52666Why not Hamilton?
- Sep 1, 2009I 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?
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