the admiral

NHL Anti-Thread: Bad Business Decision Aggregator

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How well are the Aeros supported? Always thought Houston should had been one of the first southern franchises of the southern migration.

At this point I think the ship has sailed for Houston. Going along with my "the NHL should avoid markets with established NBA teams" theory a NHL organization in Houston would have to compete with the Rockets for fans, ratings, merchandise sales, and corporate dollars.

Actually the Aeros were extremely well-supported when they were in Houston, more so than the Rockets, though the Rockets took a long time to get good. Even with their NBA Finals run in 1981, fans didn't start coming until the Hakeem and Ralph era of the mid-1980's. The main reason for the Aeros not merging with the NHL was the Molson Boycott by the Canadian cities like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec that were trying to get into the league. As a result, during the merger discussions it was revealed that those three cities would be included, as would another hockey team, instead of an earlier proposal that could've guaranteed those three cities, as well as Cincinnati, Hartford, and Houston all a spot at the table. When the folks with both leagues told the Aeros owner Kenneth Schnitzer the final team would be the New England/Hartford Whalers instead of the club in Houston, he basically told both leagues to go :censored: themselves and soon attendance plummeted with this news and he closed up shop the following year. He also tried to ask that the Aeros be put in as a pure expansion franchise or to relocate another failing club to Houston to replace the WHA Houston Aeros, but once again the NHL refused.

That's a great story.

The Aeros went belly up a year before the Molson boycott forced the issue.

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Whoops, worded that incorrectly there. My mistake I had a couple more windows open, and had to re-read what had gotten posted, anywho...

Actually the Aeros were extremely well-supported when they were in Houston, more so than the Rockets, though the Rockets took a long time to get good. Even with their NBA Finals run in 1981, fans didn't start coming until the Hakeem and Ralph era of the mid-1980's. One of the main reasons for the Aeros not merging with the NHL which would later lead to the Molson Boycott by the Canadian cities like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec that were trying to get into the league, was the initial merger agreement in 1977. As a result, during the merger discussions it was revealed that those three cities would be included, as would other hockey teams, instead of an earlier proposal that could've guaranteed those three cities, as well as Cincinnati, Hartford, and Houston all a spot at the table. Basically it was proposal initially made by then-commissioner Ziegler, and later stated by Cincinnati Stingers owner Bill DeWitt Jr. When Harold Ballard and some of the other owners he was close with, voted down that proposal, which would be a key in triggering the boycott, some the folks with both leagues with detailed information of the negotiations told the Aeros owner Kenneth Schnitzer the final team would be the New England/Hartford Whalers instead of the club in Houston, he basically told both leagues to go :censored: themselves and soon attendance plummeted with this news and he closed up shop the following year. He also tried to ask that the Aeros be put in as a pure expansion franchise or to relocate another failing club to Houston to replace the WHA Houston Aeros, but once again the NHL refused.

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By process of elimination, I think we can tell where this is all going to lead to:

1. Seattle doesn't have a hockey-friendly arena, nor is there the public nor political will to build one, so they're out.

2. Quebec is currently railing against the government's attempted strongarming of a financing bill to build their new hockey cathedral, so that $450M pipedream is out, tabernacle.

3. Houston is a potential, but if the owner of the arena isn't interested in NHL hockey, well, that's out.

4. Kansas City doesn't seem to give a rat's, so they're out.

5. Hamilton is out of the equation until Jim Balsillie can invent a mobile operating system to complete with iOS and Android, so they're out.

So as far as I see it, this leaves four potential landing spots for the Coyotes

1. Phoenix, because maybe, MAYBE, MAYBE with strong local ownership and some kind of stability, they can make it sorta kinda work in their own special way.

2. Portland, because they have an NHL-ready arena, a decent support in place for the Winterhawks, and a built-in rivalry with Vancouver and San Jose.

3. Atlantis, because hey, as long as we're dreaming.

4. The moon, because more people have been there than have been to Jobing.com Arena.

Comedy Options 1 and 2: A second team in Toronto sharing the ACC with the Leafs (insert massive relocation fee here), or a second team in Vancouver, because hey, the Pacific Coliseum is totally serviceable and was upgraded for the Olympics. <_<

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a second team in Vancouver

Do we really want to increase the risk of post-season rioting?

