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Bettman shares thoughts on Thrashers ownership

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Old
02-12-2010, 10:23 AM
  #101
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey93 View Post
I can't stand the guy...but I won't deny that he is a smart man. To me, this 'calling out', sort of, of the Thrasher Ownership is laying the ground work for future excuses if the team does end up relocating.
Ownership wasn't able to get their act together will be the excuse for the NHL franchise's financial losses, this leaves Bettman less on the hook for going to a market that failed.
GB is doing damage control for his picking a fail in a hockey market.

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02-17-2010, 11:52 PM
  #102
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NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has heard the rumour and he was quick to pour cold water all over it Wednesday.
“There has been absolutely zero discussion at the league level of Thrashers to Winnipeg,” Daly told The Sun in an e-mail Wednesday night.
“There is no truth whatsoever to these rumours.”

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-th...st-309448.html


Quote:
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told the Journal-Constitution last week that the league is committed to keeping a franchise in Atlanta.
While Bettman may have made some comments about the ownership, I think it's safe to say he seems intent on not having the team move.

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02-18-2010, 01:22 AM
  #103
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I'd definitely like to see another team in Canada, but I don't think they should move the Thrashers. Atlanta is the 8th largest city (including suburbs) in the US @ 5.4 million in 2008, up 27% from 4.2 million in 2000. The only American city of comparable size to not have a NHL team is Houston. Atlanta has only had one playoff appearance. If they had even some playoff success and I would think that the fans in Atlanta would get more firmly behind the team and relocation rumors would go away...

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02-18-2010, 03:04 AM
  #104
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As I stated before, I doubt the validity of any Thrashers to Winnipeg next season rumours. I suspect that will not happen, at least for the moment based on what I am hearing. However, that does not mean that there is absolutely nothing to such rumours or that there is not a Winnipeg group actively looking to purchase an NHL franchise for the city.

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02-18-2010, 03:21 AM
  #105
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I’ve checked out the Winnipeg rumor and Don Waddell has assured me that “there is absolutely nothing to it, and there is no forthcoming announcement or plans for relocation.”
http://www.bluelandblog2.com/2010/02...rs-not-moving/

There have been rumors / lustings about moving the Thrashers to Canada since the days of Pittsburgh to Kansas City... I honestly believe it's just a case of sticking to what sells, and this one is the gold standard for rumor mongers.

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02-18-2010, 10:20 AM
  #106
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Sounds like Bettman will not be doing his standard Thursday hour on XM/nhl.com/etc. But he will be on NHL Live today (noon-2pm ET; 9-11am PT); XM/nhl.com/NHL Network.

So you can call (877-644-6696), email (nhllive@xmradio.ca) or tweet (http://twitter.com/nhllive/) questions (in advance).

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02-18-2010, 10:45 AM
  #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey93 View Post
this leaves Bettman less on the hook for going to a market that failed.
Even after reading this thread, you believe it's the market that failed in this situation?

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02-18-2010, 10:48 AM
  #108
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Ban Bettman!!

I wouldn't believe a single word that comes out of this little lying weasels mouth... Get rid of this ******* already NHL... He has been ruining this game for far too long!

BAN BETTMAN!!!!

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02-18-2010, 10:54 AM
  #109
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Even after reading this thread, you believe it's the market that failed in this situation?
Certainly do. Sure other things caused problems as well....but at the end of the day it doesn't justify having only a single decent season in attendance over a 10 year span.
In '06/'07 the Thrashers were 43-28 for 97 points and a playoff appearance. They barely averaged over 16,000 that year. The following year attendance dropped even further, after a solid season and a playoff appearance attendance went down (and so did ticket prices!), you can't go blaming Ownership or Management or whoever for that.
So, yes...I blame the market. If the Thrashers had a few years of solid attendance and then the fans showed their dislike of management by not buying tickets...fine. But this market hasn't bought tickets since the first year...regardless of moves made, not made, performance, etc.

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02-18-2010, 10:55 AM
  #110
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Originally Posted by BlackAce View Post
I wouldn't believe a single word that comes out of this little lying weasels mouth... Get rid of this ******* already NHL... He has been ruining this game for far too long!

