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JD on the FAN yesterday

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Old
01-13-2005, 02:06 PM
  #1
Slewfoot
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JD on the FAN yesterday

Not suprising but JD didn't paint a rosy picture of the state of the NHL. He says that his 'gut' tells him that the NHL will not give in on the 'hard' cap . He feels that if there is no season at all this year that there is a good chance there will not be a season next year! He feels that if there isn't a deal by no later than 1/22/05 , the season will be lost. He has heard that the league would put the cutoff at a 36 game season. The 2 main feelings I got from the interview were JD's frustration that there has been so little negotiating and that the NHL will not be back until there is a hard cap.....

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01-13-2005, 04:04 PM
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Just curious as to what people think of rodent's article. I personally agree with the idea of a new league, because the NHl sux.. Bettman drove it into the ground. Just curious as to how pwople would feel if the players created their own league, that is fan friendly. here it is should anyone want to look at it. http://www.hockeyrodent.com/R1138.HTM

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01-13-2005, 04:08 PM
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The players are better off...

going with Bettman's hard cap than starting up their own league.

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01-13-2005, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burner10115
Just curious as to what people think of rodent's article. I personally agree with the idea of a new league, because the NHl sux.. Bettman drove it into the ground. Just curious as to how pwople would feel if the players created their own league, that is fan friendly. here it is should anyone want to look at it. http://www.hockeyrodent.com/R1138.HTM
It's near impossible to create a new league unless some of the owners decide to break ranks. The reason being is that the owners already control the leases (or own the buildings) of all the good spots to play. This is why the WHA should have toned down their approach and gone with something a little more modest...you can't just create a league out of nothing with nowhere to play in the major markets and expect to have success.

At best many of the players would be making pennies on the dollar that they would otherwise make in Europe or in an NHL with a cap.

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01-13-2005, 04:17 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
going with Bettman's hard cap than starting up their own league.
why??? then they'll just be slaves to the evil dictatorship called the NHL... did you read the article? because i thought the thought the idea of a new league sounded ridiculous, but when I read it it didn't sound so stupid.... Watching hockey change from what is used to be and what it is now is a shame... I say ******* the NHL!!!!

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01-13-2005, 04:23 PM
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Haven't read it...

but having read Rodent's articles in the past, I'm sure it's well-written and well though-out. Just the idea of trying to start up a new league sounds like something in which you'd meet a ton of obstacles. Revenues would take time to come through in large numbers. TV contracts, however putrid they currently are, would have to be re-negotiated. Then you need to go to current owners of clubs who operate the big arenas that will eventually attract the large audiences and negotiate leases. When it's all said and done, having a league where the average salary is only $1.2 million may not be so bad after all.

I should say this to: I'm not advocating signing up for the cap...but if there were two alternatives, one being a cap and the other starting a new league, I'd probably go for the cap.

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01-13-2005, 04:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish
It's near impossible to create a new league unless some of the owners decide to break ranks. The reason being is that the owners already control the leases (or own the buildings) of all the good spots to play. This is why the WHA should have toned down their approach and gone with something a little more modest...you can't just create a league out of nothing with nowhere to play in the major markets and expect to have success. At best many of the players would be making pennies on the dollar that they would otherwise make in Europe or in an NHL with a cap.
How so??? Aren't they losing their pennies??? They way the NHL is right now during this lockout; they're losing money. Owners might move away from the NHL if they did have the cash incentives to do it... If the players had the fortitude to do it, they would basically force the owners to part with the NHL.... because w/o any players, the NHL would have nothing. The NHl is nothing w/o the players

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01-13-2005, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fletch
I should say this to: I'm not advocating signing up for the cap...but if there were two alternatives, one being a cap and the other starting a new league, I'd probably go for the cap.
Rodent says, "the talent is the league", and I'd say he's right. If the NHL no longer has the monitary leverage to attract the best players in the world, then it's not the best league in the world. I'm not just talking about the ability to attract European players, but the ability to stop Canadian and American players from heading to Europe.

burner, the big obstacle is the infrastructure of the new league. It's going to be tough to position yourself as an NHL alternative when you've playing in, at best, a venue like the Hartford Civic Center. Tough to compete for sponsors with no TV deal.

The last "breakway league" I can think of was the XFL. Maybe some football fans can tell us if this is anything like what a new hockey league faces?