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hulsizer_matthew_rotation.jpg

Apparently sportsnet.ca knew about this thread.

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hulsizer_matthew_rotation.jpg

Apparently sportsnet.ca knew about this thread.

I named the original thread, so, hey, there's a possibility... :P

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hulsizer_matthew_rotation.jpg

Apparently sportsnet.ca knew about this thread.

Yes. Just yes. Perfect picture and, of course, great headline. That image immediately came to mind when Hulsizer backed out, and I really have to wonder, if like a celebrity at an awards show, he got a Coyotes jersey and cap loaner that was later returned to the team store and sold as new.

Trotting him out like that in the playoffs was lame.

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Isn't the Milwaukee market even smaller than Pittsburgh, and losing jobs rapidly? Is Milwaukee even really a good 3-sport town anymore let alone 4-sports?

Milwaukee's DMA is smaller than Pittsburgh's, but I think that's a bit deceptive because... unlike the Bucks... an NHL club could realistically expect to draw significant TV viewership (and on the weekends, attendance) from Madison and Green Bay/Appleton.

As far as the economy, it's not exactly bustling, but it is quite stable (stable being a highly relative term by today's standards, of course). The rapid job loss that characterized Milwaukee in the 80s and 90s plateaued in the 2000s and there has been some small, but notable job growth in the healthcare and alternative energy industries. In fact, Milwaukee has quietly become a player in the former due to the presence of Aurora and Covenant.

Now, Milwaukee/Wisconsin is definitely NOT a 4-sport market. Had we gotten an NHL team in the early 90s, the Bucks would likely have moved by now. But the fact that the Bucks, can still pull middle-of-the-road attendance with next to no community presence and as pathetic as they've been in recent memory is proof that this is indeed a 3-sport market.

All that said, I think we can hold off on the NHL-to-Milwaukee speculation at least until the Senator announces he's looking for a buyer for the Bucks (which may happen soon since he's retiring next year).

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I've had a thought, and it's a bit of a crazy thought...but I have this idea with the Coyotes in financially dire straits and a looming NBA lockout in mind.

Could it be a smart move to let the Coyotes play a handful of home games in hockey-capable, primarily-NBA buildings? Places that come to mind for me are Portland, Houston, Milwaukee, Salt Lake, and Oklahoma City. The rarity of an NHL game in those places, combined with no NBA action, would virtually guarantee a sellout in any of those places.

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I have no idea how feasible that would be, but I like it! It gives the NHL a chance to test-drive potential new markets and gives those cities a chance to prove how much they want an NHL franchise.

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The union would lose their crap over what's virtually a barnstorming team and the Jobberdome lease specifies that they have to play all their games there. Besides, it's misleading if not outright unfair to judge the viability of a market this way. Any town can sell out a pair of games, and any town can blow off bald-faced pandering.

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Never heard jobberdome before. I love it.

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Whoops, worded that incorrectly there. My mistake I had a couple more windows open, and had to re-read what had gotten posted, anywho...

Actually the Aeros were extremely well-supported when they were in Houston, more so than the Rockets, though the Rockets took a long time to get good. Even with their NBA Finals run in 1981, fans didn't start coming until the Hakeem and Ralph era of the mid-1980's. One of the main reasons for the Aeros not merging with the NHL which would later lead to the Molson Boycott by the Canadian cities like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec that were trying to get into the league, was the initial merger agreement in 1977. As a result, during the merger discussions it was revealed that those three cities would be included, as would other hockey teams, instead of an earlier proposal that could've guaranteed those three cities, as well as Cincinnati, Hartford, and Houston all a spot at the table. Basically it was proposal initially made by then-commissioner Ziegler, and later stated by Cincinnati Stingers owner Bill DeWitt Jr. When Harold Ballard and some of the other owners he was close with, voted down that proposal, which would be a key in triggering the boycott, some the folks with both leagues with detailed information of the negotiations told the Aeros owner Kenneth Schnitzer the final team would be the New England/Hartford Whalers instead of the club in Houston, he basically told both leagues to go :censored: themselves and soon attendance plummeted with this news and he closed up shop the following year. He also tried to ask that the Aeros be put in as a pure expansion franchise or to relocate another failing club to Houston to replace the WHA Houston Aeros, but once again the NHL refused.

