the admiral

NHL Anti-Thread: Bad Business Decision Aggregator

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I dont know enough about the Arizona gift clause, but seems that subsidizing a private company to the tune of $25,000,000 every year would violate it.

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I can't help but wonder if the NHL shouldn't take the NBA approach a bit and look to "alternative" markets. Instead of being #3 or #4 in a big market that just doesn't care that much because they have other options (and their sports hearts are already taken), head to the Portlands and Salt Lakes and San Antonios of the world, where you're the big dog. I'm not saying those cities specifically, just using them as examples. There are plenty of cities with metro areas of around a million where the NFL and even NBA don't have teams. If you're the only professional winter sport in town, I think you stand a better chance than in a place where teams from the 3 more popular sports are already entrenched.

It makes sense to me to be the big dog for a million people, rather than the small fish for four million.

I can concur that going the route of finding markets where hockey is popular and doesnt have that much competition in the market. Winnipeg is the perfect example for this theory.

Another thing to consider is common ownership. If there's NBA owners out there that operate their arenas looking for more booking dates.

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Yeah. Somewhere in the journey, the subsidy has been shifted from covering losses to paying the NHL for arena management services, surely so as to circumvent the gift clause. However, this would seem to raise a new crop of objections, namely that $25 million a year is over market value and this wasn't the result of an open bidding process. I'm beginning to suspect the Goldwater Institute either isn't very good at watchdogging, or they were so exhausted with the Hulsizer stuff that they couldn't bear to deal with Glendale Clown College again for another eight months and just slept through the subsidy renewal.

Another thing to consider is common ownership. If there's NBA owners out there that operate their arenas looking for more booking dates.

I think Atlanta Spirit set this theory back a little bit. It turns out you can fill dates with cheaper events than hockey games. It's not just dollars and cents here. You have to really want a hockey team in your portfolio, too.

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That said... what about Grand Rapids? They'd obviously have to build a bigger arena, but they have a firmly entrenched fanbase for hockey (the Griffins are consistently in the top 5 for AHL attendance) and while the media market isn't huge, at #41 it's at least bigger than Buffalo and has that all-important "only game in town" factor going for them.

Oh God, it'd be the Grand Rapids Rampage all over again. *shudders*

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That said... what about Grand Rapids? They'd obviously have to build a bigger arena, but they have a firmly entrenched fanbase for hockey (the Griffins are consistently in the top 5 for AHL attendance) and while the media market isn't huge, at #41 it's at least bigger than Buffalo and has that all-important "only game in town" factor going for them.

Oh God, it'd be the Grand Rapids Rampage all over again. *shudders*

I don't see why that's necessarily a bad thing, the Rampage were always one of the better supported AFL franchises.

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I don't know what a Grand Rapids Rampage is. I do know that Grand Rapids might as well be American Hamilton: there may be a lot of hockey fans, but most of them are proudly spoken for by some big team kinda nearby. If it were even approved with heavy indemnifications, it wouldn't be terribly successful anyway. The top Red Wings affiliation, where they load up with pros and age their prospects like steaks, is the perfect fit for the market.

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That said... what about Grand Rapids? They'd obviously have to build a bigger arena, but they have a firmly entrenched fanbase for hockey (the Griffins are consistently in the top 5 for AHL attendance) and while the media market isn't huge, at #41 it's at least bigger than Buffalo and has that all-important "only game in town" factor going for them.

Oh God, it'd be the Grand Rapids Rampage all over again. *shudders*

I don't see why that's necessarily a bad thing, the Rampage were always one of the better supported AFL franchises.

Once the "big AFL" hit, Grand Rapids didn't even bother to compete, fielded consistently horrible teams, and drew announced attendances in the 5,000-6,000 range. It got dire there the second that NBC deal happened, and they still haven't brought back the franchise post-bankruptcy, even though everything's operating on an af2 level nowadays.

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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).

Um, yeah. Houston hasn't seen top tier pro hockey since the WHA went under. Saying that the AHL Aeros' success is proof of 1) the market and 2) that a Houston NHL team wouldn't have to start from scratch doesn't hold water. The differences between an AHL presence and an NHL presence are too great.

