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Old
04-04-2009, 09:59 AM
  #1
desert dawg
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Success Criteria

Seems to me that the success criteria for minor league hockey teams can be boiled down to 3 essentials; 1) be the only team in town, 2) have a suitable (size wise) arena, preferably new, and 3) put some marketing support behind the team. Looking at some teams that have failed:
Phx Rrunners- not the only team, non suitable arena, zero marketing
Fresno- non suitable arena, zero marketing
San Diego- non suitable arena
Long Beach- non suitable arena, zero marketing
Tucson- not the only team (U of A), zero marketing
I can only think of the Chicago Wolves as an exception, but they have a good arena, and from what I understand great marketing-
Does this fit with teams from out east????

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04-04-2009, 10:35 AM
  #2
LadyStanley
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That doesn't jive for Stockton. They aren't the only deal in town.

There's a AF2 team (same arena), and minor baseball (literally next door) that all compete for professional attention. Plus UoP college sports. And lots of youth hockey.

30 minutes away, there's a NBA team.

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04-04-2009, 05:09 PM
  #3
Cyclones Rock
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Originally Posted by desert dawg View Post
Seems to me that the success criteria for minor league hockey teams can be boiled down to 3 essentials; 1) be the only team in town, 2) have a suitable (size wise) arena, preferably new, and 3) put some marketing support behind the team.
Point #1 has a lot of validity.

While it doesn't guarantee success, it can help. I'm not very familiar with the communities of teams in the western ECHL, but those which appear to be thriving seem to face little high octane competition from other sports.

Bakersfield, Ontairo, and Stockton may have minor league baseball to compete with overall, but not during the hockey season. I don't consider indoor football competition. It's a junk sport of the highest order. Las Vegas obviously faces a little bit of competition, but still seems to do ok. Utah doesn't fare very well (the team just avoided potential disaster by the arena-the county, in this case-taking ownership in forgiveness for back rent) and they face a lot of competition. So, your point seems to stand up well enough in the West.

In the Northern Division, Reading faces no major competition and does well.

Dayton faced religious fervor level competition from Univ. of Dayton basketball.

Cincinnati is improving, but faces typical bigger city competition for entertainment dollars.

Wheeling and Johnstown don't face any major competition. But they are very small markets and need a relatively large percentage of their local populace to go to the games to thrive. They've each survived for a long time but face difficult challenges in attracting sufficient crowds to survive.

Trenton draws poorly. I don't know what competition they face in their area.

Elmira draws very well. They face some direct hockey competition at various collegiate levels, but it doesn't seem to have hurt them.

In the South:

Florida is pretty much competition free. South Carolina faces a Div 1 basketball program but seems to do ok. Charlotte is a huge city with many competitors, but they're surviving. Gwinnett faces NHL competiton with Atlanta, but the market is enormous.

All said, I think that the point has a great deal of merit. It also seems that the ECHL has done a pretty good job of placing franchises in cities which fit the "less competition" description.

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04-05-2009, 06:24 PM
  #4
trentondevil
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Originally Posted by Cyclones Rock View Post
Point #1 has a lot of validity.

While it doesn't guarantee success, it can help. I'm not very familiar with the communities of teams in the western ECHL, but those which appear to be thriving seem to face little high octane competition from other sports.

Bakersfield, Ontairo, and Stockton may have minor league baseball to compete with overall, but not during the hockey season. I don't consider indoor football competition. It's a junk sport of the highest order. Las Vegas obviously faces a little bit of competition, but still seems to do ok. Utah doesn't fare very well (the team just avoided potential disaster by the arena-the county, in this case-taking ownership in forgiveness for back rent) and they face a lot of competition. So, your point seems to stand up well enough in the West.

In the Northern Division, Reading faces no major competition and does well.

Dayton faced religious fervor level competition from Univ. of Dayton basketball.

Cincinnati is improving, but faces typical bigger city competition for entertainment dollars.

Wheeling and Johnstown don't face any major competition. But they are very small markets and need a relatively large percentage of their local populace to go to the games to thrive. They've each survived for a long time but face difficult challenges in attracting sufficient crowds to survive.

Trenton draws poorly. I don't know what competition they face in their area.

Elmira draws very well. They face some direct hockey competition at various collegiate levels, but it doesn't seem to have hurt them.

In the South:

Florida is pretty much competition free. South Carolina faces a Div 1 basketball program but seems to do ok. Charlotte is a huge city with many competitors, but they're surviving. Gwinnett faces NHL competiton with Atlanta, but the market is enormous.

