Would you say it's a "traditional" or "natural" hockey market? I don't think so, despite the Caps popularity now. If we didn't have a hockey team here, I can guarantee you that aside from a few new comers for blue blood hockey markets, no one would be into the sport here.

It also helps that we have a TON of cash.

It's hard to make judgments on these places sort of some sort of survey. Hampton Roads is the biggest metro in VA, but my NOVA side of the DC area is bigger than it on it's own. Could it financially support a hockey team? Dunno (don't think so). If there is pro sport interest downstate, they pretty much piggy back on Washington teams.

Baltimore is interesting, it's in between very lucrative markets. So maybe it could work maybe it couldn't.

Generally speaking though, Southern expansion is rocky because of lack of hockey culture. I assume that there is more of an interest in places like Boston, Detroit and Chicago because of history of pro teams and the sport itself amongst the populace.

Also, in general the old maxim is, if the team doesn't show up, the fans won't. It's the same for every sport, but especially for things that are not football (save for a few markets).

Adding to that, if there isn't a local team (save for the NFL) it's not likely that a sizable amount of peeps in the metro would follow it save for some die hards. And considering the small amount of die hard NHL fans in the US relative to those of other sports, you can imagine how high interest would be in an area that does not have it's own team.

Also if there were more of an interest in NHL in those places, ratings would likely be better for national matchups, similar to how they are for basketball or college football. It's not just people in the South watching the SEC on CBS you know.

That's not to say it could not work, look at Dallas for example. But it's a tough market out there.

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Old
12-10-2011, 09:11 PM
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I live in Cleveland. Here's the breakdown I've noticed here:

#1: Pittsburgh Penguins - most of the native Clevelander hockey fans and a small population of Pittsburgh ex-pats.

#2: Detroit Red Wings - a few natives, but mostly ex-Detroiters now living in Cleveland.

#3: Columbus Blue Jackets - most of the remaining native hockey fans. mostly people (like myself) who are also Browns and Buckeyes fans and can't bring ourselves to cheer for a team from Pittsburgh or Michigan.

#4: Colorado Avalanche - a few natives who will cheer for whoever the local AHL team's parent club is.

#5 Buffalo Sabres - ex-Buffalo residents and a few natives

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Old
12-11-2011, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Parent View Post
The most popular team in Florida is probably the Habs, because of people from here spending the winter down there. Habs have solid support through Canada, and a smattering in California too, because of the number of people from here who live there to work in the gaming industry.
The Canadiens have fans everywhere, because they're the Montreal Canadiens and have won 24 Stanley Cups. Christopher Higgins was a Canadiens fan as a kid and may not have stepped foot in Montreal until he played for them.

Or yours truly - born and raised in the Quebecois town of....San Francisco.

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12-11-2011, 10:56 AM
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People in Indianapolis don't care about hockey. Hell..they only care about their own teams when they are good. No one cared about the colts before Peyton and no one cares about the Pacers post Reggie Miller era. It's a college sports state, where Notre Dame football and IU basketball will always reign supreme.

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12-11-2011, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Parent View Post
The most popular team in Florida is probably the Habs, because of people from here spending the winter down there. Habs have solid support through Canada, and a smattering in California too, because of the number of people from here who live there to work in the gaming industry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HabsByTheBay View Post
The Canadiens have fans everywhere, because they're the Montreal Canadiens and have won 24 Stanley Cups. Christopher Higgins was a Canadiens fan as a kid and may not have stepped foot in Montreal until he played for them.

Or yours truly - born and raised in the Quebecois town of....San Francisco.
I have to disagree. I know when the Wings travel to other US markets (heck, even some Canadian ones), they have a huge following. There are many NHL'ers who have said a visit from the Wings feels like home game for Detroit.

With Florida specifically, because it is a retiree and snowbird destination, you get a heck of a lot traditional market fans. I made this comment in another thread, but the eastern side of Florida drew people from the north who would travel down I-95. The Gulf side of Florida drew Midwesterners, who would travel down I-75 (with I-65 feeding into I-75). You have not only Quebecois and Maritimers, but Massachusetts, NY, PA, NJ, CT residents (snowbirds/retirees) who all want to escape the northern winter. On the Gulf side, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, western PA & NY, and Southern Ontario (including TO) preferred the Gulf side. (My parents are Gulf Coast retirees, and over the years that I've personally visiting that part of Florida, innumerable times, I've met a ton of Torontonians. In fact, my parents just sold their house to some snowbirds from Toronto.)