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.

This is the type of thinking that put teams in Miami, Atlanta, and Phoenix. The "potential" for media and corporate dollars has led to the NHL sunbelt madness to begin with. It's time to turn away from "potential" markets and refocus on markets that actually care about hockey. Seattle, Milwaukee, and Quebec City should all be considered before Houston.

There's one huge issue with those markets you mentioned, Ice. While they're more natural a fit for hockey than Houston, I seriously doubt the NHL would move to a city that doesn't have a decent arena to support the product, compared to Houston. If they did, then yes, I'd put all three of them over Houston, but as it stands they could probably benefit not only from the NBA lockout, but looking to put some exhibition games in Houston, featuring the Stars vs. another team. I mean, I would imagine holding some games there would be more feasible than a regular season opener in Prague.

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KING-TV reporter Chris Daniels is reporting Chicago Wolves owner Don Levin is part of a group interested in putting an NHL arena in Bellevue, Washington. All is extremely preliminary at this point, but Levin's no slouch.

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As much as I'd love to see Grand Rapids host an NHL team (being from there and all), the Griffins fans here should not represent in any way the potential for a big market team. This is a Red Wings city and I can't imagine anyone would warm up to a second Michigan team at all.

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I do know that Grand Rapids might as well be American Hamilton: there may be a lot of hockey fans, but most of them are proudly spoken for by some big team kinda nearby. If it were even approved with heavy indemnifications, it wouldn't be terribly successful anyway. The top Red Wings affiliation, where they load up with pros and age their prospects like steaks, is the perfect fit for the market.

As much as I'd love to see Grand Rapids host an NHL team (being from there and all), the Griffins fans here should not represent in any way the potential for a big market team. This is a Red Wings city and I can't imagine anyone would warm up to a second Michigan team at all.

Also being from the GR area, all I can add is an emphatic yes, and yes.

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KING-TV reporter Chris Daniels is reporting Chicago Wolves owner Don Levin is part of a group interested in putting an NHL arena in Bellevue, Washington. All is extremely preliminary at this point, but Levin's no slouch.

Here's an article from the Seattle Times backing this up

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nba/2015487119_arena02.html

& a news broadcast as well

http://www.kirotv.com/news/28423790/detail.html

Edited by rvrdgsfn

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KING-TV reporter Chris Daniels is reporting Chicago Wolves owner Don Levin is part of a group interested in putting an NHL arena in Bellevue, Washington. All is extremely preliminary at this point, but Levin's no slouch.

Here's an article from the Seattle Times backing this up

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nba/2015487119_arena02.html

& a news broadcast as well

http://www.kirotv.com/news/28423790/detail.html

Interesting, but I really don't see any relocation happening, until the actual arena is build and ready for both leagues. KeyArena is definitely not an option, even if on a temporary basis, for either the NBA or NHL.

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I just have to say that trotting Seattle out as a place that "care about hockey" is a joke. It's not really a sports town to begin with, there's no arena, and the people that do care about hockey are already entrenched with other teams. The Thunderbirds do okay, but they don't have the huge expectations placed upon any NHL team.

EDIT: Read further in the thread. I still stand by my statement, though. Also, from my perspective, Bellevue is the Glendale of Seattle. It's far away from the population centers normally thought of as the base for hockey, it's hard(ish) to get to, and it's in a city that I really just don't think cares enough.

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I just have to say that trotting Seattle out as a place that "care about hockey" is a joke. It's not really a sports town to begin with, there's no arena, and the people that do care about hockey are already entrenched with other teams. The Thunderbirds do okay, but they don't have the huge expectations placed upon any NHL team.

EDIT: Read further in the thread. I still stand by my statement, though. Also, from my perspective, Bellevue is the Glendale of Seattle. It's far away from the population centers normally thought of as the base for hockey, it's hard(ish) to get to, and it's in a city that I really just don't think cares enough.

Then that means it's a slam-dunk for Gary Bettman to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes there, am I right?

