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Spreadsheet of cities' ability to support professional sports

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Old
01-02-2012, 02:22 PM
  #26
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Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
This not a bash on Winnipeg fans as we've seen it work in Minnesota where a city that undersupported lost its team before and has come back stronger then ever, mind you MSP is a larger market but it's still a good correlation to use. But the question remains as to how that will hold up long term, especially if the team runs into difficulty in remaining competitively viable. Time's the only thing that will prove this hypothesis right or wrong since it's still the new thing in town and will likely be seeing that reflected in attendance at least into next season.
My prediction is that Winnipeg's fanbase for support will mimick that of Edmonton and Calgary, same ups and downs. So whatever trends you will see in those cities, you will see in Winnipeg. Bottom line is that Winnipeggers won't stop supporting their team anymore that other small market Canadian teams. I'd bet my life on it.

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01-02-2012, 02:26 PM
  #27
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I didn't utter the words "Hartford", "Whalers", or anything else that would indicate a great concern for cities in Connecticut. However, I'll bite on the important issues.

Hartford had a pretty successful team in the WHA, then a less-than-stellar NHL team. But it's important to note that, even in the best of times, Hartford suffered from mediocre attendance. They never had good season ticket numbers, and even when the Whalers were hitting the breaking point of "support us or we're moving", there wasn't much in response to the ultimatum. The benchmark of 14,000 season tickets was a pipe dream; Hartford had never hit 14K in a year or 14K equivalents. Peter Karmanos actually talked about moving the team to Columbus and housing the team in a temporary arena (converted from an abandoned aircraft hangar) until a permanent one was built. A "Save the Whalers" rally in 1996, much promoted and featuring player appearances, drew 400 people.

If the Whalers had been as well-supported as people claim, they never would have left. Instead, as is the case with pretty much any other lost cause, there's a revision of the historical record that makes it sound like the Big Bad Karmanos unjustly stole the Whalers out of their packed arena. That's not the case.

Now then, to your original question...I don't know, and I honestly don't care. I know that if I had the money for an NHL team, Hartford wouldn't be on my short list of locations. But that's just me, and I'm one of a small number that takes my opinions seriously.
Imagine Columbus playing in Delaware or Dubin or Marysvile. And multiply that by 4.

That's the Phoenix problem.

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01-02-2012, 02:29 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
I didn't utter the words "Hartford", "Whalers", or anything else that would indicate a great concern for cities in Connecticut. However, I'll bite on the important issues.

Hartford had a pretty successful team in the WHA, then a less-than-stellar NHL team. But it's important to note that, even in the best of times, Hartford suffered from mediocre attendance. They never had good season ticket numbers, and even when the Whalers were hitting the breaking point of "support us or we're moving", there wasn't much in response to the ultimatum. The benchmark of 14,000 season tickets was a pipe dream; Hartford had never hit 14K in a year or 14K equivalents. Peter Karmanos actually talked about moving the team to Columbus and housing the team in a temporary arena (converted from an abandoned aircraft hangar) until a permanent one was built. A "Save the Whalers" rally in 1996, much promoted and featuring player appearances, drew 400 people.

If the Whalers had been as well-supported as people claim, they never would have left. Instead, as is the case with pretty much any other lost cause, there's a revision of the historical record that makes it sound like the Big Bad Karmanos unjustly stole the Whalers out of their packed arena. That's not the case.

Now then, to your original question...I don't know, and I honestly don't care. I know that if I had the money for an NHL team, Hartford wouldn't be on my short list of locations. But that's just me, and I'm one of a small number that takes my opinions seriously.
From what I've read, arena financing fell apart at the last minute when Karmanos surprised the city with wanting an additional $45 million he had not requested at any of the prior months' negotiations. I don't see why he'd do this unless he really had no intention of dealing in good faith wth Hartford and knew he always wanted the move.

I think the NHL has to give up on winning big markets like Phoenix and Atlanta where the game just is not part of the culture naturally. Phoenix could be put in maybe 4 cities that would not cost the NHL 30 million a year. I just think there's so much money in the NE where hockey is decently big that an arena should try to be worked out somwhere there.

