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52678Re: [hockhist] Why not Hamilton?

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  • Craig Wallace
    Sep 2, 2009
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      Just a couple of points here.

      1. As for minor league, what is the difference say between Hamilton and what Columbus Ohio was before they got a NHL team? Why would the NHL go there and not Hamilton? I struggle with referring to the Tiger Cats as "minor league." There is no other league in the world that plays Canadian football at such a high calibre. It can't really be compared to the NFL. So "minor league" I'd say not.

      2. I am surprised you don't think US fans have seen hockey. The major networks covered it for years and finally gave up - the ratings were terrible. ESPN had it and dropped it. The fact is Americans have seen hockey and on the whole don't like it. That isn't a knock on the NHL or the sport. Hockey is a niche product there - like basketball is in Canada outside of Toronto.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: John Edwards
      To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2009 9:10 PM
      Subject: Re: [hockhist] Why not Hamilton?

      On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 11:24 AM, <craigw@...> wrote:
      > 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.

      This is a significant problem. The economy in Hamilton is far from
      settled. I believe Stelco (or whatever it is these days) is about to
      shut down, and I'm not sure there is anything to replace it.

      > Having said that why is the NHL so opposed to such a move?

      There are several reasons. Off the top of my head, I can come up with these:

      1. It's in both the Toronto and Buffalo territories. Both those teams
      are said to have objections to a Hamilton entry. The NHL is not likely
      to act over the objections of two of its clubs (especially Toronto).
      2. The NHL and its teams gain nothing from the move financially. There
      is an argument to be made that they lose money.
      3. Hamilton has no corporate community to speak of.
      4. The arena in Hamilton is outdated and in severe need of renovations
      to get to NHL standards.
      5. They would rather get an expansion fee for it.

      > 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.

      Hamilton is a miniscule media market. In real terms, it does not
      extend much beyond the new City of Hamilton boundaries. I would
      probably give you Burlington, Grimsby and maybe Brantford, but that's
      about it. It has one TV station (which was 3 months from closing), a
      handful of radio stations and a newspaper. I don't think the Toronto
      media would pay much attention to a Hamilton NHL team - or at least,
      no more attention than they do to other Canadian teams.

      > 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.

      True to a point, but, is the CBC or TSN going to fork out 16% more
      money for TV rights with a Hamilton team involved? I don't see it. I
      don't think there's any new money to be had there.

      On the other hand, whatever rights fees (or advertising revenue) the
      league gets from its US deal would suffer with the loss of a Top 20
      NHL market.

      > 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.

      Whether a city is "minor league" or "major league" is usually
      determined by the other sports teams in the city. A city generally
      becomes a "major league" city by getting a major league team. Right
      now, Hamilton has an AHL hockey team and a minor league football team.
      The equivalent US city, then, would be Grand Rapids, Michigan.

      > 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?

      HNIC ratings tend to go down in the third round if the Canadian teams
      are out, but rebound for the finals. This is to be expected, since
      there is a significant hometown bump when the local team is involved.

      The Canadian market is lucrative, but I believe it's saturated.

      > 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?

      I'm not entirely convinced that US fans have seen the game. The NHL
      has, normally by its own fault, managed to keep itself hidden from
      view at every possible opportunity - dating back to the early 1960s.


      John Edwards
      "You can insure against the weather, but you can't insure against
      incompetence, can you?" - Phil Tufnell

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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