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Why not Hamilton?

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  • craigw@mountaincable.net
    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
    Message 1 of 13 , 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
    • Dylan Sides
      You re missing the point a bit--the NHL ISN T against putting a team in Hamilton--they just don t want what s his nuts--the Blackberry dude--to be the owner.
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 1, 2009
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        You're missing the point a bit--the NHL ISN"T against putting a team in Hamilton--they just don't want what's his nuts--the Blackberry dude--to be the owner. Yeah they approved him for Pittsburgh, but then he immediately wanted to move that team to Hamilton and balked at the requirements for relocation the NHL imposed. Next he tried to but the Nashville Predators and even before he was approved for that sale--saying he wasn't going to move them, starting taking season ticket deposits for the team in Hamilton. With the Coyotes, he pushed Moyes to putting the team into bankruptcy to try and get around the NHL's relocation rules and circumvent the league--quite a way to piss the league off eh?

        If someone with enough cash came about and approached the league that they would like to either buy an expansion team for Hamilton or relocate a present team to Hamilton and was totally up-front and above board about it and went through all the proper established channels and followed all the rules--then Hamilton would most likely get its team. This dude, on the other hand, has his way lit by the bridges he's burned and won't be an NHL owner as long as the present owners and commisioner are still around and kicking--he's blown his NHL opportunity.

        dylan

        --- On Tue, 9/1/09, craigw@... <craigw@...> wrote:

        From: craigw@... <craigw@...>
        Subject: [hockhist] Why not Hamilton?
        To: hockhist@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2009, 10:24 AM






         





        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































        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • John Edwards
        ... I m afraid I don t buy the mean old Balsillie line. When he went through the proper channels, the deal was changed at the last minute to handcuff him.
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 1, 2009
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          On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 7:38 PM, Dylan Sides<dylansides@...> wrote:
          > You're missing the point a bit--the NHL ISN"T against putting a team in Hamilton--they just don't want what's his nuts--the
          > Blackberry dude--to be the owner. Yeah they approved him for Pittsburgh, but then he immediately wanted to move that team to
          > Hamilton and balked at the requirements for relocation the NHL imposed. Next he tried to but the Nashville Predators and even
          > before he was approved for that sale--saying he wasn't going to move them, starting taking season ticket deposits for the team in
          > Hamilton. With the Coyotes, he pushed Moyes to putting the team into bankruptcy to try and get around the NHL's relocation
          > rules and circumvent the league--quite a way to piss the league off eh?

          I'm afraid I don't buy the "mean old Balsillie" line. When he went
          through the proper channels, the deal was changed at the last minute
          to handcuff him. When he attempted the second time, the NHL found a
          crook to buy the team instead for less money.

          > If someone with enough cash came about and approached the league that they would like to either buy an expansion team for
          > Hamilton or relocate a present team to Hamilton and was totally up-front and above board about it and went through all the proper
          > established channels and followed all the rules--then Hamilton would most likely get its team.

          Hardly. There are myriad reasons why Hamilton would be a lousy
          location for an NHL team, "Blackberry dude" or not.

          The NHL has shown, by its recent actions, that it is against teams
          moving from where they are now. They have fought particularly hard
          when the potential destination is Canada. Do you think the NHL would
          be fighting this move if the intended destination for Phoenix was
          Kansas City? I sincerely doubt it. Kansas City would probably have
          already had the "Name the Team" contest.

          The league allowed relocation to happen when it suited its purposes in
          the mid-90s (Northern/Canadian teams moving south), and is attempting
          to stop relocation from happening when it does not suit its purposes -
          now that southern franchises are considering moving north. They
          clearly still believe in the Southern Strategy. Like it or not, that's
          their plan and they're sticking to it.