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01-02-2012, 02:51 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by Melrose Munch View Post
Imagine Columbus playing in Delaware or Dubin or Marysvile. And multiply that by 4.

That's the Phoenix problem.
Dublin's not actually too bad; it'd be the central Ohio equivalent of Scottsdale. Delaware suffers thrice, because of its lack of population, its lack of money, and how inaccessible it is to Columbus. When my wife and I lived there, it was an hour to Nationwide despite only being about a 25-30 mile drive. Going down US-23 is 13 miles of hell...it's bumpy, it's two lanes in each direction, and I think there are 22 traffic lights between Delaware and being able to pick up I-270.

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From what I've read, arena financing fell apart at the last minute when Karmanos surprised the city with wanting an additional $45 million he had not requested at any of the prior months' negotiations. I don't see why he'd do this unless he really had no intention of dealing in good faith wth Hartford and knew he always wanted the move.

I think the NHL has to give up on winning big markets like Phoenix and Atlanta where the game just is not part of the culture naturally. Phoenix could be put in maybe 4 cities that would not cost the NHL 30 million a year. I just think there's so much money in the NE where hockey is decently big that an arena should try to be worked out somwhere there.
Okay, let's back up here.

Phoenix had a popular WHA team and a popular IHL team before a popular NHL team came along. Atlanta had a popular NHL team and a popular IHL team before a popular NHL team came along. I've said before that no modern NHL team has ever run into difficulty if there are a strong arena and a strong owner.

Phoenix has primarily suffered as a result of the arena. I've mentioned the AWA problems, which triggered its own waves of problems...this has had a significant negative impact on the value of the franchise, including the ability to find a buyer.

Atlanta's problems, both times, were ownership related. With the Flames, Terry Cousins didn't have the ability to withstand an economic downturn...as it turned out, a downturn in real estate (where he was heavily leveraged) crushed his bottom line. He also had a lease so unfavorable that the Omni would have had to have been twice its size and sold out every game in order to break even. That's a similiar situation that the Gund brothers had with the Richfield Coliseum. The modern issues with ASG have been very well documented.

My home state was once home to several NFL teams, and yet at one point just 25 years after the founding of the league (in Ohio) there were none. Why? Because the NFL grew up. Small towns were phased out in favor of larger cities...some folded, some moved (the Detroit Lions were originally the Portsmouth Spartans, for example), and so on. It's important to note that for a long time, pro football was seen as a barbaric game played by ruffians and criminals, not like the glorious college game played by gentlemen. But what you don't see is any talk of the NFL reverting back to a prior era. Atlanta and Phoenix and Tampa and Dallas can withstand a lot more than a small market can; don't forget that it wasn't just Winnipeg that was in substantial trouble simply as a result of an unfavorable exchange rate.

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01-02-2012, 03:04 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
Dublin's not actually too bad; it'd be the central Ohio equivalent of Scottsdale. Delaware suffers thrice, because of its lack of population, its lack of money, and how inaccessible it is to Columbus. When my wife and I lived there, it was an hour to Nationwide despite only being about a 25-30 mile drive. Going down US-23 is 13 miles of hell...it's bumpy, it's two lanes in each direction, and I think there are 22 traffic lights between Delaware and being able to pick up I-270.



Okay, let's back up here.

Phoenix had a popular WHA team and a popular IHL team before a popular NHL team came along. Atlanta had a popular NHL team and a popular IHL team before a popular NHL team came along. I've said before that no modern NHL team has ever run into difficulty if there are a strong arena and a strong owner.

Phoenix has primarily suffered as a result of the arena. I've mentioned the AWA problems, which triggered its own waves of problems...this has had a significant negative impact on the value of the franchise, including the ability to find a buyer.