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12-11-2011, 02:34 PM
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I would guess there's more Minnesota fans than Chicago fans in Milwaukee based on our hatred of Chicago and getting Wild games (all of them so far this year) on Fox Sports Wisconsin.

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12-11-2011, 02:58 PM
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Atlanta is a booming market with an arena ready.

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12-11-2011, 03:56 PM
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Atlanta is a booming market with an arena ready.
And no willing owners unless Arthur Blank steps in or Anson Carter's group returns.

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12-11-2011, 05:11 PM
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I would say Baltimore is mostly Caps fans, though the some of the outer suburbs to the north of the city may lean Flyers.

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12-12-2011, 01:47 PM
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I can't see Atlanta ever getting an NHL team again. Losing two franchises to Canada will make the League very cautious about any proposals coming out of Georgia.

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12-12-2011, 02:16 PM
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Georgia is Canada's best friend!

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12-12-2011, 02:41 PM
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I think Baltimore could be a very viable market. I know as soon as you cross from DE into MD you automatically start only getting Caps games on local TV, most of the people north and even partly into Baltimore are Philly fans or don't care though. To be honest I'm surprised that it's never even had a chance to have a team yet it seems like a logical market to try to expand to.

An illogical but interesting one I'd like to throw out their is New Orleans. I know its far south and I know it had an ECHL team that failed but I think NO is a good sports town that could get behind a team even if it is hockey. I've met quite a few people from a lot of interesting places that have an interest in the sport at the very least from very southern non traditional places.

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12-12-2011, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PALE PWNR View Post
I think Baltimore could be a very viable market. I know as soon as you cross from DE into MD you automatically start only getting Caps games on local TV, most of the people north and even partly into Baltimore are Philly fans or don't care though. To be honest I'm surprised that it's never even had a chance to have a team yet it seems like a logical market to try to expand to.

An illogical but interesting one I'd like to throw out their is New Orleans. I know its far south and I know it had an ECHL team that failed but I think NO is a good sports town that could get behind a team even if it is hockey. I've met quite a few people from a lot of interesting places that have an interest in the sport at the very least from very southern non traditional places.
Baltimore, is too close to DC, AND EVEN WHEN Washington was the affiliate, it failed three different times no matter whom the affiliate or owner is, and there's no way unless another arena is built, that Baltimore is stuck.... add in Norfolk is on the other side of that....

New Orleans cannot even get ownership despite attempts by Shinn and/or the NBA TO GATHER interest in the franchise to why tht market cannot attract an owner there.... and the city isn't back to 80% of WHERE IT HAD been prior to Katrina...

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12-12-2011, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemurion View Post
I can't see Atlanta ever getting an NHL team again. Losing two franchises to Canada will make the League very cautious about any proposals coming out of Georgia.
Why would it matter that the franchises were lost to Canada?

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12-12-2011, 03:03 PM
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Baltimore, is too close to DC, AND EVEN WHEN Washington was the affiliate, it failed three different times no matter whom the affiliate or owner is, and there's no way unless another arena is built, that Baltimore is stuck.... add in Norfolk is on the other side of that....

New Orleans cannot even get ownership despite attempts by Shinn and/or the NBA TO GATHER interest in the franchise to why tht market cannot attract an owner there.... and the city isn't back to 80% of WHERE IT HAD been prior to Katrina...
I really don't think you can gauge interest on an NHL team based on what prior affiliates in the AHL or ECHL teams have done. Sure it helps to have that base, but it's like comparing Arena Football to the NFL. The interest is in having a proffessional team. Baltimore and DC are close but its like saying LA and ANH are close.

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12-12-2011, 04:48 PM
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Why would it matter that the franchises were lost to Canada?
It doesn't matter, but it did happen, so there's no need to cherry-pick two words out of his whole sentence to try and start a whole different argument.

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12-12-2011, 04:50 PM
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Why would it matter that the franchises were lost to Canada?
Because it works directly against the League's goal of increasing the sport's viability in the US.

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