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rams80

Is Atlanta Burning?

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So...at the urging of the moderators and some other posters, it may be a good idea to start a topic about the NHL's other fiscal superfund of a franchise.

I give you the Atlanta Thrashers. Stricken with an ownership group that refuses to speak with one another outside of a federal courtroom, they are currently thrashing flailing about in 28th place in attendance ahead of the future Winnipeg Not-Jets and the Islanders.

There is photographic evidence that indicates the Thrashers may use a liberal definition of tickets handed out to report attendance.

So anyway, fire away....

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Thrashers to Milwaukee? A guy can dream. It'd only be fair given how they yanked two teams from us (albeit, one was via St. Louis).

Somewhat more seriously, why is Atlanta seen as such a commodity in pro sports? I get all the business about television markets, but isn't the thing that drives the emphasis on tv markets the idea that people in those markets will actually pay attention to the team that's there? The only team in Atlanta with some semblance of a local following is the Braves (unless the Falcons have made up that much ground since I lived there). How many times does it have to be proven how terrible of a sports town Atlanta is before owners realize that market size isn't everything and stop wasting time and money trying to shoehorn franchises down there?

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That's a good point, illwauk. I know the first time I heard Atlanta was a "bad" market was during the Braves' record playoff run. Got too used to winning, etc. Ha. No sympathy here, even if they did just get that one title.

Makes sense that the large population would have to actually watch the teams before market size becomes a determining factor. Oh well. Since when does any of this make sense?

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They have worse attendance then the Panthers and no one in Atlanta wants to buy them. Which is saying something because Ted Turner's always up for a wacky sports related scheme.

Quebec City, Winnipeg, Seattle, Portland. They're all good choices, really.

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It's all Andrew Ladd's fault. Some captain he turned out to be, eh?

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He should be suspended for the rest of the season.

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They have worse attendance then the Panthers and no one in Atlanta wants to buy them.

Why do people keep saying this?

In all seriousness, the Oilers have a better shot of moving than do the Thrashers, & the Oilers' chances of moving are small.

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Hasn't the mess in Glendale proven that "talks continue in possible sale" doesn't mean that a sale is imminent?

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They have worse attendance then the Panthers and no one in Atlanta wants to buy them.

Why do people keep saying this?

In all seriousness, the Oilers have a better shot of moving than do the Thrashers, & the Oilers' chances of moving are small.

I wish the best for you guys, I really do. Especially considering that unlike a certain community in Arizona Atlanta's not bankrupting itself to keep the team. I'm just saying that Lights Out has a point. The sale of the Coyotes to a group dedicated to keeping them in the greater Phoenix area has been "about to happen" since December.

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Hasn't the mess in Glendale proven that "talks continue in possible sale" doesn't mean that a sale is imminent?

Considering the fact that:

A) Glendale in no way, shape, or form was ready to take on an NHL franchise to begin with, so that situation was a trainwreck to begin with.

B) The league doesn't control this team, 8 idiots do & have come out in public saying that they're going to sell the team.

C) Speaking of the 8 idiots, all the possible lawsuits are out of the way on this one since they've FINALLY ended nearly half a decade of litigation.

That means that this is apples & oranges.

I suggest people read this article so that maybe you can get a clearer picture on the whole ordeal. This isn't some convoluted case in which people with no money are trying to buy professional sports franchises. It's an open-shut case. The team's up for sale, the current owners are using tried-and-true scare tactics to speed along the process, plenty of people have come up with intentions of keeping the team here, & eventually this is all gonna get done.

This is no Clowndale case. I'm 100% convinced that this team is staying here for at least 3 or 4 more years, & probably not moving at all. Obviously the vast majority of you AREN'T, and there's probably no way that I can sway any of you, but I really don't care, so yeah.

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of 2009.

I remember when the sale to Ice Edge was imminent.

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Considering the Thrashers' dismally-low average attendance, who exactly is Atlanta Spirit's tactics going to scare? There doesn't appear to be any widespread, passionate support for the Thrashers in Atlanta, which is why I expect the team to cut and run in a few years no matter who owns the team by then.

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Because for all the talk of these "three entities", there hasn't been a solitary peep suggesting who anyone involved in said entities might be, and we've been through the whole multiple parties/mystery buyer thing with Phoenix. For all we know (and it's been suggested outside the Atlanta media), Don Waddell is currently in talks with Claude Rains, Harvey the Rabbit, and Aidan O'Rourke, an especially prodigious leprechaun from County Cork.