Atlanta's problems, both times, were ownership related. With the Flames, Terry Cousins didn't have the ability to withstand an economic downturn...as it turned out, a downturn in real estate (where he was heavily leveraged) crushed his bottom line. He also had a lease so unfavorable that the Omni would have had to have been twice its size and sold out every game in order to break even. That's a similiar situation that the Gund brothers had with the Richfield Coliseum. The modern issues with ASG have been very well documented.

My home state was once home to several NFL teams, and yet at one point just 25 years after the founding of the league (in Ohio) there were none. Why? Because the NFL grew up. Small towns were phased out in favor of larger cities...some folded, some moved (the Detroit Lions were originally the Portsmouth Spartans, for example), and so on. It's important to note that for a long time, pro football was seen as a barbaric game played by ruffians and criminals, not like the glorious college game played by gentlemen. But what you don't see is any talk of the NFL reverting back to a prior era. Atlanta and Phoenix and Tampa and Dallas can withstand a lot more than a small market can; don't forget that it wasn't just Winnipeg that was in substantial trouble simply as a result of an unfavorable exchange rate.
I still do not understand then why the NHL ever advised Glendale to build them an arena that was located further away from the actual fanbase. The NHL gets to approve moves to other cities right? I remember there being doubts about moving to Glendale from the start.

With moves back to Winnipeg and looking at moves back to Quebec, I actually don't think the NHL has outgrown places like Hartford. The NHL needs to cut its losses in Phoenix, admit they approved a bad arena location, and move back north.

If Hartford gets the new arena, gets an owner that works with the city instead of making last minute demands of $45 million, how could Hartford not work over Glendale? People obviously see it as viable since they last bid on a team in 2007.

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01-02-2012, 03:46 PM
  #31
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I still do not understand then why the NHL ever advised Glendale to build them an arena that was located further away from the actual fanbase. The NHL gets to approve moves to other cities right? I remember there being doubts about moving to Glendale from the start.

With moves back to Winnipeg and looking at moves back to Quebec, I actually don't think the NHL has outgrown places like Hartford. The NHL needs to cut its losses in Phoenix, admit they approved a bad arena location, and move back north.

If Hartford gets the new arena, gets an owner that works with the city instead of making last minute demands of $45 million, how could Hartford not work over Glendale? People obviously see it as viable since they last bid on a team in 2007.
To be fair, it's not a question of "Hartford over Glendale". It's a question of "Why Hartford over Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Omaha, and several other cities?" To me, it's no different than the Hall of Fame debates that I love so much...it's not a question of "this marginal candidate over this enshrined guy who doesn't come close to meeting any real HOF standard", it's "why this marginal candidate over all of these others guys?" Whether a single city is or isn't or might be or might not be viable isn't the point. The question is whether it's the best city with all things considered.

Namely:
1) Is there a large population, whether within the city itself, the metro area, or the region.
2) In the event of a spread-out metro area or region, is there a traffic situation that draws a disproportionate number of people into the area (unique, among these cities, to Cleveland/Northeast Ohio)?
3) Is there a suitable arena? If not, is there one that is under construction?
4) Is there a favorable lease that would allow for wiggle room in case of a local, state, or national economic downturn?
5) Is there a monopoly on major non-hockey events, which would draw concert and other revenue into the venue? Would the hockey team or the hockey owner derive income for the team from these sources?
6) Is there a well-heeled owner? Does he have the ability to withstand a downturn in his own business or his primary income/wealth source? Is he absolutely committed to excellence?
7) Is there at least one additional owner in the event of something happening to the first choice if a team is awarded?
8) How diversified is the local economy? If there's a downturn in the primary industry, what would happen to the local populace? What if there's an extended downturn?
9) How many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered or otherwise heavily involved within the city, the metro area, and the region? Are they already heavily involved with other nearby teams?

That's a basic (but fair) litmus test.


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01-02-2012, 04:04 PM
  #32
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Houston just needs a good owner who actually has interest in hockey.

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01-02-2012, 04:07 PM
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Houston just needs a good owner who actually has interest in hockey.
This pretty much the argument for every potential franchise south of the mason dixon line. I should know, Atlanta used this argument twice and is going to use it a third time in the next 5 years. But we can't guarantee that owner will be long term.

