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-   -   The Great Canadian Sports Attendance, Marketing and TV Ratings Thread (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=228928)

thurmas Jan 12, 2020 3:25 AM

Hockey is a niche sport like tennis golf or nascar in the U.S. Hockey was actually a bigger deal in the U.S. in the 70's when Bobby Orr was king playing the Blackhawks Flyers and Rangers hockey was a bigger deal than basketball as the NBA finals were broadcast on tape delay. Had it stayed in northern U.S. markets and expanded into markets that made more sense be it Milwaukee or Seattle instead of the southern strategy folly I think the NHL would be more popular today with better rivalries and markets with more rabid fan bases than a Florida or Carolina that only moderately watches hockey if the team has a deep playoff run to the cup finals.

megadude Jan 12, 2020 6:14 AM

I said pretty much this exact thing for formula one racing. Bernie ecclestone and the stakeholders that enabled him mortgaged the future of the sport by abandoning traditional racing hot spots for races in far flung locales that have no tradition whatsoever all because those countries bent over backwards to his ridiculous money demands.

Canadian GP was missed one year and French GP for nine years! Ya the place that invented the automobile and Grand Prix.

Thank god that tool is gone but the damage is done.

EpicPonyTime Jan 13, 2020 5:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister F (Post 8796999)
It's been a success by absolute numbers, but every league has grown just as much and in many cases more in the same timespan. All the NHL has done kept pace with the trends that have affected the entire professional sports industry. It hasn't gained any ground on leagues like the NBA and NFL, if anything it's lost ground. So the growing the game initiative has been a flop relative to other leagues.

But those leagues have grown by entering new markets themselves. The NBA spent most of the 90s expanding into new untapped markets like Toronto, and the result is an NBA Champion franchise. Other times, they took a chance on cities like New Orleans or Oklahoma City, which were both underserved in pro sports. Overall the NBA has had more success in expanding its brand, but basketball is a bigger sport so it makes sense. That doesn't mean the NHL hasn't had its successes, such as Tampa, Nashville, Vegas, Colorado, and Dallas.

The growing the game initiative may have been a flop relative to other leagues, but I fail to see how opting not to grow the game would have resulted in a better outcome? Quebec City is watching hockey regardless of whether the Nordiques exist or not. The same can't be said of fans elsewhere.

Mister F Jan 13, 2020 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EpicPonyTime (Post 8797658)
But those leagues have grown by entering new markets themselves. The NBA spent most of the 90s expanding into new untapped markets like Toronto, and the result is an NBA Champion franchise. Other times, they took a chance on cities like New Orleans or Oklahoma City, which were both underserved in pro sports. Overall the NBA has had more success in expanding its brand, but basketball is a bigger sport so it makes sense. That doesn't mean the NHL hasn't had its successes, such as Tampa, Nashville, Vegas, Colorado, and Dallas.

That doesn't change the fact that of the 5 biggest money losing teams in the NHL, four of them are American sunbelt teams. Those are losses that the rest of the league has to subsidize. As for Vegas, only time will tell how long the honeymoon lasts. Maybe it will be a long term success but that's far from certain.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EpicPonyTime (Post 8797658)
The growing the game initiative may have been a flop relative to other leagues, but I fail to see how opting not to grow the game would have resulted in a better outcome? Quebec City is watching hockey regardless of whether the Nordiques exist or not. The same can't be said of fans elsewhere.

There's zero evidence that the North American franchise model is better for growing the game than the Euro tiered model. The Bundesliga, for example, is just as big as the NFL accounting for population.

LakeLocker Jan 13, 2020 1:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister F (Post 8797751)
That doesn't change the fact that of the 5 biggest money losing teams in the NHL, four of them are American sunbelt teams. Those are losses that the rest of the league has to subsidize. As for Vegas, only time will tell how long the honeymoon lasts. Maybe it will be a long term success but that's far from certain.


There's zero evidence that the North American franchise model is better for growing the game than the Euro tiered model. The Bundesliga, for example, is just as big as the NFL accounting for population.

Newer teams are more likely to loose money.

Large cities are able to pull in far more television viewers.

The US has 3/4ths of the teams and an even higher ratio of new teams. It makes sense that they possess the majority of the weak teams.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 2:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LakeLocker (Post 8797756)
Newer teams are more likely to loose money.

.

The money-losing Panthers, Coyotes and Hurricanes are not new teams.

The Predators are relatively new and they are profitable.

JHikka Jan 13, 2020 3:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by megadude (Post 8797151)
Thank god that tool is gone but the damage is done.

I don't think F1 has ever been as strong as it is today thanks to the leadership that Liberty has exhibited since Bernie left.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mister F
I'm not sure why you're resisting what I'm saying so much. This information is common knowledge and easy to find online. Why so down on your own country having more than a measly 7 teams?