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01-13-2005, 04:41 PM
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The talent is the league...

that's not disputed. But if the NHL folds, a new league isn't taking its place and some players will go to Europe, some players will look for jobs, some will keep playing. They ain't getting the $1.2 million average salary for 700 players that they would've received under a hard cap. I don't like the hard cap idea, but it's better than starting up a new league, and you still have the ability to pay the stars more than if they were to play in foreign leagues.

And again...I'm not pro-cap.

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01-13-2005, 04:44 PM
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
Rodent says, "the talent is the league", and I'd say he's right. If the NHL no longer has the monitary leverage to attract the best players in the world, then it's not the best league in the world. I'm not just talking about the ability to attract European players, but the ability to stop Canadian and American players from heading to Europe.

burner, the big obstacle is the infrastructure of the new league. It's going to be tough to position yourself as an NHL alternative when you've playing in, at best, a venue like the Hartford Civic Center. Tough to compete for sponsors with no TV deal.

The last "breakway league" I can think of was the XFL. Maybe some football fans can tell us if this is anything like what a new hockey league faces?
Agreed. Infrastructure is the biggest tangible, but fans have the ultimate say in that. If the players created a fan friendly league, don't you think we would back it. A lease to an empty arena isn't worth it to an owner. It would have to start small, but with fan backing it would work. basically, a new league would be up to the players, and fan backing. These are 2 very big variables obviously, and my view is extremely optimistic, perhaps too much. But just out of curiosity, How many people would back a new league with rodent's outline???

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01-13-2005, 04:48 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burner10115
If the players had the fortitude to do it, they would basically force the owners to part with the NHL.... because w/o any players, the NHL would have nothing. The NHl is nothing w/o the players
And the reverse is also true. The players are nothing without the league. If these NHL players decided they would never play another NHL game again, what would happen? The NHL would be reconstituted in 2-3 years. The product would suffer over the short term but eventually the drafted youth and other players of quality would go to the NHL because that's where the money would be. Why is that where the money would be? Because that's where the buildings are. That's also where the brand name is, and brand name is what draws advertisers ... and fans.

Even with a two-year shutdown and a hard cap, NHL owners will be able to offer rookies, free agents, and disgruntled NHLPA members more than they could make in their own league. (And as a result many of the agents who normally support the PA would be urging their clients to go the NHL.) A player-owned league would take too many years to become profitable, and that would only be aggravated by the fact that it would be competing with the NHL for dollars.

There's a reason players and agents have never started their own league in any major sport despite some VERY nasty labor wars. The leagues are far too entrenched.

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01-13-2005, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedalus
And the reverse is also true. The players are nothing without the league. If these NHL players decided they would never play another NHL game again, what would happen? The NHL would be reconstituted in 2-3 years. The product would suffer over the short term but eventually the drafted youth and other players of quality would go to the NHL because that's where the money would be. Why is that where the money would be? Because that's where the buildings are. That's also where the brand name is, and brand name is what draws advertisers ... and fans. Even with a two-year shutdown and a hard cap, NHL owners will be able to offer rookies, free agents, and disgruntled NHLPA members more than they could make in their own league. (And as a result many of the agents who normally support the PA would be urging their clients to go the NHL.) A player-owned league would take too many years to become profitable, and that would only be aggravated by the fact that it would be competing with the NHL for dollars.

There's a reason players and agents have never started their own league in any major sport despite some VERY nasty labor wars. The leagues are far too entrenched.
Yes. I realized this but if the league were actually accomodating to NHL players, where only the best could play, and games and travel were lighter, i think the NHL would either be forced to change and then secumb to the player's demands, or the incoming rookies would leave once they were able to. I agree that the players would go for more money, but if a new league were created, that was pro player, pro fan, they would do it. I say this because money is used to enhance the quality of someone's life, to make it better. But if the players took the money, they would then be forced to 82 games a yr. and travel non-stop. If a newleagus eliminated the travel, and created fewer games, then the players quality of life would be enhanced. These things are concerns for players, and if it had enough incentives, a new league could attract players.

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01-13-2005, 08:04 PM
  #13
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Of the big moeny teams, how many own their buildings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish
It's near impossible to create a new league unless some of the owners decide to break ranks. The reason being is that the owners already control the leases (or own the buildings) of all the good spots to play. This is why the WHA should have toned down their approach and gone with something a little more modest...you can't just create a league out of nothing with nowhere to play in the major markets and expect to have success.

At best many of the players would be making pennies on the dollar that they would otherwise make in Europe or in an NHL with a cap.
Your concern would not stop the rangers. Doesn't philly own their's? Same with Montreal and Toronto, no? The rich teams should stick to baddman and his small market cronies.

