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Expectations of Sell Outs - Canadian teams

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01-19-2013, 10:38 AM
  #1
porknbeans
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Expectations of Sell Outs - Canadian teams

Just something I was thinking about before the season opens today!

Does anyone else find it interesting that since the 2005 lockout (sad that we have to start putting dates to clarify which lockout we're talking about) a ton of teams have basically been selling out consistently, that were not previously. For example, I remember back in the early 2000s, Toronto was the only Canadian team that sold out all its games, now every single one of them does. This is also true for some American teams. I remember the Habs drawing only 18K or 19K back when they had as bad a team as they had last season, but last season it was wall to wall sell-outs and will be that way again this year.

Any idea why this is the case? Its only been 10 years or so of this phenomena and none of the Canadian teams have changed arenas within this timeframe either.

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01-19-2013, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porknbeans View Post
Just something I was thinking about before the season opens today!

Does anyone else find it interesting that since the 2005 lockout (sad that we have to start putting dates to clarify which lockout we're talking about) a ton of teams have basically been selling out consistently, that were not previously. For example, I remember back in the early 2000s, Toronto was the only Canadian team that sold out all its games, now every single one of them does. This is also true for some American teams. I remember the Habs drawing only 18K or 19K back when they had as bad a team as they had last season, but last season it was wall to wall sell-outs and will be that way again this year.

Any idea why this is the case? Its only been 10 years or so of this phenomena and none of the Canadian teams have changed arenas within this timeframe either.
People are in love with the game and their team. No surprise.

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01-19-2013, 11:39 AM
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canuckster19
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80s generation going out in the world with disposable income, much larger generation than the 70s

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01-19-2013, 01:24 PM
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I wonder about this myself. The possibility of only 2 or 3 teams being left in Canada seemed very real. It almost felt like a self fulfilling prophecy... Why support a bad team that really can't afford to compete when they are just going to end up in Houston or Portland in a year's time anyway? The idea of Edmonton selling out every single game while having the worst run of sucking in franchise history would have been impossible to comprehend around the turn of the millenium. The idea of the NHL returning to Winnipeg would have been downright laughable not too long ago.

Really a little over a decade ago there was doom and gloom around hockey in Canada. Canadian NHL teams were struggling and there was also the thought that eventually the only Canadians left in the league would be French-Canadian goalies and bottom line grinders and goons. Obviously the latter point has a bit of hyperbole to it but didn't seem to be without merit at the time.

To be honest it is hard to figure out what is more annoying... The "Canada rulz at hockey and move all the teams here" attitude we often see now or the "we suck and are on the way to irrelevance" pity party 10 years earlier.

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01-19-2013, 04:29 PM
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People liked the change of rules in the new CBA. It gave everyone hope they could sign/keep/attract free agents.

Also, socialism is popular.

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01-19-2013, 05:35 PM
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Millennials love hockey. It's the most old-fashioned thing about us. :-)

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01-19-2013, 05:59 PM
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More people are downtown people now. Everybody seems to live in condo's. It's a break from clubbing

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01-19-2013, 06:41 PM
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Stewie Griffin
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Trips to the Stanley Cup Finals by Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver also helped to get new, grassroots fans in these communities.

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01-19-2013, 06:55 PM
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WJG
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2005 lockout.

You don't know what you have until it's gone.

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01-19-2013, 07:26 PM
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jigglysquishy
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I think a lot of it stemmed from a perceived anti-Canadian attitude from the NHL. Look at the NHL in the late 90s (the valley of Canadian attendance). We had six of thirty teams (20% of teams). Just a few years prior (94-95 season) we had eight of twenty-six teams (30.8% of teams). In addition, it looked like Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton were all on the chopping block. We faced a very real potential of seeing an NHL where only three of thirty teams (10%) were in Canada. Also, many felt that Hamilton was screwed out of a team in the expansion.

It became a situation where we either started jumping to arenas in droves or we wouldn't have hockey to go to. Its not that people became bigger fans; moreso that people just didn't feel the need to go to games earlier.

IIRC, Winnipeg lost money one year (and it was announced the team was moving before the season started) and Quebec never lost money a single year. To look at the flip side, Phoenix has lost money every year its been a team. Atlanta lost money for years. Many teams bleed money. Yet it took an extenuating circumstance (Atlanta's ownership refusing to have the team in Atlanta) for an American team to move.

Granted, the NHL did come to the help of Ottawa/Edmonton/Calgary.


Overall, there's a large feeling that American teams can have bad attendance for years and years and years with no risk of the team leaving. Canadian teams only need one bad year to get moved, or in the case of Quebec, have the potential for a bad year. There's a sense that we need to put more work in to keep our teams then Americans do.

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01-19-2013, 09:00 PM
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Salary cap. Competitive playing field. Parity.

That's why Canada sells out.

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01-19-2013, 09:20 PM
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As the TV productions have become more and more high quality, both in presentation and with HD.. more and more people are becoming fans when they see it on TV. That's my theory

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01-19-2013, 11:31 PM
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Rob
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The NHL has actually become more popular in Canada.

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01-20-2013, 02:55 AM
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I think it was because of the threat that every team except Toronto might move. Why people would continue supporting a team that has no hope to ever compete against against american teams and fully knowing that in a few years, Toronto might be the only Canadian team left? In 1999-2000, I remember rumors in the newspapers that MTL Canadiens might be on the move and were losing lots of money.

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01-20-2013, 03:16 AM
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question...

Who are the "a ton (assuming you meant tonne, Canada being a metric nation and all) of teams have basically been selling out consistently, that were not previously" since '05 ?

Boston ?
Chicago ?
Washington ?
Pittsburgh ?

