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52692Re: Hamilton size and American culture

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  • epenaltybox
    Sep 8, 2009
      Michael, you're missing a couple of points re TV contracts.

      The owner of ESPN started the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. They were willing to pay more money for the contract because some of it was self-dealing.

      The owner of Versus is the owner of the Philadelphia Flyers. Comcast was started by Ed Snider as a way to promote Flyer games on cable.

      Snider, in particular, found a great way to create companies or purchase franchises that would feed other revenue. For instance, he owned Ticketmaster of Delaware, which meant when you went to a Phillies game, you were contributing to the Flyers payroll.

      When the owners found they were losing money in both areas, or they could sell one and pocket the profit with no fan batting an eye, they, like Alexei Yashin, took the money and ran.

      Morey
      --- In hockhist@yahoogroups.com, Michael Levin <milevin@...> wrote:
      >
      > Some notes that I have compiled after reading the exchange of e-mails.
      >
      > One, according to 2006 Canadian census, metropolitan Hamilton is about
      > 693,000 people; roughly equivalent to Winnipeg give or take a couple
      > of hundred people. Let's be generous and call them tied for eighth
      > place for most populous cities in Canada. According to the 2000
      > American census, if you picked up metropolitan Hamilton and placed
      > somewhere in the US, then it would be about the 72nd largest city,
      > sandwiched between Akron, Ohio, and Springfield, MA. All population
      > figures are based on MSA definition and not political or Neilsen
      > television definitions.
      >
      > You want to locate a hockey franchise in Akron? Skip the geography
      > aspect of that question and consider only the size of city. More
      > factors go into answering that question. However, if you asked me, do
      > you want to put a franchise in Winnipeg or Hamilton, then I pick
      > Winnipeg. I would take Kansas City over Akron too. As somebody else
      > argued, and I agree, if the Coyotes wanted to move to Kansas City,
      > then the NHL would not care.
      >
      > Also, as was argued on the listserv, none of the Canadian television
      > outlets will pay more because a team is located in Hamilton. Perhaps
      > they would pay more for a Winnipeg city? How much higher will the
      > ratings increase with the addition of a Canadian market?
      >
      > Two, the NHL chose Sports Channel of America over ESPN for money.
      > IIRC, Sports Channel offered somewhere in the neighborhood of $55
      > million for the life of the contract. The NHL took the money and
      > disappeared. By the time the NHL re-emerged on ABC, the NHL was
      > effectively paying ABC to carry the games. The NHL chose Versus
      > because that cable outlet actually paid money for the cable rights
      > unlike ESPN, which essentially offered nothing for the rights. NBC
      > also gave the NHL a revenue sharing pact.
      >
      > Three, Americans do not like foreign sports. Women's basketball,
      > soccer, indoor lacrosse, etc. can manage to attract a comparably small
      > but stable audience. MLS seems to run a league that averages no more
      > fans than the NHL with similar television ratings. The MLS has done a
      > better job of managing its television rights than the NHL. Australia
      > also does not like soccer. Or baseball for that matter, but they love
      > Australian Rules Football. England does not watch professional
      > basketball. Spain ignored American football, which Germany loved.
      > Russia could care less about team handball. All countries have
      > embraced a sport or a set of sports as their own. Those sports
      > represent and reflect the country's culture. America did not embrace
      > hockey to the degree that they embrace football.
      >
      > So what?
      >
      > Half the television audience for the NFL never, ever played a down of
      > the sport. You can attract fans who did not play the sport, which
      > leads to the fourth point.
      >
      > Four, many Americans are aware of hockey, some have seen hockey, and
      > the majority of Americans do not care. In marketing, we talk about the
      > product. How many people are aware or unaware of the product? Of the
      > people who are aware of the product, how many have sampled, or tried,
      > the product? Of the people, who have sampled the product, how many
      > bought the product? Of the people who bought the product, how many
      > bought it again? It continues from there, but you get the point.
      >
      > The percentage of course continues to drop with the answer to each
      > question. More people are aware of your product than have bought your
      > product repeatedly.
      >
      > Most Americans are aware of hockey. Ultimately, they do not want to
      > buy it. That's a huge problem. Garry Bettman would rather support a
      > dead franchise for a year to three years (the Expos sucked on the MLB
      > teat for 3 years and I am STILL bitter) than address the NHL's
      > fundamental problem. How do you get these people to buy the product?
      >
      > Five, the people managing the NHL cannot or will not lead the NHL.
      > After all these years, Bettman still has not made the transformation
      > from a second in command to a commander. The situations in Pittsburgh,
      > Nashville, and Phoenix reflect his priorities. The 94-95 lockout and
      > the 04-05 lockout represent his two greatest failures. He gave
      > consumers, the Americans he so desperately wants to buy tickets and
      > watch the games, a reason not to care about his product.
      >
      > Can you imagine how long the CEO of Proctor & Gamble would last if he
      > withdrew all P&G products not just from Wal-Mart's shelves but from
      > the shelves from all retailers? Would he even last to the end of the
      > business day?
      >
      > How Bettman survived the first lockout let alone the second lockout
      > tells you how much the owners must prefer a manager to a leader.
      >
      > Finally, where does that leave the NHL? The league needs a leader.
      > Enough academic studies have been published on why people buy and
      > consume the way they do that any market researcher worth their salt
      > can put together a credible and usable survey. What will it take to
      > get people to buy tickets?
      >
      > Discounting and other sales promotions do not work. Perhaps it is
      > because the product - NHL style hockey - is a turn off?
      >
      > The last NHL game I ever watched on television from beginning to end
      > was game 5 of the 1993 Stanley Cup. Growing up in the South, I never
      > played or saw hockey in person. My college roommate, who was from St.
      > Louis and an avid Blues fan, had to explain a lot of the tactics.
      > Still, it was a great series. I tried watching a few times after that
      > Cup but the style of play was so stiff.
      >
      > When I lived in Oklahoma City, I went to a couple of Blazers game. The
      > crowds were large (8k or so) but only came alive when the inevitable
      > fight or fights broke out. Cheap parking. Cheap tickets. Cheap beer.
      > And men fighting on ice. Who could ask for a better time in downtown
      > OKC? Too bad the hockey was ragged.
      >
      > Since those 93 Cup games, the only hockey I watch on television from
      > beginning to end is Olympic hockey in large part because of the fast
      > restart, the almost non-existing fights, the extra wide ice, and a
      > style of play that is more fluid.
      >
      > I now call Columbus home. The Bluejackets are never a topic of
      > conversation in our household. The Crew are though. At work, you can
      > find people several people who either go to Crew games or watch soccer
      > on television. Despite making the playoffs no one said, "How about
      > those Bluejackets?" Hmmm.....
      >
      > Bettman, your league is burning to the ground. Do you want to put the
      > fire out or continue fiddling?
      >
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