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01-13-2005, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burner10115
How so??? Aren't they losing their pennies??? They way the NHL is right now during this lockout; they're losing money. Owners might move away from the NHL if they did have the cash incentives to do it... If the players had the fortitude to do it, they would basically force the owners to part with the NHL.... because w/o any players, the NHL would have nothing. The NHl is nothing w/o the players
Because to start a league that will pay even the salaries you'd expect in Europe, which are many cases 1/10th of what the NHL was paying is going to take several years...in other words beyond the careers of many players that would be playing in the NHL this year.

As I also mentioned, there's few if any big market arenas available to play in. Without these arenas and the associate deals there's less ability to generate money. It's hard to make a lot of money in an 8000 seat arena, at least in terms of what the players would make in the NHL under a cap.

Also the players would have to be united in their desire to form this league. That means no one crosses the line. If they elect to go the "build your own" route, then there's going to be a certain number who will decide to take their chances in the NHL, or as I said before go back to Europe...in which case the league is basically broken.

Finally, and with all due respect to the Rodent, the league is more than just the talent. It is the Stanley Cup, the history, the jerseys, the established rivalries, the arenas...it's a lot of things. It takes a while to establish a loyal fan base, it's one of the things that expansion teams always struggle with, creating a whole new league is going to have the same problem.

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01-13-2005, 08:15 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATLANTARANGER
Your concern would not stop the rangers. Doesn't philly own their's? Same with Montreal and Toronto, no? The rich teams should stick to baddman and his small market cronies.
This would be the only way I could see the owners not winning...and it would be very messy. I saw a similar thing in Australia with the National Rugby League where several of the better financed teams went off on their own to create a competitive league and it was a mess for a couple of years until everyone joined back together.

But that said, I see that as a much more likely alternative than the players being able to start their own league...

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01-13-2005, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish
Finally, and with all due respect to the Rodent, the league is more than just the talent. It is the Stanley Cup, the history, the jerseys, the established rivalries, the arenas...it's a lot of things.
Are those the things that put the "butts in the seats"? If you stuff an AHL level product into NHL sweaters and barns, will the league's intellectual property be enough to offset the dropoff in talent?

I've seen "splits" like this in the motorsports world. The result has always been a half-assed product on both sides of the fence with 2 measely fan bases just rabid enough to keep each unhealthy series afloat. The casual fan leaves altogether. It's sad and pointless and assuredly would kill professional hockey as we know it in the United States.

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01-13-2005, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Melrose_Jr.
Are those the things that put the "butts in the seats"? If you stuff an AHL level product into NHL sweaters and barns, will the league's intellectual property be enough to offset the dropoff in talent?

I've seen "splits" like this in the motorsports world. The result has always been a half-assed product on both sides of the fence with 2 measely fan bases just rabid enough to keep each unhealthy series afloat. The casual fan leaves altogether. It's sad and pointless and assuredly would kill professional hockey as we know it in the United States.
No, they alone don't put butts in the seats any more than a new league does with players wearing new unrecognizable jerseys in second rate arenas etc...my point being that the "talent" is not the product in and of itself.

On your last point, I had the "pleasure" of listening to Bettman on WFAN today and he is firmly of the opinion that the fans will come back. He said that commentators said the same things about the other sports during their lockouts and the leagues and the fans came back...

Which is of course is probably partly spin and part optimism, but I don't necessarily subscribe to your opinion either that the league will die...I think the truth like so many other things, will be somewhere in the middle.

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01-13-2005, 10:25 PM
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If Bettman believes that...

he's dumber than I thought. But he has to say that, as that's what's been enabling him to take such a hard stance and have the backing of owners. But he does forget that hockey isn't like the other sports, as it's actually a bit more global in terms of the players, and it's not as resilient. Further, no sport's ever cancelled an entire season. Hockey interest hasn't been steady or growing.

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01-13-2005, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burner10115
I realized this but if the league were actually accomodating to NHL players, where only the best could play, and games and travel were lighter, i think the NHL would either be forced to change and then secumb to the player's demands, or the incoming rookies would leave once they were able to.
This buys into some very bad assumptions that the Rodent makes: 1. What makes you (or him) think the best are going to play in this new NHLPA league? Will Yashin take a 65% pay cut to play in this new league? Will Tkachuck? Will Guerin? All these guys and a whole lot more have sat out to make more money. It's a stone cold lock that some very serious star talent would return to the big money rather then play for the small. This gets rid of the "only the best could play" idea.