          John

          --
          John Edwards
          "You can insure against the weather, but you can't insure against
          incompetence, can you?" - Phil Tufnell
        • Michael Levin
          If the mess in Phoenix cannot become a bigger joke, the NHL submitted their own bid.
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 1, 2009
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            If the mess in Phoenix cannot become a bigger joke, the NHL submitted
            their own bid.

            http://www.fieldofschemes.com/news/archives/2009/09/3807_coyotes_sale_ev.html

            How does Bettman still have a job? The league barely collects enough
            revenues (see lousy VS television deal, struggling franchises) to
            function yet it finds enough coins in the creases of the league's
            couches to buy and operate the Coyotes?

            If I owned an NHL team, then I would be on the phone to a franchise
            broker to dump my franchise before everyone else does.

            Fortunately, the sport will thrive despite Bettman, the Southern
            teams, and the mess in Phoenix. I am not so sure about the NHL,.
          • John Edwards
            ... 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
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 1, 2009
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              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

              --
              John Edwards
              "You can insure against the weather, but you can't insure against
              incompetence, can you?" - Phil Tufnell
            • William Underwood
              I think that the assertion that US fans don t want to watch Canadian teams shows how out of touch the NHL is with its fan base.Yes American fans prefer games
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 2, 2009
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                I think that the assertion that "US fans don't want to watch Canadian teams"
                shows how out of touch the NHL is with its fan base.Yes American fans prefer
                games against RIVALS.meaning say Philly/New York, New York/New York.but
                after that they really don't care if as team is Canadian or not. In fact, if
                the NHL really did it's home work they would find that most hard core hockey
                fans.and as the ratings say there are few others out there, have an abiding
                respect for Canada, know a but about it and even get a bit excited over
                Canadian teams because they know that SOMEONE out there actually cares that
                there is a game.in actuality most fans that I know have little or no
                interest in Bettman's southern abominations unless they are winning.



                As far as the concept that "American shave just not seen hockey".that is an
                excuse that is just getting more and more tired.



                1-Hockey has been in the US now for years and for decades in minor league or
                major league from in all corners. Yet even where it has "worked" support is
                thin. I live near Philly and the further that you get from the city itself
                the less hockey support there is.it does not resonate. And even in Philly
                itself the Flyers are a small potatoes compared to the Eagles, Philly or
                college hoops. You will find a lot of people who are just not hockey fans
                and if they are odds are that they are FLYER fans and simply do not watch
                ANY other hockey.once the "Bullies" are done it is back to following the
                other local teams.they are NOT that way once the Phils or Eagles are done
                about their sports. You would be hard pressed for them to name a single
                Columbus player unless it is an ex Flyer.and were called a "success
                story".even minor pro hockey does not do well without a Flyer tie in.in
                Trenton since the devils took over you don't draw AT ALL, the actual.not the
                listed crowds are under 2000 generally.Amateur hockey draws nothing.

                2-Gang we are coming up on some 15 years of the "national expansion. How
                long is "enough time".what is "enough time"? The French said "with enough
                time we will pacify Algeria, the Americans said with enough time we will win
                in Vietnam.ditto for the Soviets in Afghanistan. NASL said the same thing
                about soccer in the 70's "give us time and the Soccer Bowl will be bigger
                than the Super Bowl".they were "THE sport of the 70's" or was that the 80's?


                3-This whole but about "they have not been on TV enough" fails to work too.
                They were on NETWORK TV in the late 50's and 60's, in the early 70's, the
                90's and now they STILL have their game of the week. They have been on ESPN
                which the vast majority of Americans have received since the 80's.and they
                were crammed down the throats of America when they were also on
                ESPN2.America did not buy.

