Can anyone recall exactly why the NHL decided to shut 'er down for a season? I think it had something to do with salaries spiraling out of control, attendance in lots of markets were down and owners were losing buckets of money.
Fast forward to today.
As of Feb. 7, 2008, only 11 of the 30 teams are averaging at (or above) arena capacity this season. 10 teams are averaging less then 85% capacity, while 5 teams are averaging 80% or less.
7 teams are averaging less than 15,000 per game.
The scary thing about these numbers is that these ARE NOT
paid attendance figures. You know, that thing where people trade something called currency (or money if you prefer) for a service or good, such as a ticket.
Nashville's average attendance is listed at 14,234. However, paid attendance has them below to the "no revenue-sharing zone" of 13,125 at an actual 12,638.
Why all the lies?
I have seen empty buildings all around the league (other than Canadian cities, but that is a different story for a different time), yet the attendance is listed as much higher. These numbers are obviously fake. Is it that hard to really count and report the amount of people that go through the turn-stiles accurately in today's day and age? Obviously it isn't, but it is far more embarrassing to see a team report an attendance of 5,000 people than it is to state "well, we gave away 7,000 tickets, so people are holding them, and even though they didn't show up to the game, well, they are accounted for
..." and say that 12,000 were there.
Suffice it to say, attendance is bad in some markets and worse in others, yet the league still talks about record attendance numbers. What numbers are you using?
Next on the list - the salary cap. One of (if not THE reason) for the lock-out and its resolution. How can the salary cap keep escalating? We all know that the salary cap is tied to revenue in the new CBA, but teams are losing money left, right, and center. Daniel Tolensky summed it up beautifully today (see http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=13146
) about how the Preds (sorry Nashville fans for picking on you but your numbers don't lie) are still losing money coming out of the lockout. Yet the cap is rising!?! Where is the revenue growth coming from? I have a VERY hard time believe that only Nashville is reporting a loss every year, yet every team must pay to the "cap floor" which is almost at what the "cap ceiling" was at when the league came back after the lock-out. Absolutely incredible.
So I say it again? What numbers are the NHL using
Where are the attendance figures coming from? How can many teams lose millions every year yet still see the cap increase due to increased revenue? Are the inflated attendance numbers helping to raise the salary cap due to inflated revenue numbers?
I don't suggest that I know the answers, but someone must. If the cap keeps spiraling upwards at this rate then things will be even worse off then before the lock-out. That is is a guarantee.
If teams are losing money this year, and then required to spend more next year, what do you think will happen? Good luck keeping 30 "stable" franchises around if this keeps up.