Thursday, May 24, 2007

No Sell outs??

1) The article linked to this blog piece was actually written during Detroit's FIRST playoff series with the Flames. At the time it was news worthy that the RedWings didn't sell out a playoff game. After all this is "HockeyTown".

2) Now we read that the RedWings didn't sell out ANY of their playoff games. Folks, that's 11 contests that had tickets available in a city that boasted one of the hardest to find tickets for hockey of any U.S. based market. Though we're sure Bettman will have ready-made excuses for why this is so, we feel this has to be an ominous occurrence. This would have been an unheard of happening a few years ago.

3) We were hard on the New Jersey fans for non support of their team, but at least there the team has almost never had a huge following, despite their on-ice success. Not so in Detroit. The name "HockeyTown" was given due to the loyal nature of their fans. Now, a non sell out for an early first round game is one thing but to not sell out any Conference Final games is inexcusable. For it to happen there means it could conceivably happen anywhere south of the border.

4) For now it seems the game is as strong as ever in Canada. In fact the 6 franchises there supply the league with a whopping 40% of all the revenue generated!! That's an amazing stat, and one that can not make Mr. Bettman very happy. It was after all one of his stated goals to make the NHL a true national sport in the States, and not a niche sport in a few selected markets. Now, even worse not only is the game NOT catching on in non traditional markets but its now becoming difficult to sell to traditionally solid/safe U.S markets.

5) This is why we believe that Jim Balsillie's probable move of the Predators to Hamilton Ontario won't be blocked by the NHL. Sure Bettman will give lip service to the folks in Music City, but in the end it makes financial sense to move the team from a low income to a high income location. It would be one less team in need of assistance.

6) The NHL better hope that the economy in both countries remains as robust as it has the past few years and the exchange rate remains favourable for the Canadian franchises. Else the league, already on thin ice will find itself drowning in red ink!


Jibblescribbits said...

I (a die-hard Avs fan) am sympathetic to the plight of the citizens of Detroit. Their owner has priced this blue-collar town, one vitally dependant on a failing American Auto industry, right out of the building. The owner is raising prices while people are losing money. I can't call them bad/disloyal fans because of that (I don't want to hear one peep out of them if another team doesn't sell out though).

While Nashville may be a risky market, I really don't think Hamilton will be much less-risky. Bettman's dumbest move in expansion was to bypass the Midwest (Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas City, Cleveland) where people have a little more money and people actually play hockey to go for the southern US Markets. These markets are the poorest in the US and don't have, you know, Ice

Antzmarching said...

I have been pushing for Hamilton, Ontario for quite a while now - it clearly makes the MOST sense... However, we are dealing with a man, Mr. BUTTman, who is completely senseLESS!!!

Jibblescribbits said...

I really don't think Hamilton makes any sense. I just don't think there's enough people there that would trade allegiances of the Leafs

Sauce said...

Excellent blog entry. We can talk all day long about game start-times, rules changes and whatever else might be of interest to the casual hockey fan. But the bottom line is that this beautiful sport - the VERY BEST spectator sport on this planet - is in serious trouble. Whoever is in the commissioner's seat has got to be focused first and foremost with the marketing side of the sport. Get the game out to as many eyeballs as possible at the least possible cost to the consumer. It needs EXPOSURE.

This is the first I've heard that Hamilton was on the short list for a francise. I'd always thought the first Canadian city on the list was Winnipeg.

Faux, where did you get the 40% figure for the amount of league revenue derived from the 6 Canadian markets?

Dear Lord Stanley said...

Sauce is dead on when it comes to the need for exposure. Where I live, I still have people I know ask me, "Oh, is hockey still around?" They don't ever see it on TV, never hear about it in the news or even on ESPN. To them, it doesn't exist.

Any US-based channel surfer can tell you that during the spring months it's impossible to not find something about baseball, football or basketball on at any time of the day across all kinds of networks. Hockey is nowhere to be found except for a few million homes on Versus. It's sad and pathetic.

You can find LeBron James selling lawnmowers (no shit) and Peyton Manning selling just about everything else on commercials throughout the day during programs un-related to sports. The only time I EVER saw an NHL player in a TV ad this season was DURING an NHL game on Versus or NBC. Hockey fans don't need to be reminded how awesome Sidney Crosby is---the rest of the world needs to hear it.

Bettman has failed so horrendously at selling the league that any comparable corporate organization would have fired him by now. Twice.

Bethany said...

Ya know what's sad...Jersey sold out at least one of their playoff games...and the prices for tickets in Detroit were outrageous I was going to go but there is no way I was paying that much for standing room only!

FAUXRUMORS 2 said...

1) You'd think that Ilitch a apparent savvy business man would know how to price his product
2) Evidently, he didn't as we have read from several sources; that many folks in this economically depressed area couldn't afford the ticket prices.
3) If this is the case, it could be just the tip of the iceberg for the NHL. As FAUXRUMORS alluded to, these are relatively good economic times. What happens league-wide if things go just a bit south(as they always do)?

Antzmarching said...

Ontario counld support SEVEN hockey teams - as far as allegiance goes, that could be a problem, b/c more than half of the Senators fans are Toronto fans who couldn't get Leafs season tix... I still think Hamilton would work well... Winnipeg is another good option...

Shuck-A-Luck said...

Perhaps Red Wings owner Mike is actually a smart business man and figured out he makes more money overall if he charges more and sells fewer than if he charges less and sells out.

The thing I wonder is how he factors concession revenues, parking etc. into that calculation. There is more to game day revenue than seats sold. A lot would have to do with his lease arrangement on the arena. Does he (the Wings) get parking and concessions or just straight gate revenues?

They must be doing something right, the Wings have turned a profit yet again!

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