2. What makes you think that any young player would take a substantial paycut to leave the NHL to join this Player's League "when he's able?" You speak of quality of life. Why would a young player wish to uproot his family to settle in a new place? Why would he wish to leave friends and teammates behind? Coaches he likes? His wife's friends and children's schools? Isn't all that damaging the quality of his life? Doesn't it only make it worse that he's doing this for half the money or less?

Quote:
Originally Posted by burner10115
I agree that the players would go for more money, but if a new league were created, that was pro player, pro fan, they would do it. I say this because money is used to enhance the quality of someone's life, to make it better. But if the players took the money, they would then be forced to 82 games a yr. and travel non-stop. If a newleagus eliminated the travel, and created fewer games, then the players quality of life would be enhanced. These things are concerns for players, and if it had enough incentives, a new league could attract players.
First: I'm not sure what you mean by a "pro fan" league. What exactly is this new league doing to make it more "pro fan" than the NHL would be?

Second: Mark Messier spent half the time on the road with the Rangers than he did with Vancouver. Didn't stop him from taking their money. Travel is a minor hassle, not least because they only do this for half the year. The quality of their lives for the other half is dictated entirely by the money they earn. So is the quality of their childrens' lives after they retire. Every player will tell you (and most players do at negotiations time) that he has only a limited time to earn the money he needs to support his family.

I'm sorry but the Rodent's assumptions about the players' willingness to take less money has no basis in reality. None. How many UFAs have taken a 2/3 paycut to stay with a team they like or to play with one they want to play with? I don't know of one other than maybe Kariya. How many have taken even a 50% paycut? Vanishingly few.

How many have been willing to take any paycut. A minority (and I'm willing to bet a small minority), and a minority is all the NHL needs. Every UFA has the chance to improve the quality of his life if he's willing to play cheaply enough, but very few indeed turn down the money in order to improve that quality of life because the money carries its own rewards bth for the player himself and for the welfare of his family.

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01-14-2005, 09:21 AM
  #20
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Great points dedalus...

well said.

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01-14-2005, 10:53 AM
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I don't agree with some of Rodent's assumptions but I have long believed that an NHLPA backed league would be the union's best bet to get back some leverage if this season is cancelled. Now, when I say "NHLPA backed" I don't mean a league run by the players, rather, a league that the union gives it's blessing to. It could have some financial interest in such a league but it doesn't have to be run by it. The union's blessing would give the league some instant credibility, at least among the players - and that includes players not in the league yet like an undrafted Sidney Crosby or a recent pick like Ovechkin.

Of course, the amount of union involvement could create bigger problems for the union. If such a league is going to operate with less teams, that means less players and it would be hard to convince a lot of the players who wouldn't be in the new league that they shouldn't cross the line and join the NHL's replacement league if that comes to pass.

That said, I have no doubt that a league with a reduced amount of teams, packed with at least 50% superstars could be even more popular than the NHL in cities where the teams are based. I have no doubt that New York hockey fans would take to a team that could boast a lineup which included a top two lines stacked with all-star talent. Teams in cities like Quebec, Minneapolis and Boston could also attract fans and players by putting together rosters made up in large part by homegrown talent, while teams in cities like Detroit, Dallas and Colorado could cash in on the popularity of a team with players formerly from the Red Wings, Stars and Avs, respectively, on it.

One thing I do not doubt one bit is that a league playing a shorter season than the NHL's, with less teams, could get a TV deal that might in some ways be more lucrative than the last deal the NHL negotiated. One of the reasons (among many) that the NHL has been going downhill in terms of US popularity is the lack of playoff teams in the three biggest media markets, NY, LA and Chicago. It's a hard road to travel for any league without successful teams in those cities. Of course, with less teams, a nationwide US deal might not be in the cards but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

I have no doubt that an All Star league would at least work in L.A., NY, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, Colorado, Dallas, Quebec or Montreal and Toronto and there are always other cities looking for pro teams. Portland is a city that comes up in NHL expansion or relocation discussions. Winnipeg (with a brand new arena)and Hamilton are two other cities who could be attractive. And the last thing the Sabres would want to see is a team in Hamilton that could draw away any part of their Canadian fan base.

I think there's enough people out there who would think they could benefit (shorttem and/or longterm) from trying to start a rival league. An All Star league in big cities could be tailor-made for TV and that's the biggest reason why I think it could happen.