Ted Turner liked the Thrashers, but he had to cut down on spending. He sold them to his son's group, who just didn't care.

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01-02-2012, 04:21 PM
  #34
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This pretty much the argument for every potential franchise south of the mason dixon line. I should know, Atlanta used this argument twice and is going to use it a third time in the next 5 years. But we can't guarantee that owner will be long term.

Ted Turner liked the Thrashers, but he had to cut down on spending. He sold them to his son's group, who just didn't care.
Five years? You really think that soon?

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01-02-2012, 04:39 PM
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Five years? You really think that soon?
If some of these teams don't get their finances in order, we're gonna be treated to a long period of musical franchise chairs.

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01-02-2012, 04:40 PM
  #36
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This pretty much the argument for every potential franchise south of the mason dixon line. I should know, Atlanta used this argument twice and is going to use it a third time in the next 5 years. But we can't guarantee that owner will be long term.

Ted Turner liked the Thrashers, but he had to cut down on spending. He sold them to his son's group, who just didn't care.
What sets Houston apart though, is several things. 6+ million people within an hour of the city; an NHL-ready arena that would compare with some of the best in the league (I've been all over Toyota Center); the interest is there, especially now with the way the Aeros have been playing; and we haven't really suffered much from the recession, unlike some other cities. Hockey is rapidly growing here, faster than it ever has before, and I can't imagine us not getting a team within the next 5-10 years, whether it be a relocation or expansion.

Atlanta's had two teams that both failed. They don't need, or deserve another one at the moment. At least not until they show more interest. I could actually see the Aeros moving to Atlanta if we were to get an NHL team, to help see if there's still potential.

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01-02-2012, 04:47 PM
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Houston just needs a good owner who actually has interest in hockey.
Yeah, the problem there is you only have 1 person to pick from since the Rockets owner is the only person allowed to run an NHL team out of the Toyota Centre.

And Atlanta should not get a team until they prove they support hockey through an AHL team like other cities have had to do.

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01-02-2012, 04:52 PM
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This not a bash on Winnipeg fans as we've seen it work in Minnesota where a city that undersupported lost its team before and has come back stronger then ever, mind you MSP is a larger market but it's still a good correlation to use. But the question remains as to how that will hold up long term, especially if the team runs into difficulty in remaining competitively viable. Time's the only thing that will prove this hypothesis right or wrong since it's still the new thing in town and will likely be seeing that reflected in attendance at least into next season.
The original Jet's were not "under supported" they left because of old arena with a terrible lease, local owner wanted out and no one wanted to buy, and the .63 Cdn dollar. I believe the value of our dollar is protected in the profit sharing system now.
Fan support never was and never will be an issue.

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01-02-2012, 05:20 PM
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This not a bash on Winnipeg fans as we've seen it work in Minnesota where a city that undersupported lost its team before and has come back stronger then ever, mind you MSP is a larger market but it's still a good correlation to use. But the question remains as to how that will hold up long term, especially if the team runs into difficulty in remaining competitively viable. Time's the only thing that will prove this hypothesis right or wrong since it's still the new thing in town and will likely be seeing that reflected in attendance at least into next season.
Is this a joke,do a little research maybe.MTSC is basically sold out for the next 5 years and had to cut off its waiting list.Boxes are also basically sold out for 10 years and have a large wait list.How is that going to reflect on attendance into next year or even the year after??? Under supported,the Jets had better attendance during their lame duck final season than some current teams are getting 15 years later.

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01-02-2012, 05:26 PM
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The original Jet's were not "under supported" they left because of old arena with a terrible lease, local owner wanted out and no one wanted to buy, and the .63 Cdn dollar. I believe the value of our dollar is protected in the profit sharing system now.
Take out the dollar and you have the Atlanta Flames moving to Calgary

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01-02-2012, 05:45 PM
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Atlanta's had two teams that both failed. They don't need, or deserve another one at the moment. At least not until they show more interest. I could actually see the Aeros moving to Atlanta if we were to get an NHL team, to help see if there's still potential.
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And Atlanta should not get a team until they prove they support hockey through an AHL team like other cities have had to do.
Atlanta had an IHL team that was extremely well supported, back when the IHL and the AHL were neck-and-neck as the top minor league. But if we're going to use that standard (support for the minors recently), then Quebec fails on both counts...they failed to support the IHL Rafales, as well as the AHL Citadelles.