BAN BETTMAN!!!!
The guys paying him just gave him a nice pay raise recently.

I doubt they have much interest in 'banning' him.

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02-18-2010, 11:00 AM
  #111
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Even after reading this thread, you believe it's the market that failed in this situation?
Something like 5,000 people watch Thrashers games on TV. I'd say it's a market that's in horrible shape, if it hasn't failed completely yet.

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02-18-2010, 11:04 AM
  #112
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey93 View Post
But this market hasn't bought tickets since the first year...regardless of moves made, not made, performance, etc.
I think the issue runs deeper than performance. The ownership group is not committed, apparently not even interested, in having a quality product. That extends beyond trades and draft picks, into the realm of having a quality brand and relevance to local sports fans.

IMO, we have no reliable data to judge Atlanta as a market. We simply don't know how they would react to having a properly-operated NHL franchise.

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02-18-2010, 11:08 AM
  #113
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Originally Posted by Brodie View Post
Something like 5,000 people watch Thrashers games on TV. I'd say it's a market that's in horrible shape, if it hasn't failed completely yet.
Similar to my previous comment, I don't see how we can judge the market itself in the absence of a relevant franchise. I lived for several years in an area that received Thrashers broadcasts and never recall watching them for more than an hour at a time. Not because I don't care about hockey -- I watched other games nightly on Center Ice -- but because there was literally no reason to waste my time with that particular team.

If the Thrashers can get their ownership straightened out and give Atlanta some kind of reason to buy into the team, and they still have poor attendance, then I will agree that the market has failed.

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02-18-2010, 11:09 AM
  #114
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Originally Posted by Jeffrey93 View Post
Certainly do. Sure other things caused problems as well....but at the end of the day it doesn't justify having only a single decent season in attendance over a 10 year span.
In '06/'07 the Thrashers were 43-28 for 97 points and a playoff appearance. They barely averaged over 16,000 that year. The following year attendance dropped even further, after a solid season and a playoff appearance attendance went down (and so did ticket prices!), you can't go blaming Ownership or Management or whoever for that.
So, yes...I blame the market. If the Thrashers had a few years of solid attendance and then the fans showed their dislike of management by not buying tickets...fine. But this market hasn't bought tickets since the first year...regardless of moves made, not made, performance, etc.
Unfortunately for your argument - there's more than just ticket sales involved. I know that it was reported a few years ago that the Thrashers ranked #5 in corporate sponsorship in the NHL. That means they were bringing in more corporate dollars than 25 other teams.

But whatever.

HFBoard posters never have the whole picture.

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02-18-2010, 11:11 AM
  #115
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
I think the issue runs deeper than performance. The ownership group is not committed, apparently not even interested, in having a quality product. That extends beyond trades and draft picks, into the realm of having a quality brand and relevance to local sports fans.

IMO, we have no reliable data to judge Atlanta as a market. We simply don't know how they would react to having a properly-operated NHL franchise.
that is irrelavent. You either work or you don't. Playing these endless what if games doesn't help the franchise or the league....Atlanta has been in the league for about 10 years or so now. If it isn't working or ownership can't seem to get it together, then try something different. Basing your business on what if is not a sound strategy for future success....

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02-18-2010, 11:16 AM
  #116
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Originally Posted by LetNoneIn View Post
Unfortunately for your argument - there's more than just ticket sales involved. I know that it was reported a few years ago that the Thrashers ranked #5 in corporate sponsorship in the NHL. That means they were bringing in more corporate dollars than 25 other teams.

But whatever.

HFBoard posters never have the whole picture.

Isn't this an appropriate forum to complete the picture?


I think this gets back to the owners having two anchor tenants, and that it does make business sense for them to (1) have an NBA and NHL team, and (2) supporting both to a certain level because not doing everything reasonable to support the product leaves a lot of money on the table. It's an opportunity to bring in thousands of wallets to the arena. Why not take advantage of it?