                4-The lame excuse of "they don't market it well" is weak too. What exactly
                are they supposed to do? Offer free money or sex at the door? NHL teams have
                GIVEN away seats in a lot of places.you look at some of the Southern
                telecasts and they have ticket packages that up here we might associate with
                the AHL or ECHL! It is just not a part of American culture and is unlikely
                to ever be. I have studied sports marketing as apart of my work and when I
                was in grads school, worldwide it has or even pretty much impossible for a
                foreign sport to penetrate a MATURE sports market as America is, on a mass
                basis. Successful imports come into a few categories.a mass influx of
                foreign population as we see in the settler colonies of the British Empire.a
                social order that makes participation in them somehow chique as was the case
                with cricket in India.a lack of organized domestic sport is almost a must
                and if there is a native sport it is somehow usually similar.or a state
                sponsored orchestration as we saw when Stalin cut the budget for bandy and
                put it into hockey. The sports landscape that we see was pre ordained by the
                early 20th century. Hockey is a LOUSY candidate to beak the pattern! It is
                hard to learn and expensive thus quite exclusionary. Plus it id dangerous
                which means insurance drives costs up even further. It is hard to really
                catch on TV. And it is a WINTER game spawned by a winter culture, the US is
                largely not a cold winter country who actually is seeing its average
                temperature RISE.we rarely get snow anymore here around Philly , some
                winters really hardly any at all.. Unlike soccer it is not truly of WORLD
                APPEAL (gee I hate to even think about watching the Brazilian National
                hockey team gang) so it even lacks the "you are missing the big party" that
                the World Cup has every 4 years.



                The sport made a wrong turn.it went south when it should be looking
                east.toward Europe for its big future. For the NHL the US is its great
                unrequited love and always will be. It is as simple as that.



                Now Hamilton is a complex issue. Yes Balsillie has made a major cod of
                himself of late but then again when he tried to do it by the book he was cut
                off at the ankles. NOW he is an issue. But proximity to Buffalo was ALWAYS
                an issue for the Sabres. They really fear losing much of their base. As far
                as TV money goes, it is fanciful thinking.the US TV people simply say "but
                no one watches in Phoenix."and the NHL actually pays NBC to get on the
                air.they but the air time sell the slots and split it 50-50 ala Arena
                Football. In terms of sponsors, they have a tough time getting any that
                either are not Canadian based or do business in Canada, they probably have
                more to worry about good will in Hamilton than having a team where no one
                watches.the NHL can't grasp that because they can not accept their own
                insignificance on the US sports scene. Finally there is the issue of Bettman
                and the fact that the US south is their Vietnam.they are losing the war and
                deep down they know it but can't accept it just like when Westmoreland would
                come out every week showing this largely fabricated body count and seize on
                one small political success among a sea of failures to try to rationalize..
                They think if they keep teams there it will all change aside from the odd
                tick when a team is winning and that papering the houses while they lose
                millions somehow gains them credibility. But with who? Do they think that
                those of us who are on the inside or event eh fringes are fooled? We would
                have to be idiots that do no homework! As for the outside.no one CARES! Most
                of the great unwashed American masses would be hard pressed to name over 5
                NHL teams! If they moved most would say "oh " I never knew that they were
                there in the first place." Yet pride has been the downfall of more than one
                entity.No Hamilton does not have the best economy but it could do better
                than places where simply no one cares.but a background issue id how might it
                effect a 2nd TO team down the line that they can sell for a relative king's
                ransom and the Leafs would get a LARGER bundle from?



                It is a complex issue. It is more than just a Canadian US issue, that we
                would see more weight on if it was not as close as Hamilton is to the
                Sabres. Personally I am pulling for Balsiillie (if he gets in can he just go
                by Jimmy B.that name is a PAIN to type:-)).I'd love NOTHING more than to
                see Bettman's face if the judge decided that way.hell I might even get it
                blown up to poster size! :-) But I am not banking odds either way.judges are
                an independent lot!



                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Craig Wallace
                John, 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?
                Message 7 of 13 , Sep 2, 2009
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                  John,

                  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.


                  Craig




                  ----- 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

                  --
                  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]
                • John Edwards
                  1. There was no functional difference. The selection of Columbus was, in fact, criticized because the NHL had expanded into a minor league city. As for the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Sep 2, 2009
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                    1. There was no functional difference. The selection of Columbus was,
                    in fact, criticized because the NHL had expanded into a "minor league"
                    city.

                    As for the CFL, I don't think there's any question that in the North
                    American market, the CFL is a minor league. A bundle of rules
                    differences does not change the fact that it is still football. Would
                    you consider the Arena Football League a major league? What about AF2?
                    Certainly not, despite the fact that there is no other league in the
                    world that plays Arena football at such a high calibre.