Atlanta also more or less has an ECHL team (Gwinnett Gladiators) that is extremely well-supported. This would seem to indicate that hockey isn't the problem, but the clowns who just drove the Thrashers into the ground sure were.

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The original Jet's were not "under supported" they left because of old arena with a terrible lease, local owner wanted out and no one wanted to buy, and the .63 Cdn dollar. I believe the value of our dollar is protected in the profit sharing system now.
Fan support never was and never will be an issue.
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Is this a joke,do a little research maybe.MTSC is basically sold out for the next 5 years and had to cut off its waiting list.Boxes are also basically sold out for 10 years and have a large wait list.How is that going to reflect on attendance into next year or even the year after??? Under supported,the Jets had better attendance during their lame duck final season than some current teams are getting 15 years later.
The Jets, in their lame duck season, had better support than exactly two teams in the last 25 years.

The first is the Minnesota North Stars, who averaged less than 8,000 in 1990-91 (not a lame duck year). The second is Phoenix, who's basically been in lame duck limbo for the last two years in addition to this one.

However, it's important to note that the Coyotes in Scottsdale had better attendance, both in raw numbers and as a percentage, than Winnipeg did in several of their last seasons. This was despite the issues previously mentioned with sightlines.

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01-02-2012, 05:55 PM
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Don't forget the NHL used to count tickets SOLD not tickets distributed like they do now to inflate the attendance figures, I have been to several games in Glendale with attendance figures announced of over 14000, you could have shot off a cannon and not hit anybody maybe 6000 max! "well supported" at an average ticket price of $30 quickly adds up to massive losses!

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01-02-2012, 06:18 PM
  #43
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To be fair, it's not a question of "Hartford over Glendale". It's a question of "Why Hartford over Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Omaha, and several other cities?" To me, it's no different than the Hall of Fame debates that I love so much...it's not a question of "this marginal candidate over this enshrined guy who doesn't come close to meeting any real HOF standard", it's "why this marginal candidate over all of these others guys?" Whether a single city is or isn't or might be or might not be viable isn't the point. The question is whether it's the best city with all things considered.

Namely:
1) Is there a large population, whether within the city itself, the metro area, or the region.
2) In the event of a spread-out metro area or region, is there a traffic situation that draws a disproportionate number of people into the area (unique, among these cities, to Cleveland/Northeast Ohio)?
3) Is there a suitable arena? If not, is there one that is under construction?
4) Is there a favorable lease that would allow for wiggle room in case of a local, state, or national economic downturn?
5) Is there a monopoly on major non-hockey events, which would draw concert and other revenue into the venue? Would the hockey team or the hockey owner derive income for the team from these sources?
6) Is there a well-heeled owner? Does he have the ability to withstand a downturn in his own business or his primary income/wealth source? Is he absolutely committed to excellence?
7) Is there at least one additional owner in the event of something happening to the first choice if a team is awarded?
8) How diversified is the local economy? If there's a downturn in the primary industry, what would happen to the local populace? What if there's an extended downturn?
9) How many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered or otherwise heavily involved within the city, the metro area, and the region? Are they already heavily involved with other nearby teams?

That's a basic (but fair) litmus test.
1) Is there a sufficiently large population that cares about the product in question?

If the answer is "no" all the rest is a moot point.

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01-02-2012, 06:56 PM
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1) Is there a sufficiently large population that cares about the product in question?

If the answer is "no" all the rest is a moot point.
I don't think that's the case at all, nor is it truly a valid question. It's entirely speculative, and it strikes me as exactly the type of thing normally used to defend the idea that Moose Jaw would support an NHL team better than, say, Omaha.