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02-18-2010, 11:18 AM
  #117
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Originally Posted by edog37 View Post
that is irrelavent. You either work or you don't. Playing these endless what if games doesn't help the franchise or the league....Atlanta has been in the league for about 10 years or so now. If it isn't working or ownership can't seem to get it together, then try something different. Basing your business on what if is not a sound strategy for future success....

Is this exactly what Bettman is saying-- hence the title of the thread?

Ownership is not getting it together, and maybe this is his not-so-subtle reminder that something needs to change.

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02-18-2010, 11:24 AM
  #118
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FYI - I just got a call from a Thrashers ticket rep (I have a partial plan) he said full season prices have been finalized for next year and will be lower (I don't know how much) and he said half-season would likely drop too, but he didn't have the numbers yet.

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02-18-2010, 11:33 AM
  #119
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Originally Posted by LetNoneIn View Post
Unfortunately for your argument - there's more than just ticket sales involved. I know that it was reported a few years ago that the Thrashers ranked #5 in corporate sponsorship in the NHL. That means they were bringing in more corporate dollars than 25 other teams.

But whatever.

HFBoard posters never have the whole picture.
I can provide you with several links to reported average attendance and average ticket prices of every team. Can you provide me with a link showing the corporate revenue brought in by the Thrashers and other NHL teams?

I know there is more than attendance....but it's what we have readily available and usually if attendance in that market stinks so does the other revenue streams. If it's a hot ticket in the corporate world it would be a hot ticket all around.

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02-18-2010, 11:38 AM
  #120
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Is this exactly what Bettman is saying-- hence the title of the thread?

Ownership is not getting it together, and maybe this is his not-so-subtle reminder that something needs to change.
agreed. My point was to counter the notion that pops up frequently in these sorts of discussions. That notion is the ever popular "we can't judge a market because it hasn't been properly managed". My point is, properly managed or not, a market will lose a team if it is losing money & nothing can change that. The discussion should never be about market worth, but rather does that market work in the first place. It is highly subjective.

Pittsburgh would have lost the Pens had a new arena not been built. That is an objective fact. It wouldn't have mattered how well the team was supported, TV ratings, etc. No arena=no team. The same should be applied here for Atlanta. If they can't get their act together=no team.

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02-18-2010, 11:54 AM
  #121
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that is irrelavent. You either work or you don't. Playing these endless what if games doesn't help the franchise or the league....Atlanta has been in the league for about 10 years or so now. If it isn't working or ownership can't seem to get it together, then try something different. Basing your business on what if is not a sound strategy for future success....
If you plan to invest in a business for 5 years and then cash out, you are right that market potential is irrelevant.

However, if your goal is to grow the business (and by extension, consumer affinity to hockey itself) then market potential is absolutely relevant. In fact I would argue that in a 20-year or 40-year scheme, potential is even more important than the current or historical picture. Where you made money yesterday is much less important than where you will make it tomorrow.

That being said, nobody here is going to argue that Atlanta has been a success story. The question is, could Atlanta be worth the investment if it is being developed with at least a mediocre quality of ownership?

I think it is a fairly straightforward business principle that a league which is attempting to compete with other pro leagues, and to some extent internationally with the KHL and Euro leagues, needs to make media leverage a priority. That means it needs to have a value proposition that appeals not only to local markets, but also national media entities (ESPN, USA Today, Yahoo!, etc.). Presence in top-10 media markets is vital to making that happen. Moving the Thrashers to Winnipeg, even if it means an increase in attendance, would be a significant step backward to the NHL as a whole.

Not to mention that Atlanta should be a surefire source of ticket and merch revenue, based on population and demographics.

Bettman is p.o.'ed about this situation not because it makes him look bad personally (since when does he care?) but because it puts the entire business plan of the NHL in jeopardy. Atlanta is, in certain respects, simply more important than Columbus or Raleigh or Tampa. The fact that it is being undercut by incompetent ownership isn't acceptable, and he is obviously tired of waiting for them to straighten themselves out.

