The title that I wanted to put for this was too long so I had to shorten it. I don't mean to cause any kind of hatred or anything with it. The original title was to be: "Why the NHL is better off in Phoenix than in Winnipeg - Part 2: The Rebuttals".
Alright, so I promised to write a blog to counter the 18 comments on my last blog. Close to half of those comments didn't even show up on the site and that includes one of mine! So here we go...
spaccamuru wrote.. "What part of over $200 000 000 lost is not making sense here....Winnipeg deserves their team back as much as Quebec City...Bettman is losing credibility putting teams in non-hockey cities...He tried and failed miserably... "
My response: Are you saying that Winnipeg would have not lost a lot of money had they stayed in the NHL? They were on a payroll of around $20 million CAD which works out to be around $12-15 million US based on the rough exchange rate back then. Player costs were rising and the salary cap would have enforced a minimum team salary of around $20-30 million more than the Jets were used to paying in their day. I can't say how much the Jets would have lost had they remained but $100,000,000 is definitely not out of the question. That would be losing $20 million a season over 5 years and that is a realistic number since 2004 if you want to ballpark it.
Sabata wrote.. "it is interesting that the NHL now makes a commitment to a hockey market yet failed in that regard in Winnipeg and Quebec. While I have concerns over those two markets as well the NHL if going to provide financial support would be betteroff investing in Canada. There is no doubt Southern Ontario could support this team. Its time to move it to Hamilton."
My response: Good points being made here. My only concern is that there may be no perfect markets left. The best might be Las Vegas and everyone knows that a team there would be an absolute cash cow. However, Canadians would not like to see a debacle similar to the Las Vegas Posse... As for Ontario, they will eventually get a team. My only concern for that area is long term. How will they survive in a pretty small market (think corporations) and when the team does poorly, will they still sell out? In my opinion, all of the good Canadian markets have been taken.
Kurri17 wrote.. "I have trouble buying anything from someone who thinks "inexistent" is a word."
My response: I misspelled a word. Boohoo. It should have been "non-existant" right? I don't know how that detracts from my argument but you're free to think as you wish.
OneTimer wrote.. "Sunbelt hockey is awesome. Go Preds."
My response: Thanks for the comment. The league needs your support of the Preds. Keep it up!
blueline wrote.. "The never-ending debate. Go Preds."
My response: Ah yes, never-ending indeed. Thanks for the comment and here's to a good 09/10 season in Smashville.
BryanM wrote.. "The problem with Winnipeg and Quebec City is that there were no buyers who wanted to keep the team there and no corporate sponsorship deals available. That's why the league pulled the plug. They took the teams away from places that had fans, but no investors and put them in places where they have investors and fans."
My response: Well it is a business right? The issue of corporate support is one that will be a long term issue should the NHL grant teams to Winnipeg or Hamilton or what have you. These markets are smaller (from an economic perspective) than the teams of the "sunbelt" cities. There is MUCH more room for expansion in US markets than in Canadians for reasons I outlined in my previous blog and thats part of Bettman's vision for the league. Thanks for the comment and insight.
Jsaquella wrote.. "Honestly, the last season didn't draw well because the fans knew they had a lame duck on their hands. Second, if you try to make a serious comment, leave out the sophomoric attacks on a city."
My response: I don't think thats a reason to buy into why they drew so few. They had some good pieces which led to them making the playoffs in each of their first 4 seasons in Phoenix (with some additions and subtractions to the roster). If your team isn't doing well on the ice and could be a threat to move elsewhere, wouldn't that bring more fans to the rink? The Vancouver Grizzlies are universally known (or close to it) as the worst franchise in sports history. The season after there was a threat to move the team, attendance increased. Thats the kind of thing that one would have hoped to see from the Jets fans. As for the attacks on the city, what about the attacks on the southern markets by the Canadian media? Are you forgetting about those? Almost anyday that I turn on the radio, I hear David Pratt going ballistic about how people in Phoenix, Nashville, Sunrise, Tampa,etc don't care about hockey. If they didn't care about hockey, guess what their average attendance each season would be? 0!! There are people who care and that number is far greater in some cities than others. Its unfair to group them and generalize that nobody cares about the game in these cities when its clear, especially by this site, that a significant number of people do care.
senate666 wrote.. "The economic landscape in Manitoba is as opposite today as it could possibly be from when the Jets left. This should be the bottom line, single sentence to veto all possible counter-arguments. Winnipeg would have great success if given a second chance, no doubt whatsoever."
My response: The economic landscape in Manitoba wasn't the single reason why the Jets left. There were many other problems and all of which were outlined in my previous blog. If anything, the economic landscape and the exchange rate which is what you must be thinking about only made things worse but was not the sole problem. Winnipeg was the NHL's second smallest market. Winnipeg would have great success in its first 3 seasons, as any team new to a market would. Long term success would depend on the team's on-ice product and corporate support.
Kid Kaboom wrote.. "I would like to see anyone trying to move N-J or NYI... the arenas are empty as much as in Phoenix. The only difference is that they have won Stanley Cups. To my perspective they should just fold them as well as other financially weak teams...Less teams = better competition = better show = more network value.The truth is, the potential of money is greater in the US than Canada, in that regards i agree with Predram."
My response: I think New Jersey should and will stay since they seem to have enough corporate support and are actually located in a city. The Islanders on the other hand are in a suburb and the Lighthouse Project proposal from Charles Wang isn't going in the favor of the Isles' owner. There have been numerous games over the last 3 or so seasons where the Isles have drawn less than 10000 fans to Nassau Coliseum. Your theory is good but when they get to the point of "more network value", that is when the talk of expansion comes in. This is just common to any other business.
Thanks to everyone for the comments on my last blog. For those who weren't able to get their posts through on the last one, feel free to try again here. I also welcome more debate, more comments and your own rebuttals here as well.