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52666Why not Hamilton?

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  • craigw@mountaincable.net
    Sep 1, 2009
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      I am sure we are all aware of the ongoing saga of the NHL's seemingly
      desperate attempt to keep the Phoenix Coyotes from moving to Hamilton,
      Ontario. I admit I am biased here. I live in Hamilton, and while I don't
      follow the NHL (I do follow the "business of the NHL, as sports business
      in general has always interested me - I have no interest at all in their
      on ice product) I do think having a NHL team in the city would be good for
      it, and that the city would support the team. I don't think it is a "slam
      dunk" that a team in Hamilton would be a massive success as that city is
      more blue collar and doesn't have the corporate money there that Toronto
      does and there is no way you could charge the same for tickets in Hamilton
      that a Toronto does. But would it be more successful than Phoenix and many
      other US based teams - yes it would.

      Having said that why is the NHL so opposed to such a move? I have heard
      the arguments about Phoenix being a bigger market. That is true to an
      extent but perhaps not if you look at the whole greater Hamilton area.
      That Hamilton area has a huge population to draw from. Is Phoenix a bigger
      TV market? Yes, but the NHL's US TV ratings are so minimal that this
      shouldn't even factor in. Phoenix may be a bigger market but is anyone in
      the city (or even the rest of the country) watching the product? That
      answer is clear. On the other hand the NHL's ratings in Canada, and in
      particular Southern Ontario (including Hamilton) are huge. Now you can
      argue Hamilton won't increase the ratings as perhaps they can't go any
      higher. That may be true - but they won't hurt.

      I have heard Hamilton referred to as a "minor league city." "Minor league"
      compared to who or what? It is the 8th largest city in Canada, and the
      Canadian market is the NHL's most lucrative market. Would you refer to the
      8th largest city in the US as "Minor League?" You can only call Hamilton
      "minor league" if you use the same criteria for the equivalent US city.

      I have heard that US fans (the few that there are it seems) don't want to
      watch Canadian teams or don't know Canadian cities. Well the same argument
      can be made on this side of the border. I can relate to a Regina, Ottawa,
      Winnipeg, etc far more so than Omaha, Kansas City, etc. HNIC ratings
      collapse in the play-offs when there are no Canadian teams left. And
      again, the Canadian market is the NHL's most lucrative - why doesn't the
      NHL go all out to educate their fans about Canadian cities so US fans will
      want to watch them?

      The facts are clear - US sports fans have seen hockey (it has been on TV
      since 1960 or so) and most of them don't like it. Why can't the NHL see
      that and focus on the US areas that actually like the sport and Canada?
      Get teams out of Florida, Arizona, Nashville, etc and into Hamilton,
      Winnipeg, Quebec City, and maybe Saskatoon?

      Craig
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