I admit, when I first saw the headline on TSN this morning my stomach dropped. Not that I have anything against the people of Nashville, or feel a lot of joy out of ripping a team away from them, but I was hoping that the move to Hamilton would work out because it would be good for the game, for the NHL. Nashville has proven, over the last 10 years that it is not a hockey market. Leipold himself has stated that he would have preferred to have had an NBA team there instead of a hockey team. Hamilton has shown us, over the last month, that the Southern Ontario market can support 2 hockey teams when they purchased over 14000 tickets in two days.
The issue is no longer about whether or not the team can be saved in Nashville, because by the looks of it, there is not going to be a NHL franchise there after this next season. The issue has become where would most benefit the other 29 teams individually and the league as a whole. Now I just wanted to break down the common knowledge about the offers, give my perspective on it, and find out if people out in the hockey world agree or disagree with me.
First we have the amounts. Balsillie offered $238 million (US), where as Del Biaggio has offered between the $190 million to $200 million range. Now granted, both of these deals would boost up the current value of all NHL franchises, but Balsillie's at almost $50 million greater, would push it up even further.
Secondly, both potential owners want to move the team. That is no secret, it hasn't been from the beginning. Both of these guys were in the running for the Penguins, and everyone knew that both of them wanted to move the team, which is why they were bidding. So for Leipold to say that he didn't know Balsillie's intentions were to move the team eventually is complete bullocks. Now as for these markets, KC much like Nashville, would prefer to have an NBA franchise, but will settle for a NHL team. Hamilton wants the team so badly and has already shown that they could support it.
Now if the NHL wants to have another stable hockey franchise, that makes money instead of loses it, then it should let the team move to Hamilton. If the team moves to KC, it means that for years all of the other franchises will have to shell out money in revenue sharing until KC grows up its market. Who knows how long that would take! Nashville couldn't even pull it off with 10 years, and the team with the 3rd best record in the NHL.
To me $50 million more, plus a stable market from the very beginning looks a lot better than less money initially and needing league support for years as it grows its market. It seems like a no-brainer, but obviously doesn't appear that way to Mr. Bettman and the rest of the ruling bodies of the NHL.
A few last words, Balsillie taking deposits in Hamilton was genious, it gave media support to the possibility of another team returning to Canada, while at the same time showing that Hamilton can support a team. The argument that it will harm the Maple Leafs and the Sabres is also complete bullocks. The cities are hockey crazy and there are ton of fans who can't go to a lot of games because they are sold out already, and with a new team in the area, there will be a lot more people travelling back and forth between the cities to games, spending money in each of the cities as well. The Maple Leafs, Sabres, Predators, and the NHL would all benefit greatly from this happening, so why isn't it?