                    I stand by my previous statement: the American equivalent to Hamilton
                    is Grand Rapids, MI. Albany, NY might also qualify.

                    2. The NHL has consistently chosen the option that shoots itself in
                    the foot. The league never misses an opportunity to miss an
                    opportunity. In the 1960s, they were unwilling to adapt to networks'
                    requests to the point where they almost started covering the WHL
                    instead. In the 1980s, the league jumped into bed with SportsChannel
                    America - a network that was in about 47 homes at the time. In 1994,
                    after the Rangers put the league into the national consciousness (New
                    York drives that bus more than Americans like to admit), the NHL
                    responded by shutting down for four months - killing any momentum they
                    had. After the latest lockout, they again chose to align themselves
                    with a little-known and largely unseen cable channel, failing to
                    recognize that ESPN had a virtual monopoly on national sports coverage
                    and that they'll ignore what they don't cover.

                    Americans have bought enough ridiculous concepts that I refuse to
                    believe the contention that hockey can not be sold to them. It has not
                    been successfully to date, but that does not mean it is impossible.

                    John

                    On Wed, Sep 2, 2009 at 7:08 PM, Craig Wallace<craigw@...> wrote:
                    > John,
                    >
                    > 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.
                    >
                    >
                    > Craig
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ----- 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
                    >
                    >  --
                    >  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]
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------
                    >
                    > To unsubscribe from this mail list, send a blank message to hockhist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >



                    --
                    John Edwards
                    "You can insure against the weather, but you can't insure against
                    incompetence, can you?" - Phil Tufnell
                  • William Underwood
                    John, as an American I can ASSURE you that it has been sold to us! But in the general US public it is a punch line to a joke or a cult sport . Did it ever
                    Message 9 of 13 , Sep 3, 2009
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                      John, as an American I can ASSURE you that it has been sold to us! But in
                      the general US public it is a punch line to a joke or a "cult sport". Did it
                      ever occur to you that the NHL has a tough time GETTING on networks.and your
                      facts are a bit off.



                      1-The networks only looked at the WHL in the early 60's until the NHL did
                      PRECISELY what they wanted.they expanded. The actual fact is that in 1967
                      the NHL did EXACTLY what the networks wanted, they expanded coast to coast
                      in the US. They were even market conscious taking in Philly who needed a new
                      arena.

                      2-When they went on Sports Channel, it was not ESPN but at the time was a
                      competitor that since ESPN has left in its wake. It had a huge reach. It WAS
                      then on ESPN, in fact BOTH ESPN's and shoved down the American markets
                      throats! You had games on the Deuce almost every night and they promoted the
                      hell out of it! And do you want to know why the NHL lost ESPN? It wasn't the
                      lock out.it was the RATINGS which by the end had gotten it more or less
                      consigned to the Deuce as opposed to regular ESPN! POKER was drawing better
                      ratings as was women's basketball! Arena football did better. It's ratings
                      were down there with lower level soccer. It was ON ESPN, promoted out of the
                      wazoo by them, you could not turn the darn thing on without NHL this or that
                      advertised, they used announcements, their clever little ads, it got a lot
                      of sports center time, they had NHL Tonight and a general full court press
                      but people just didn't buy.