If we start from the common idea that a city must support an AHL (or, previously, IHL) team, then we're forced to conclude that Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, and several other cities would potentially support an NHL team better than Quebec would. After all, Quebec lost the Rafales and the Citadelles. For that matter, Minnesota lost the Moose in between the North Stars and the Wild after just two seasons.

However, the other major issue is whether or not it truly matters where an NHL team ranks locally. There isn't one American NHL city, with the possible exception of Buffalo, that has that team as #1 locally. Everyone else sees their team fall behind local MLB, local NFL, or local NBA action. But if there are large numbers of casual fans, who buy either partial season ticket packages or even cheap full season packages, it's a much different story. A city like Atlanta or a region like Northeast Ohio can flourish with only 20% of the population even caring about the on-ice product; in both cases, that's over one million people.

The other assumption is that no one will grow into a hockey fan once a team is placed. As the growth numbers of USA Hockey (which I've posted repeatedly) demonstrate, the assumption that no one or very few will become hockey fans or participants isn't true. So the idea that 200,000 hockey fans in Saskatoon trumps a (purely speculative) 100,000 fans in Orlando wouldn't hold up, because there's substantial room to grow and vastly exceed that number.

I've already pointed out in this very thread that the opposition to the NFL used to be immense, particularly in areas where there was already penetration by the local college teams. The cities that really supported their teams all lacked major college ball. Los Angeles was the exception, and I might add that the Rams left a well-proven market in Cleveland (for weather reasons, I kid you not) for an area that was already serviced by USC and UCLA. They were helped by the presence of local legend Bob Waterfield, who in addition to being a future HOFer was also married to the famous actress Jane Russell. But now we're getting a bit further off topic than I'd like.

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01-02-2012, 07:05 PM
  #45
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Going off the litmus test, I would trust Hartford over Glendale with that criteria. The city has made two attempts to buy the Penguins and Predators in the last 5 years, both times resulting in those groups surviving from local buyers coming through. The XL Center lasts until 2013; Hartford then takes possession of the arena then. That is when they decide to tear down the 40 year old building or build a new arena for the NHL.

Based off the riches of the area and considering the region likes hockey and supports it an amateur level, I would prefer Hartford over Quebec or Glendale depending on what happens with their arena come 2013.

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01-02-2012, 07:05 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
I don't think that's the case at all, nor is it truly a valid question. It's entirely speculative, and it strikes me as exactly the type of thing normally used to defend the idea that Moose Jaw would support an NHL team better than, say, Omaha.
Atlanta says hi.

You can only grasp at the same straws so many times.

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01-02-2012, 07:10 PM
  #47
Mayor Bee
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Originally Posted by Thumper17 View Post
Atlanta says hi.

You can only grasp at the same straws so many times.
Atlanta's issues were 100% related to the ownership and arena issues, and since the owners also owned operating rights to the arena, they're basically one and the same. The first time around with the Flames, the issues were still ownership and arena, although they weren't one and the same.

Owner and arena are to Atlanta what slavery was in the United States from 1787 to 1865...if it wasn't the foremost issue at the time, it certainly had a funny way of manifesting itself in literally every single action that was made.

If Atlanta's market and fan base were the issues, why were the Knights so popular, and why have the Gladiators always been so popular?

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01-02-2012, 07:14 PM
  #48
TheMoreYouKnow
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
I don't think that's the case at all, nor is it truly a valid question. It's entirely speculative, and it strikes me as exactly the type of thing normally used to defend the idea that Moose Jaw would support an NHL team better than, say, Omaha.

If we start from the common idea that a city must support an AHL (or, previously, IHL) team, then we're forced to conclude that Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, and several other cities would potentially support an NHL team better than Quebec would. After all, Quebec lost the Rafales and the Citadelles. For that matter, Minnesota lost the Moose in between the North Stars and the Wild after just two seasons.