Some "phenomena" ...


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01-20-2013, 05:26 PM
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- Excellent media coverage, marketing, and hype
- HD TV
- Missing hockey due to the lockout
- Fear of losing teams
- 2002 Olympics victory, 2010 Olympics victory
- Cup runs by Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver
- Canada's upward growth; there has been a massive condo boom in most Canadian cities, and population intensification in downtowns and transit corridors, making access to arenas much easier for a greater amount of people
- Certain rule changes
- New generation of people coming out with disposable income

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01-20-2013, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob View Post
The NHL has actually become more popular in Canada.
Yes.

This may sound surprising to some, and for good reason. Demographics of Canada are changing; other sports are becoming established and growing, the sport was already popular, etc. But whatever bearing those factors may have on hockey, both hockey and the NHL have become considerably more popular in Canada.

There's still room for growth, and the NHL ought to capitalize on that.

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01-20-2013, 06:13 PM
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Rob
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saffronleaf View Post
Yes.

This may sound surprising to some, and for good reason. Demographics of Canada are changing; other sports are becoming established and growing, the sport was already popular, etc. But whatever bearing those factors may have on hockey, both hockey and the NHL have become considerably more popular in Canada.

There's still room for growth, and the NHL ought to capitalize on that.
Interesting to note that when we have debates about expansion one of the reasons the pro-sun belt crowd give against more Canadian teams is that "the game cannot grow anymore in Canada."

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01-20-2013, 06:46 PM
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2005 lockout.

You don't know what you have until it's gone.
I really think this might be a factor for some people. I don't have any real evidence of this other than myself. I was a big hockey fan before the lockout, but after the lockout I was an INSANELY OBSESSED hockey fan.

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01-21-2013, 08:05 AM
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tarheelhockey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
IIRC, Winnipeg lost money one year (and it was announced the team was moving before the season started) and Quebec never lost money a single year. To look at the flip side, Phoenix has lost money every year its been a team. Atlanta lost money for years. Many teams bleed money. Yet it took an extenuating circumstance (Atlanta's ownership refusing to have the team in Atlanta) for an American team to move.

Granted, the NHL did come to the help of Ottawa/Edmonton/Calgary.


Overall, there's a large feeling that American teams can have bad attendance for years and years and years with no risk of the team leaving. Canadian teams only need one bad year to get moved, or in the case of Quebec, have the potential for a bad year. There's a sense that we need to put more work in to keep our teams then Americans do.
Winnipeg I and QC existed in a different pro-sports world than Atlanta and Phoenix. The former would most definitely have lost money during the 1997-04 period -- they'd have needed to renovate or replace their arenas and deal with salary escalation at the same time the loonie hit an historic low. And there wouldn't have been revenue sharing to mitigate the losses. If they experienced the same dropoff of support that most of the other Canadian teams experienced, they'd have been in a financially untenable situation similar to where Phoenix is now.

I realize your post is talking about perceptions, but some of those specific perceptions are a bit disconnected from the harsh reality of the pre-2004 NHL.

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01-21-2013, 09:01 AM
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I think the comment about the Olympics is a really good one.

I'd checked out of the NHL after it murdered my hometown Jets. I lost interest in the league in general, and while I would still catch the occasional playoff game on HNIC, I didn't really give a **** anymore.

Then the '02 Olympics happened, and I got right back into watching hockey. That was the catalyst. I had a lot of friends who felt the same way. We were all so disillusioned with the state of the game after the Jets/Nords/Whalers relocations and all of the ridiculous southern expansion, but we were definitely going to watch Team Canada in the Olympics.

When they won the gold, we all piled into a van and drove around the city waving Canada flags out the window and blasting the HNIC theme (you know, the one CBC stupidly lost) on the stereo. When we got closer to Portage & Main, we realized there were thousands of other people doing the same thing, and even people playing street hockey in celebration. That's when I realized "screw the NHL and its American business garbage. This is why I like hockey, and why hockey will always be important here regardless of how badly Bettman ****s us."

After that, I started watching hockey again, without really having a team to support (although I tended to favour the Blackhawks). Now, in 2013, I'm obsessed again, just like I was as a kid when the Jets 1.0 were around.

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01-21-2013, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Gotta Catch Em Staal View Post
I really think this might be a factor for some people. I don't have any real evidence of this other than myself. I was a big hockey fan before the lockout, but after the lockout I was an INSANELY OBSESSED hockey fan.
I feel similarly about the return of the Jets to Winnipeg. I thought I was a big fan back in the 90s when I was a teenager, but now as a grown man I eat, sleep and breathe Jets.

It's some subconscious "we can't let these jerks steal our team again. We have to be die-hard fans no matter what" thing.

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01-21-2013, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by porknbeans View Post
Just something I was thinking about before the season opens today!

Does anyone else find it interesting that since the 2005 lockout (sad that we have to start putting dates to clarify which lockout we're talking about) a ton of teams have basically been selling out consistently, that were not previously. For example, I remember back in the early 2000s, Toronto was the only Canadian team that sold out all its games, now every single one of them does. This is also true for some American teams. I remember the Habs drawing only 18K or 19K back when they had as bad a team as they had last season, but last season it was wall to wall sell-outs and will be that way again this year.

Any idea why this is the case? Its only been 10 years or so of this phenomena and none of the Canadian teams have changed arenas within this timeframe either.
Habs never averaged less than 20k since the Bell centre opened.

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01-21-2013, 09:13 AM
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Anisimovs AK
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His point remains, they were not selling out every night.

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01-21-2013, 04:33 PM
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His point remains, they were not selling out every night.
Except I think it has more to do with the fact that the only watchable player was Saku Koivu more than anything else.

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