                      You say that Americans "buy ridiculous concepts." but there are two
                      flaws.one most of them have a short shelf life. Two, most of them are
                      American concepts.born out of an American imagination with a certain degree
                      of practicality to them. Hockey fits neither.it is a sport that is not an
                      American invention, I always say that a sport is reflective of the society
                      that creates it's soul.Hockey is Canada's soul not the America's. Yes that
                      soul can be transplanted but it has to be transplanted into receptive soil.
                      Ultimately hockey is a WINTER game, most of America is not a winter country.
                      Add on it is not very practical.as I said before, you don't just pick up a
                      stick and play this one out of the box. It takes YEARS to master. To even
                      play it properly it takes a lot of time to even learn how to skate. Now you
                      can say "what of street or roller hockey".they are simply NOT the SAME game.
                      And even they require some equipment and learned skills. Take it from me, I
                      did not grow up on skates.I remember how much it cost to just learn how to
                      skate in a relatively northern city.it meant going to a RINK as we have no
                      natural ice to speak of.each trip meant someone had to get me there (tougher
                      today in two parent work homes) and we had to pay for that ice. In the US
                      rinks are 99% private, so you have little communal subsidization to cut
                      costs. And it took countless hours of falling on my tail to learn.THEN we
                      get to the skills which are NOT directly transportable form the street to
                      the ice.you can be a terror on the street but not even be able to lift the
                      puck at first on ice, until you learn the balance, the different surface,
                      the different weight of the puck and the different weight exchange which is
                      the real key on skates. Kids get frustrated and quit.but down here this is
                      NOT a sport that you learn on a whim! The equipment costs are PHENOMINAL and
                      do you know something.when you play on a top midget or junior team in Canada
                      at least they are in part taken care of.down here you are on your own.at
                      JUNIOR A games I see fathers cringe when a stick gets broken as the
                      inevitable pro shop trip is coming.Are you Aware that the VAST majority of
                      American hockey is tuition based and as rinks are not helped by sponsors or
                      the community ice costs are THROUGH THE CEILING! It can go 4-500 an hour! So
                      tuition for a TRAVEL team down here is largely in the 5-10,000 range. You
                      also have to pay for travel, it can EASILY get into the 12 -15 grand range!
                      And this is Philly, the further south you go the worse it gets.Add on odds
                      are there is not a rink in your town, there are kids who have to drive 30-50
                      miles for ice and that is in an area that has WAY more rinks than most of
                      the country outside of maybe Michigan, New England and Minny. It is not a
                      sport that is all that accessible to many Americans so how do they build
                      that bond? Seeing the NHL live is expensive. Now we do have minor league
                      hockey but it is not pervasive and it is not stable, teams are in and out of
                      existence year to year. And for the most part amateur hockey has ZERO
                      appeal. High school hockey is not played at the school and here you have the
                      big a boo of insurance come into play. Many high schools do not even
                      officially recognize their team, it is a club. They don't want the insurance
                      risk for players and crowds as they are not on school property and duly
                      monitored. Outside of Minny high school has little or no draw.not even in
                      New England outside of prep and parochial where the crowd is a couple of
                      hundred students working off demerits and faculty to make due note, parents,
                      and a dozen or so scouts. Club, even most junior hockey gets no coverage.I
                      have been at EJHL junior A games around here and if you have 50-80 family
                      members there it is a decent crowd and the Hitmen LED the EJ in attendance!
                      :-) Take away family and scouts and the place is pretty much EMPTY! Even
                      college hockey has a spotty following.yes in some small communities it is
                      big and then there is Minny.but I have been to pretty sparse Hockey East
                      games where the attendance is 90 % students. And in the ECAC, well Princeton
                      has a had a good team of late but when the students are out.unless you have
                      a Cornell who have a big New York area alum, it is pretty empty and when
                      Cornell comes to town I always joke."gee it is nice here in Ithaca
                      tonight".Cornell fans outnumber Tiger fans! Once the local Trenton Titans
                      became the Devils and promo was cut and the arena lost its luster of being
                      new.the crowds dropped by over 50 %...They tried college games at the pro
                      building, they even brought Notre Dame in.the result was smaller crowds than
                      minor pro hoops drew and they folded after a year and we used to joke about
                      that."it is the only game in town where all of the fans are on a first name
                      basis."



                      Why doesn't it sell? Ask 1000 American non hockey fans and they will give
                      you 100 different excuses.but I have never heard "I never saw it."and I have
                      heard them all.."to much fighting" and I say "go to a college game" and they
                      say 'I can't follow the puck" so I say "get different seats" they then say
                      "too many substitutions" and I say "do you watch football?" And in the end
                      it comes down their politeness eroding and them saying the real truth."I
                      just don't like it."