All said, I think that the point has a great deal of merit. It also seems that the ECHL has done a pretty good job of placing franchises in cities which fit the "less competition" description.
speaking for Trenton, lets see....we are half way between NY and Philly, so in the fall we have the Giants at the NJ Meadowlands, the Eagles in Philly, in the winter we have the Devils themselves, Rangers and Islanders in NY and Flyers and Phantoms in Philly not to mention the Nets, Knicks and Sixers. On the collegiate level we have Princeton U about 12miles north of Trenton w/Ivy League football, basketball and of course the hockey team which has done pretty well in the ECAC and gone to the big dance the last couple of years. Of course not even mentioning Rider University which has been pretty good with basketball. This not even mentioning the night life in NY and Philadelphia along with the Casinos. But we are owned by the NJ Devils and that helps and even with all that we only drew 7,000 less than Cincinnati for the year and they drew over 11,000 for the last game of the year to our 5500

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Old
05-16-2009, 12:37 PM
  #5
Tony Piscotta
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Originally Posted by trentondevil View Post
speaking for Trenton, lets see....we are half way between NY and Philly, so in the fall we have the Giants at the NJ Meadowlands, the Eagles in Philly, in the winter we have the Devils themselves, Rangers and Islanders in NY and Flyers and Phantoms in Philly not to mention the Nets, Knicks and Sixers. On the collegiate level we have Princeton U about 12miles north of Trenton w/Ivy League football, basketball and of course the hockey team which has done pretty well in the ECAC and gone to the big dance the last couple of years. Of course not even mentioning Rider University which has been pretty good with basketball. This not even mentioning the night life in NY and Philadelphia along with the Casinos. But we are owned by the NJ Devils and that helps and even with all that we only drew 7,000 less than Cincinnati for the year and they drew over 11,000 for the last game of the year to our 5500

These reasons would matter - except for the fact that the franchise was among the TOP attendance franchises in the league for the first five years of its existence - when all of those other factors you mentioned existed.

The real culprit in the downfall of the Titans/Devils was the "get out while we're ahead" profit-taking mentality of the previous owners as well as a poison pill approach to marketing team taken by both the team and the county officials who run the arena. Not to mention the utter apathy to the team by the current administration of the City of Trenton.

Even in the season when the team was winning the Kelly Cup as the Trenton Titans, the results of all but gutting the full-time staff, and the penny wise-dollar foolish approach of the Sovereign Bank Arena leaders, had already begun to erode the fan base significantly.

Not only is the team NOT attracting fans, those who do go to the game are often put off by the utter lack of professionalism and fan un-friendliness shown at the games.

In fact, there are many in the area who no longer even know the team exists, nor when the team is playing.

In the early days of the franchise, even casual sports fans could name players on the team such as Cam White, Bujar Amidovski, Scott Bertoli, Vince Williams, Cail McLean and many others. Now even those involved with hockey, whether on the youth level or just serious hockey fans, would have a hard time telling you who the leading scorer for the team was this season.

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Old
05-17-2009, 12:05 AM
  #6
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Originally Posted by TonyVP View Post
These reasons would matter - except for the fact that the franchise was among the TOP attendance franchises in the league for the first five years of its existence - when all of those other factors you mentioned existed.

The real culprit in the downfall of the Titans/Devils was the "get out while we're ahead" profit-taking mentality of the previous owners as well as a poison pill approach to marketing team taken by both the team and the county officials who run the arena. Not to mention the utter apathy to the team by the current administration of the City of Trenton.

Even in the season when the team was winning the Kelly Cup as the Trenton Titans, the results of all but gutting the full-time staff, and the penny wise-dollar foolish approach of the Sovereign Bank Arena leaders, had already begun to erode the fan base significantly.

Not only is the team NOT attracting fans, those who do go to the game are often put off by the utter lack of professionalism and fan un-friendliness shown at the games.

In fact, there are many in the area who no longer even know the team exists, nor when the team is playing.

In the early days of the franchise, even casual sports fans could name players on the team such as Cam White, Bujar Amidovski, Scott Bertoli, Vince Williams, Cail McLean and many others. Now even those involved with hockey, whether on the youth level or just serious hockey fans, would have a hard time telling you who the leading scorer for the team was this season.
I think the parts I bolded highlight two other criteria
4.) Put a competitive product on the ice, they don't have to win every game but make an effort and have exciting games.

5.) Have a professional and welcoming atmosphere. Add fun things for fans to do (fan interaction) to make going to the minor league hockey an experience. Minor league hockey can do something easier than the NHL and even AHL, get fans close to the players, coaches, and team. This is especially true in the smaller markets- there must be a sense of community to the whole thing! #5 is even more important than #4, if the team is doing poor, an all-around positive experience can keep fans coming through the gates.

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