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01-14-2005, 11:44 AM
  #22
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dedalus: Some general comments on some of your points:

Players accepting less pay to play in a rival league - #1) Players have already agreed to a 24% rollback on existing slaries. That's proof that the players will take less than they already do. The question is, "how much less?" #2) Players would not necessarily have to accept less pay in a new league. In fact, it's logical to expect some players to be able to earn more than they would in the NHL. Under the NHL's last CBA proposal, which the league would be forced to implement if they were successful in declaring an impasse and starting their replacement league, draftees like Crosby and Ovechkin would be forced to accept 4 year deals at $825,000 per year without bonusses. There's no reason to think that such superstar prospects would not earn more in a new league. Also, young players, like Kovalchuk, would have no recourse to gain substantial salary raises under the last NHL proposal and there's no reason to think that such european stars couldn't get paid more handsomely in a rival league than they would in the NHL. And when you're talking about european players, there's no reason for them to leave europe if they're not going to be making more coin and I think it's probable that there would be better paydays for some of them in a new league.

The importance of "where" they play and travel: This "season" there were a few players, like Brashear and Pens goalie Caron, who elected to play hockey in what used to be the Quebec Semi-Pro League. The league has one of the lowest levels of talent but some French Canadian players went there because they could play in their "hometown", in front of friends and family, and they knew that travel would be limited in most cases to a 1 hour busride. Of course, this is a bit of an extreme example because the culture is so different in Quebec as compared to the rest of North America. A player from Boston would not feel as "not at home" playing in Philly as a Quebec-raised player moving to Dallas. And although I admit playing at home does not often outweigh a better paycheck, if the money is comparable, then playing at home can certainly becomes a bigger factor.

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01-14-2005, 12:13 PM
  #23
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I still don't agree Chief...

The NHL makes their money from a number of sources...

TV and Cable
Merchandise
Parking and concessions
Luxury suites
Sponsorship
Ticket prices

This new league has no established venues, would have to settle for secondary arenas where the capacity for the most part is half of what it is in the NHL, would have a TV contract that would make the current one the NHL has look great...and would perhaps not even end up on cable. They'd have limited corporate support to start with, and based on surveys in some areas, little support from fans (most small market teams, as well as Canada support the owners on this one...it seems 50/50 in markets like New York).

You're also going to alienate a significant percentage of the players union by reducing the number of teams, giving the NHL a good pool to start with. Not to mention Europe where many of these players could go and make more money anyway, as well as playing closer to home.

The player's union is no more a collective of like minded individuals than the owners are. Many of them are out to make as much money as they can, just like the owners...they have a limited opportunity to make that money, and they're going to do what's right for them, not some kid who is going to come along some time in the future.

The idea of the players union creating their own league is a nice idea, but one fraught with obstacles that will make it hard for it to be profitable for some time.

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01-14-2005, 12:55 PM
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish
On your last point, I had the "pleasure" of listening to Bettman on WFAN today and he is firmly of the opinion that the fans will come back. He said that commentators said the same things about the other sports during their lockouts and the leagues and the fans came back...

Which is of course is probably partly spin and part optimism, but I don't necessarily subscribe to your opinion either that the league will die...I think the truth like so many other things, will be somewhere in the middle.
But Fish, the NHL is not anywhere close to the popularity of the other sports, and ALL of thsoe sports lost fans. Hockey cannot offer the "McGwire/Sosa" chase. If the percentage of fans lost in the other sports were to hold true for hockey (post lockout), you might as well call hockey another version of arena football.
Bettman has not generated ANY new fans. He has not generated ANY new revenue. Forget football. One cannot compare any sport to it. But baseball was generating new fans throughout the years leading into the strike. Hockey cannot say that.
Blindly stating things like:

"He said that commentators said the same things about the other sports during their lockouts and the leagues and the fans came back..."

That just underscores how clueless Bettman truly is about his sport. Perhaps he should be reminded that he is not in the NBA anymore. Or has he not seen the paltry ratings that hockey brings? Wake up, Gary. There is a reason that you were forced to have the type of deal that the NHL had to sign with NBC. And it is not because there is such an abundance of fans.

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01-14-2005, 01:00 PM
  #25
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The question is...

where would the financial backing for a start-up league come; especially after a league that's been in existence for nearly 100 years could be coming apart. Look at soccer...it took a while to come-up with a new successful league. There were offshoots of the NASL, like the MISL, but failed. It's a risky gamble and even though the players are agreeing to a 24% rollback, the cut would be a good deal more than that in a new league and the viability and stability of that league would be seriously questioned.

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