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Also, from my perspective, Bellevue is the Glendale of Seattle. It's far away from the population centers normally thought of as the base for hockey, it's hard(ish) to get to, and it's in a city that I really just don't think cares enough.

Then that means it's a slam-dunk for Gary Bettman to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes there, am I right?

Except that Bellevue (and Seattle) would have laughed their asses off at the idea of Yotefare.

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The Seattle Center campus (where Key Arena and the Space Needle are now) is a great location for an NBA/NHL arena. However, given that none of our local billionaires want to pay to put an arena there, Bellevue -- where most of the billionaires live -- may seem right, but doesn't make too much sense to me.

Bellevue is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Seattle, more or less depending on traffic. It's across Lake Washington, and is only accessibly by two bridges -- one of which is old and will be replaced in the next five years and the other that's undergoing conversion for light rail in the later half of the decade. No NBA or NHL team in Bellevue would be successful without support from Seattle proper, but that support might be difficult in the short term.

One good option for a new arena in the industrial area near Safeco and Qwest. There's not much there that people would miss, and it's already accessible by stadium parking and transit right now. However, that area isn't populated by wealthy, middle-aged white folks, whereas Bellevue is.

I do think Seattle would be receptive to an NBA team, but I'm no sure about NHL. Seattle has gone nuts for the MLS, and I don't know that the energy level is there for another sport with no recent history in the city.

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Bellevue -- where most of the billionaires live -- may seem right, but doesn't make too much sense to me.

Bellevue is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Seattle, more or less depending on traffic. It's across Lake Washington, and is only accessibly by two bridges -- one of which is old and will be replaced in the next five years and the other that's undergoing conversion for light rail in the later half of the decade. No NBA or NHL team in Bellevue would be successful without support from Seattle proper, but that support might be difficult in the short term.

This. Here's the specifics I left out with my "Bellevue is Glendale" argument. Thanks, DG!

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Bellevue -- where most of the billionaires live -- may seem right, but doesn't make too much sense to me.

Bellevue is about a 20 minute drive from downtown Seattle, more or less depending on traffic. It's across Lake Washington, and is only accessibly by two bridges -- one of which is old and will be replaced in the next five years and the other that's undergoing conversion for light rail in the later half of the decade. No NBA or NHL team in Bellevue would be successful without support from Seattle proper, but that support might be difficult in the short term.

This. Here's the specifics I left out with my "Bellevue is Glendale" argument. Thanks, DG!

I'd rather set fire to my tenders than drive into Bellevue for any reason. Especially if NHL traffic is added to the normal flow of distracted drivers. As much as I'd like to see the NHL return to my hometown, it's just not going to work out here. I think we all know the issues at hand by now. And Bellevue isn't a viable solution to those problems.

The average Sounders-jersey-wearing-gluten-allergic-passive-aggressive-liberal Seattlites (who burned down or otherwise drove out every decent burger joint in the area with torches and pitchforks whilst I was away getting educated in Virginia) wouldn't support an NHL team. After two or three years, I'd be just like BLUELANDBeliever (no offense) griping about my team leaving town for Saskatoon (except that I wouldn't be able to truthfully blame it on mismanagement or backroom deals to save the Coyotes).

It's a bit sour for me every time someone brings up Seattle as a viable option. We're a lot like Atlanta in one respect - we've had our chances. Granted an NHL franchise never touched the ice here, but there was the expansion deal in the late 70s, and the proposal to move the Islanders a few years later.

There are more realistic markets, specifically Quebec, Portland (I can still cross my fingers for that one), and Houston. I'd put Hamilton on that list if bridges weren't burned there, and KC if the fanbase hadn't proved dodgy.

I think the NHL would have to look at what TNSE did in selling season tickets as a benchmark for expanding/relocating. I think any of those three cities could sell 10000 season tickets. I don't see Seattle doing that. Hell, they couldn't even keep the Thunderbirds in town (they now play in Kent, which might only be 20 minutes south of Seattle, but is one hell of a commute after 5 from the city or from the eastside burbs).

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