                      Now to we who are hockey fans that seems impossible but I submit that fans
                      around the world feel the SDANME way about THIOER various games that many or
                      most of us say "I don't like it." I have met West Indians (as well as Indian
                      Indians) who think that cricket is the ultimate sport's Japanese who will
                      say the same of sumo Just as you are a proud Canadian whop can't imagine
                      hockey not selling, they are equally proud of their games which sell in
                      their nations as hockey does in Canada. To our Americans here, if you are
                      still with me, most of our neighbors would say the same of good old American
                      football wouldn't they? Yet in Toronto the NFL has gotten a less than wild
                      reception, I know Irish who think it is a crashing bore and Aussies who see
                      it as a sissified joke."you sure do dress your footballers up don't ya
                      mate.we don't need all those pads."NBFLE is no more.our cup of tea is not
                      theirs.



                      Americans have seen hockey Jon.most just say "no thanks."



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Michael Levin
                      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;
                      Message 10 of 13 , Sep 3, 2009
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                        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?
                      • William Underwood
                        While playing the game on a team is not a prerequisite for a sport, it sure does help if you AT LEAST played it sandlot and I defy anyone to tell me that there
                        Message 11 of 13 , Sep 4, 2009
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                          While playing the game on a team is not a prerequisite for a sport, it sure
                          does help if you AT LEAST played it sandlot and I defy anyone to tell me
                          that there is a SINGLE AMERICAN who never even played backyard football. Now
                          yes pkaying doea notr mena watching as we see in soccer but it sure does
                          help.



                          Yes Mike the NHL went for the money with SC but at the time it was far from
                          apparent that Sc had no major future.as far as today goes, simple put ESPN
                          offered no money because they really did not wan the NHL and would have only
                          given it limited slots. Plus cable is the only paying national TV deal that
                          the NHL has.



                          But I think that we both agree, hockey has been available to Americans but
                          it puts their feet to sleep.



                          As fart as lock outs go, other sports survive them WELL. Why? They actually
                          have a following. Hockey actually is not bad off that way as what following
                          that they do have is quite loyal. Now what they flirt with is if the lock
                          outs alienate them. And there may be another coming, anyone notice the
                          latest follies over at the NHLPA? "We knuckled under too easy the last
                          time." HELLO, does anyone have an IQ above zero over there? Does anyone ugh
                          REALLY think that the owners can loosen the system up? In fact it may need
                          more tightening but the PA boobs JUST DON'T GET IT! Yes it was the owners
                          and the "great lie" perpetrated by Bettman and co that made the mess.."we
                          are doing great, SURE teams are worth a small king's ransom, you must BUY IN
                          now, a multi trillion dollar US TV deal is going to happen, you wait and see
                          if we can only get every US city that does not watch the game in it will
                          HAPPEN." Players have big ears and can you expect them to believe you when
                          you say "listen guys (quick nudge) we are lying between our teeth to find
                          suckers to buy teams, it isn't true."And if you did not toss money out there
                          the "big lie" would be gone.and this says nothing of the fact that the NHL
                          is so attendance reliant for revenue that making the playoffs can be a
                          matter of red or black.and that in many places the support is so soft that
                          losing can mean a big empty barn! So they were stupid and the piper passes
                          the bill.there is no biog time TV deal, franchise values have plummeted and
                          now the players are still too stupid to get it! Costs have to come down and
                          if the price is another season so be it for many owners. We may see another
                          one unless an adult takes over at the NHLPA who can read the lesson in VERY
                          simple terms because it has obviously not worked so far.



                          Yes Hamilton itself is a smaller city but it is a short drive from
                          Toronto.Green Bay is awful on the SMSA index too but it can make it. And in
                          the world of hockey we can talk TV all that we want but in the end it is
                          more or less impertinent and it is time that the league gets that through
                          it's head.it is butts in seats that makes this game work plain and
                          simple.many of those seats are expensive enough to but a mansion in much of
                          the world but if folks buy them it is the only pertinent equation.