If they do pack up and go, it will be a shame, because the whole Atlanta Spirit thing is squarely to blame. Ownership was too busy suing itself to compile anything approaching success on or off the ice, and never bothered to notice Waddell running the team into the ground over, and over, and over again. At least Glendale got handed a playoff team, and then we watched the fans turn their backs on them in short order, so hey, screw 'em. The Thrashers never had a prayer. Maybe a local owner will swoop in to save them, but the possibility just seems kinda remote.

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At least Glendale got handed a playoff team, and then we watched the fans turn their backs on them in short order, so hey, screw 'em.

How did we turn our backs on the team? We didn't cause Ice Edge and Reinsdorf's purchases to fail.

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At least Glendale got handed a playoff team, and then we watched the fans turn their backs on them in short order, so hey, screw 'em.

How did we turn our backs on the team? We didn't cause Ice Edge and Reinsdorf's purchases to fail.

29th in the league in attendance for a team coming off its best season in history, and in all likelihood headed toward another strong playoff appearance. Coyotes fans come out in bigger numbers for city council meetings to save their team than they do for actual games. Guess which matters more.

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If they do pack up and go, it will be a shame, because the whole Atlanta Spirit thing is squarely to blame. Ownership was too busy suing itself to compile anything approaching success on or off the ice, and never bothered to notice Waddell running the team into the ground over, and over, and over again. At least Glendale got handed a playoff team, and then we watched the fans turn their backs on them in short order, so hey, screw 'em. The Thrashers never had a prayer. Maybe a local owner will swoop in to save them, but the possibility just seems kinda remote.

Agreed.

Of the three big Sun Belt disasters I think Atlanta's the one that's actually worth trying to save, because they've been the one behind the ownership 8 Ball for most of the decade for something besides the failings of the fanbase.

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The geography and demographics of Atlanta lead it to top out at about a Chicago Wolves level of success, which is nothing to be ashamed of, considering the Wolves run a tighter ship than their parent team does. Look: we can talk till the end of days about hypotheticals wherein Atlanta comes out big for a winner with solid ownership, but 29 teams a year are losers, and solid ownership is a rare commodity in this rogues' gallery of a sports league. So go no further about what could be done if. Tell me, if you haven't and aren't already, what you can do with what most NHL towns have: a middle-of-the-road team run by at least one dissembling, poor-crying sleazeball.

The fact that metro Atlanta has a lot of money and suburban sprawl means that at least some ground is fertile for hockey interest, but probably not enough of it to make a go of it at the NHL level, since a lot of those hockey-interested people are most likely transplanted from the midwest and northeast, where people are loyal to their teams, and hockey fans the most loyal of all. Ultimately, that same suburban sprawl is what scuttles the whole thing: if it's as logistically impossible to get 19,000some people downtown and home again on a regular basis as it's made out to be, you aren't going to make money. The end. Whether it's that you can't get the 19,000 people downtown and back in time, or there aren't 19,000 to get downtown in the first place, you're screwed. This isn't football, where networks pay the GDPs of small nations to carry games, or baseball, where more and more teams own their networks and reap huge dividends through carriage fees and so forth. It's still a gate-driven league. Now as then in the NHL, you make your money by putting asses in your seats and selling them your beer before they go back to their cars in your parking lot. The difference is that it costs a hell of a lot more than it used to, and it costs more and more every year.

It simply might be that all the market can bear is a low-overhead operation in the AHL, placed in and marketed to the middle-class edge city suburbs where people live, work, and play without relying on Atlanta proper. People cite geographic logistics as a reason why we have to give underachieving teams a chance. I submit that such things can rarely be overcome by sports and are instead the reason why we can't give them a chance at all. Such may be the case with the NHL in downtown Atlanta, and we may have to accept that that's okay.

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At least Glendale got handed a playoff team, and then we watched the fans turn their backs on them in short order, so hey, screw 'em.

How did we turn our backs on the team? We didn't cause Ice Edge and Reinsdorf's purchases to fail.

Well Ice Edge was a gaggle of incompetent nitwits, even by the NHL's low standard of ownership.

Reinsdorf though? Yeah you kinda were. He took one look at the team's books, and laughed his way back to Chicago. Maybe if you people showed up to the games he would have considered the franchise worthy of his time and efforts.

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In all fairness, Ice, Reinsdorf didn't cut and run when he saw the team's books. He did say "you'd have to pay me to take this team."

Back to Atlanta, I think that leagues feel they have to cover as many big markets as possible to be attractive to networks, even if interest isn't high in any one of those big markets (the notable exception to this rule is the NBA). After all, televisions in Atlanta bars will have the Thrashers game on. That is, when the Hawks aren't playing, the Falcons aren't playing and there isn't a college game on.

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