However, the other major issue is whether or not it truly matters where an NHL team ranks locally. There isn't one American NHL city, with the possible exception of Buffalo, that has that team as #1 locally. Everyone else sees their team fall behind local MLB, local NFL, or local NBA action. But if there are large numbers of casual fans, who buy either partial season ticket packages or even cheap full season packages, it's a much different story. A city like Atlanta or a region like Northeast Ohio can flourish with only 20% of the population even caring about the on-ice product; in both cases, that's over one million people.

The other assumption is that no one will grow into a hockey fan once a team is placed. As the growth numbers of USA Hockey (which I've posted repeatedly) demonstrate, the assumption that no one or very few will become hockey fans or participants isn't true. So the idea that 200,000 hockey fans in Saskatoon trumps a (purely speculative) 100,000 fans in Orlando wouldn't hold up, because there's substantial room to grow and vastly exceed that number.

I've already pointed out in this very thread that the opposition to the NFL used to be immense, particularly in areas where there was already penetration by the local college teams. The cities that really supported their teams all lacked major college ball. Los Angeles was the exception, and I might add that the Rams left a well-proven market in Cleveland (for weather reasons, I kid you not) for an area that was already serviced by USC and UCLA. They were helped by the presence of local legend Bob Waterfield, who in addition to being a future HOFer was also married to the famous actress Jane Russell. But now we're getting a bit further off topic than I'd like.
First of all, just because you can't necessarily quantify it in a spreadsheet doesn't mean it's not there. Any product but a sports product in particular needs to have a cultural resonance to be a success. You're quite literally better off opening a Taco Bell in an anonymous suburb of Dallas or Phoenix than in Rome or Paris in spite of all the money and people in the latter location.

I also think the idea that minor league success predicts major league success is deeply flawed as I believe the motivating factors are quite a bit different. Minor league sports market themselves as almost the exact opposite of what a major league like the NHL tries to achieve which is reflected by the pricing strategies.

Obviously there is a point where size matters - 1% of L.A. is still more people than Red Deer or Kelowna. I'm not even an advocate of Hartford or Quebec as I am not sure if they could maintain enough interest and support for a NHL team. I am more skeptical of the notion that a city just needs to hit a population and economic power threshold to be a viable market for a pro league.

I'll be quite honest, at the end of the day I'm an advocate of an 18-20 team NHL. The success of the English Premier League in expanding its popularity on a global scale with really only have a small number of 4-6 commercially interesting teams indicates to me that it's a fallacy to believe that you need a team in every possibly feasible city to succeed and that in fact there's almost no correlation between no. of teams and commercial success of a league.

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01-02-2012, 07:21 PM
  #49
pondnorth
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
Atlanta's issues were 100% related to the ownership and arena issues, and since the owners also owned operating rights to the arena, they're basically one and the same. The first time around with the Flames, the issues were still ownership and arena, although they weren't one and the same.

Owner and arena are to Atlanta what slavery was in the United States from 1787 to 1865...if it wasn't the foremost issue at the time, it certainly had a funny way of manifesting itself in literally every single action that was made.

If Atlanta's market and fan base were the issues, why were the Knights so popular, and why have the Gladiators always been so popular?
Because the cost to run them is peanuts compared to the NHL.Tickets cost 75% less so Atlanta is a minor league hockey market and there is nothing wrong with that.

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01-02-2012, 10:17 PM
  #50
barneyg
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Originally Posted by Mayor Bee View Post
If we start from the common idea that a city must support an AHL (or, previously, IHL) team, then we're forced to conclude that Houston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Phoenix, Orlando, and several other cities would potentially support an NHL team better than Quebec would. After all, Quebec lost the Rafales and the Citadelles. For that matter, Minnesota lost the Moose in between the North Stars and the Wild after just two seasons
Why should anyone start from that "common idea"? I am a bit confused here -- is this what you're advocating?

I can't see how anyone could use past (lack of) AHL/IHL support as an indicator of potential NHL success, and at the same time blame NHL failures on ownership/marketing/arena location.. A big reason why AHL/IHL franchises are (not) successful is ownership/marketing/arena location..

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