                          The NHL will; never have a real windfall in the US.that will happen in
                          Europe someday and please note how well they are handling that! There is a
                          reason why there is a KHL.when you treat people like the settlers treated
                          the native s when they bought Manhatten for 24 bucks, they tend to get
                          angry! EUOPRE NOT THE US is not only a vital talent source but also in the
                          long run the biggest hockey market in the world. Now it will take time for
                          key economies to develop but does anyone really doubt that they will? the
                          Czechs are becoming more of a part of the West every day and Russia, well
                          with all of its resources and literate population it is inevitable to
                          develop. Go ahead and laugh folks did the same thing about China 75 years
                          ago and Japan 100 years ago. As it does you will have the world's largest
                          hockey market become viable. But, talk about leadership, so far all Bettman
                          has managed to do is to anger the Russians.not truly reach out to them.



                          What the NHL needs is a guy who can lead and manage. Bettman is not much of
                          a leader in the final analysis, he is an errand boy which is what the govs
                          want. There were better men to hire.Dave Branch, Dave Andrews but they have
                          committed the ultimate sin.they were born Canadian. And they have never
                          dealt with US TV.and after all that is the most vital issue right? Like the
                          guy who says "I don't need a job, I 'll buy lottery tix" the NHL can't get
                          past its delusions.



                          In the end Hamilton or Winnipeg or Quebec when they build new digs (if ever)
                          all fit two important bills.one they have those butts in seats.which is THE
                          vital math for the NHL. And given that cost control will always be a vital
                          math, if the NHL is not affordable to them it will have problems
                          elsewhere.as I said in an earlier post I have seen some packages for
                          southern teams that remind me of what the Phantoms offered in Philly! We
                          lack TV money and ALWAYS will so it goes back to the fan.and you have them
                          in Canada! Two, as I said before, the NHL's worst nightmare is if loyal fans
                          jump ship.there are not enough of us to lose any and there are not enough
                          soft support folks to cushion the blow. Pissing off Canada makes no sense!
                          Fighting to keep a team in a US market that is not working lacks sense in
                          and of itself but when you basically stick the stiff middle finger at Canada
                          it is even more stupid. Sure you want stability but stupidity can also be a
                          stable condition and it can often be fatal.



                          One facet of lack of US interest in the game has not been touched on.how
                          many Canadian groups have come out of late with interest in teams? I can
                          think of aside form Jimmy B and the other bid for Phoenix, there were about
                          4 groups who have talked about TO including a Vancouver based outfit and one
                          has talked Quebec City. So we talk a minimum of six from a country of 30
                          million souls! What can the big bad US hockey mafia muster out of a
                          population of some 30 million.THREE one of whom bailed! A Canadian syndicate
                          had to come into Tampa too. As Americans we are known as folks who put our
                          money where our mouth is, when it comes to hockey the silence is deafening
                          and that speaks volumes of the NHL's place in the UJS and how despite
                          billions having been spent and millions lost it still is in stuck neutral at
                          the bottom of the hill it will never be able to climb while their answer to
                          Nero fiddles in court to keep out and owner with money who wants a team in a
                          market that will sell.



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                        • epenaltybox
                          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
                          Message 12 of 13 , Sep 8, 2009
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                            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?
                            >
                          • William Underwood
                            Still Morey.Versus were the only one offering money and a lot of air time.could your statement be an indictment about the game s place in the US market. only
                            Message 13 of 13 , Sep 9, 2009
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                              Still Morey.Versus were the only one offering money and a lot of air
                              time.could your statement be an indictment about the game's place in the US
                              market."only an insider would pay for this as it goes back into his own
                              pocket." The fact is that rating speak volumes, it was laughable when the
                              NHL was actually trumpeting it's ratings earlier this year.if those are
                              good.well if it were a TV show it would die with the pilot or if it were
                              another sport the owners would be suicidal! Note, despite the "bump" during
                              the finals did not result in any TV exec making a call did it?



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