I think you misunderstood my point. I'm not debating pro hockey's viability in Houston in the past. I'm debating its viability in the present. The Aeros are long gone. Any NHL team in Houston, even if they use the Aeros name, will have to start from scratch. They'd have to compete with the Rockets for fans, ticket sales, merchandise sales, tv ratings, and local corporate dollars. The Rockets, being the more entrenched of the two teams, would have a marked advantage in all of these areas.

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Isn't the Milwaukee market even smaller than Pittsburgh, and losing jobs rapidly? Is Milwaukee even really a good 3-sport town anymore let alone 4-sports?

Milwaukee's DMA is smaller than Pittsburgh's, but I think that's a bit deceptive because... unlike the Bucks... an NHL club could realistically expect to draw significant TV viewership (and on the weekends, attendance) from Madison and Green Bay/Appleton.

As far as the economy, it's not exactly bustling, but it is quite stable (stable being a highly relative term by today's standards, of course). The rapid job loss that characterized Milwaukee in the 80s and 90s plateaued in the 2000s and there has been some small, but notable job growth in the healthcare and alternative energy industries. In fact, Milwaukee has quietly become a player in the former due to the presence of Aurora and Covenant.

Now, Milwaukee/Wisconsin is definitely NOT a 4-sport market. Had we gotten an NHL team in the early 90s, the Bucks would likely have moved by now. But the fact that the Bucks, can still pull middle-of-the-road attendance with next to no community presence and as pathetic as they've been in recent memory is proof that this is indeed a 3-sport market.

All that said, I think we can hold off on the NHL-to-Milwaukee speculation at least until the Senator announces he's looking for a buyer for the Bucks (which may happen soon since he's retiring next year).

I think you're right on all counts. I think Milwaukee would be a great NHL market, but it would come at the expense of the Bucks.

Then again, Wisconsin has a proud and rich Civil War tradition, so if Columbus doesn't want the Blue Jackets there's a home out there where they wouldn't even have to change the name. ;)

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I think you misunderstood my point. I'm not debating pro hockey's viability in Houston in the past. I'm debating its viability in the present. The Aeros are long gone. Any NHL team in Houston, even if they use the Aeros name, will have to start from scratch. They'd have to compete with the Rockets for fans, ticket sales, merchandise sales, tv ratings, and local corporate dollars. The Rockets, being the more entrenched of the two teams, would have a marked advantage in all of these areas.

The Rockets are a minor obstacle. Here are my bigger problems with Houston:

1) it is in the Southeastern United States (well, debatably) where all levels of football are the undisputed king

2) it is a three-sport market where the other three teams are well-entrenched in the landscape

3) its urban growth patterns are automobile-based and not railroad-based and as such the metropolis covers a lot of area and not necessarily well

4) much of the potential base is located in the suburbs and not the city

5) much of the suburban population is transplanted from the north and retains its old sports allegiances

6) much of the urban population is poor and not white

7) long and stalled commutes mean the downtown arena is an inconvenient weeknight destination for suburban/exurban ticketholders who might prefer the road team anyway

I just described Houston. I also described Atlanta. Finkle is Einhorn.

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Isn't the Milwaukee market even smaller than Pittsburgh, and losing jobs rapidly? Is Milwaukee even really a good 3-sport town anymore let alone 4-sports?

Milwaukee's DMA is smaller than Pittsburgh's, but I think that's a bit deceptive because... unlike the Bucks... an NHL club could realistically expect to draw significant TV viewership (and on the weekends, attendance) from Madison and Green Bay/Appleton.

As far as the economy, it's not exactly bustling, but it is quite stable (stable being a highly relative term by today's standards, of course). The rapid job loss that characterized Milwaukee in the 80s and 90s plateaued in the 2000s and there has been some small, but notable job growth in the healthcare and alternative energy industries. In fact, Milwaukee has quietly become a player in the former due to the presence of Aurora and Covenant.

Now, Milwaukee/Wisconsin is definitely NOT a 4-sport market. Had we gotten an NHL team in the early 90s, the Bucks would likely have moved by now. But the fact that the Bucks, can still pull middle-of-the-road attendance with next to no community presence and as pathetic as they've been in recent memory is proof that this is indeed a 3-sport market.