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02-18-2010, 12:14 PM
  #122
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
That being said, nobody here is going to argue that Atlanta has been a success story. The question is, could Atlanta be worth the investment if it is being developed with at least a mediocre quality of ownership?
Based on population alone the Thrashers should have a ridiculously easy time finding 15,000 fans a night...getting the other 2,000+ should come with minimal effort.

That isn't the case, it isn't even close to being the case.

Your question "Could Atlanta be worth the investment"...is impossible to answer. The only thing you have to go by is a decade of results. And basically....it doesn't matter if Atlanta could, should or would be a solid market in the NHL...it isn't right now. If the Owners want to sell and nobody local wants to buy....the importance or potential of Atlanta as a market means absolutely notta.

All we know so far is that with 18 years of data we can conclude Atlanta has not shown itself to be a strong hockey market.

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02-18-2010, 12:26 PM
  #123
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Based on population alone the Thrashers should have a ridiculously easy time finding 15,000 fans a night...getting the other 2,000+ should come with minimal effort.
Which begs the question, what is going wrong that they would only draw 12,000?

Is it just that Atlanta is just a hostile environment to the sport?

Or that the management of the team is hostile to success?

I think it's a bit of both. Atlanta, for whatever reason, has always seemed lukewarm about pro sports. The arena is not in an ideal location (though it is a nice place to see a game). The team has rarely held onto its marketable personalities. But by far and away the greatest factor has been the disastrous ownership situation that precludes any chance of success in the near term, regardless of any other variables in play.

Quote:
And basically....it doesn't matter if Atlanta could, should or would be a solid market in the NHL...it isn't right now.
Again, market potential most certainly does matter. You would be hard-pressed to find a competent businessman who would agree that market potential is irrelevant and that markets should simply be abandoned if they don't produce immediate results. That's like trading a #1 pick if he doesn't hit 30 goals as a rookie.

Chalking Atlanta up as a "loss" has the potential to affect everything from the national TV contract to merchandise penetration to the sales of the latest video game. It's not something that should be done haphazardly, based on 10 years of poor results that can obviously and directly be attributed to poor management.

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02-18-2010, 01:10 PM
  #124
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Originally Posted by tarheelhockey View Post
Again, market potential most certainly does matter. You would be hard-pressed to find a competent businessman who would agree that market potential is irrelevant and that markets should simply be abandoned if they don't produce immediate results. That's like trading a #1 pick if he doesn't hit 30 goals as a rookie.
18 years of experimenting...and it hasn't worked.....how long do you have to wait on 'potential'? The potential of the market is why a team was put there in the first place...that is how 'market potential' matters....after it has shown that it isn't living up to it's potential...it's value plummets.
Quote:
Chalking Atlanta up as a "loss" has the potential to affect everything from the national TV contract to merchandise penetration to the sales of the latest video game. It's not something that should be done haphazardly, based on 10 years of poor results that can obviously and directly be attributed to poor management.
18 years of poor results.
It's teams like Atlanta that very well might be causing the NHL to not get a national TV deal. How does it look when a national broadcasted NHl game from Atlanta shows 12,500 fans in the arena? It'd be a huge black eye on the league if a market of that size can't draw solid crowds, and EVERYONE would be able to see it for themselves.

You act as if the league has to him and haw about relocating the Thrashers. If no local owner makes a suitable offer to the current ownership group (if they were selling) then it doesn't matter much what the league as a whole thinks. They won't vote down a sale because they don't want the team to move when there isn't anyone stepping up to buy it and keep it in Atlanta without low-balling so much it drives all their franchise values down.

The way you talk about it it's like the NHL has absolute control over the Thrashers staying or going....they don't.

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02-18-2010, 01:17 PM
  #125
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To put this 'potential market value' in perspective....the good people at Forbes valued the Atlanta hockey market at $46M. Atlanta metro has a population of 5,278,904. Now...Ottawa is tiny compared to that...it's metro population is 1,130,761 but the folks at Forbes valued that market to be worth $79M. Atlanta is roughly 5x larger than Ottawa and has a market value that is under 60% of Ottawa's.
I'd guess that before the Thrashers showed up the value given to Atlanta has a hockey market would have been more than $46M. Heck...Buffalo is even valued at $67M....

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