All that said, I think we can hold off on the NHL-to-Milwaukee speculation at least until the Senator announces he's looking for a buyer for the Bucks (which may happen soon since he's retiring next year).

I think you're right on all counts. I think Milwaukee would be a great NHL market, but it would come at the expense of the Bucks.

Then again, Wisconsin has a proud and rich Civil War tradition, so if Columbus doesn't want the Blue Jackets there's a home out there where they wouldn't even have to change the name. ;)

I honestly don't think the general populace of Milwaukee and the surrounding area would mind trading a basketball team for a hockey team, and it would probably be wildly successful and definitely sustainable through the down years, much like the Minnesota Wild. A possible division of Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Nashville, and St. Louis would be awesome.

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Whoops, worded that incorrectly there. My mistake I had a couple more windows open, and had to re-read what had gotten posted, anywho...

Actually the Aeros were extremely well-supported when they were in Houston, more so than the Rockets, though the Rockets took a long time to get good. Even with their NBA Finals run in 1981, fans didn't start coming until the Hakeem and Ralph era of the mid-1980's. One of the main reasons for the Aeros not merging with the NHL which would later lead to the Molson Boycott by the Canadian cities like Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Quebec that were trying to get into the league, was the initial merger agreement in 1977. As a result, during the merger discussions it was revealed that those three cities would be included, as would other hockey teams, instead of an earlier proposal that could've guaranteed those three cities, as well as Cincinnati, Hartford, and Houston all a spot at the table. Basically it was proposal initially made by then-commissioner Ziegler, and later stated by Cincinnati Stingers owner Bill DeWitt Jr. When Harold Ballard and some of the other owners he was close with, voted down that proposal, which would be a key in triggering the boycott, some the folks with both leagues with detailed information of the negotiations told the Aeros owner Kenneth Schnitzer the final team would be the New England/Hartford Whalers instead of the club in Houston, he basically told both leagues to go :censored: themselves and soon attendance plummeted with this news and he closed up shop the following year. He also tried to ask that the Aeros be put in as a pure expansion franchise or to relocate another failing club to Houston to replace the WHA Houston Aeros, but once again the NHL refused.

I think you misunderstood my point. I'm not debating pro hockey's viability in Houston in the past. I'm debating its viability in the present. The Aeros are long gone. Any NHL team in Houston, even if they use the Aeros name, will have to start from scratch. They'd have to compete with the Rockets for fans, ticket sales, merchandise sales, tv ratings, and local corporate dollars. The Rockets, being the more entrenched of the two teams, would have a marked advantage in all of these areas.

Um, what? I mean, I know what you're getting at (the loss of the WHA Aeros) but it's not like there isn't a current team that's top-10 in the AHL in attendance named Aeros playing an an NHL-ready rink right now (Toyota Center opened in 2003 with 17,000 seats for hockey). The rest of your premise is correct - that they'll have to battle with the Rockets for market share - but, and this is a big but, they are also in a top-10 media market in this country with a track-record for supporting hockey. It's not like putting a third team in Atlanta, or replacing a failing Coyotes team with another franchise. I honestly think Houston could give it a go, if, and only if, the NHL put some contingencies on it, like they did in Winnipeg. And that may be the new norm - guaranteeing a certain level of ticket sales. Maybe not as high a level as the 'Peg was required to support, but maybe a place like Houston would be required to sell 7,000 season tickets with 1-3 year commitments.

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I honestly think Houston could give it a go, if, and only if, the NHL put some contingencies on it, like they did in Winnipeg. And that may be the new norm - guaranteeing a certain level of ticket sales. Maybe not as high a level as the 'Peg was required to support, but maybe a place like Houston would be required to sell 7,000 season tickets with 1-3 year commitments.

This I disagree with. I feel the Winnipeg arragement should be the new accepted standard for any and all proposed expansion or relocation. You want a team? Prove your market wants it. Give us 13,000 season ticket committments and guaranteed corporate support for five years off the bat.

I would argue that such contingencies are even more necessary in a market like Houston, which hasn't had a whiff of major-league professional hockey in 35 years - two generations. "It'll work because there's a big media market and all these corporate dollars" gave us Atlanta and Phoenix.

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