I'm not down on Canada having more teams but it's just not a realistic venture if you're looking to grow your sport internationally. Basing your league in the US and pinning growth on the US is a safer option, as the NHL has demonstrated, than relying on a Canadian- led league. I don't think it's unreasonable to say that an NHL with three or five more Canadian teams would be smaller than its current iteration.

To support my point, the salary cap has reached the point that if the Winnipeg Jets spend at the cap they have to make a deep run in the playoffs to break even. They lost money last year for the first time since their move from Atlanta, and that pressure will only persist as the cap increases in the future.

Quote:

Originally Posted by EpicPonyTime
The growing the game initiative may have been a flop relative to other leagues, but I fail to see how opting not to grow the game would have resulted in a better outcome? Quebec City is watching hockey regardless of whether the Nordiques exist or not. The same can't be said of fans elsewhere.

This is the crux of my argument. People in QC like hockey regardless of whether or not there's an NHL team there. Placing a team there now is not new money, comparatively, as you'd be carving up pieces of Montreal's market and already serving currently existing hockey fans. You expand to Vegas or Seattle to get new people into the door, new people into the sport, and expand your base that way.

I don't actually think the NHL's initiative was a failure relative to other leagues at all. Hockey is pretty strong in a few markets right now, in particular Nashville, Dallas, and Tampa, among others. Los Angeles churns out a surprising number of hockey players right now and Arizona is very much on the up. I don't get why people don't see the value in growing this sport for the betterment of its long term interests.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack
The money-losing Panthers, Coyotes and Hurricanes are not new teams.

The Hurricanes made money last year.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 3:19 PM

With 13000 average attendance in Sunrise there is obviously some creative accounting at work. No one would call that a healthy franchise.

JHikka Jan 13, 2020 3:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 8797843)
With 13000 average attendance in Sunrise there is obviously some creative accounting at work. No one would call that a healthy franchise.

Viola (worth $2.4B) bought the team for $160M in 2013 and today it's worth $310M, so losing a few million a year isn't really the end of the world for the owner. Obviously there are issues in Florida but if you include the concerts that the arena hosts they're likely breaking even on an annual basis.

The thing about a few of the southern teams that Canadians love to deride is that the "problem" franchises have never been good for any sustained amount of time. Carolina has had blips of success (I don't consider them an issue) but aside from a single run neither Florida or Arizona have had any lick of success in twenty years. Certainly that plays a role in penetrating local markets. Nashville's success has done wonders for that market, as did Pittsburgh's run of success for Western Pennsylvania as a non-southern example.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 3:29 PM

People in Canada would bitch about and finger point the sucky Sunbelt teams a million times less if only Quebec City and maybe Hamilton had teams, and perhaps if we'd won a Stanley Cup more recently than 1993.

esquire Jan 13, 2020 3:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 8797835)
To support my point, the salary cap has reached the point that if the Winnipeg Jets spend at the cap they have to make a deep run in the playoffs to break even. They lost money last year for the first time since their move from Atlanta, and that pressure will only persist as the cap increases in the future.

There were 7 teams that lost money and Buffalo is barely in the black. How bleak would you say the future is for other money-losing teams like Arizona, Florida, Anaheim and Nashville? Does it make sense to keep jacking up the cap when so many markets are either losing money, barely breaking even or struggling to draw fans?

Quote:

I don't actually think the NHL's initiative was a failure relative to other leagues at all. Hockey is pretty strong in a few markets right now, in particular Nashville, Dallas, and Tampa, among others. Los Angeles churns out a surprising number of hockey players right now and Arizona is very much on the up. I don't get why people don't see the value in growing this sport for the betterment of its long term interests.
There is zero value to me in "growing the sport" in the southern United States. I understand that Bettman's job is to get people to #Pleaselikemysport but it's not a priority at all for me and I am baffled as to why you think anyone not on the NHL's payroll should care. I say this as someone who already spends a considerable sum of money each year on hockey tickets and merchandise, as well as equipment and registration fees on youth hockey.

JHikka Jan 13, 2020 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8797884)
There were 7 teams that lost money and Buffalo is barely in the black. How bleak would you say the future is for other money-losing teams like Arizona, Florida, Anaheim and Nashville?

I don't know - Florida's been losing money for nearly thirty years and they're still there. Surely there must be more at play here than operational losses :hmmm:

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8797884)
There is zero value to me in "growing the sport" in the southern United States. I understand that Bettman's job is to get people to #Pleaselikemysport but it's not a priority at all for me and I am baffled as to why you think anyone not on the NHL's payroll should care. I say this as someone who already spends a considerable sum of money each year on hockey tickets and merchandise, as well as equipment and registration fees on youth hockey.

Growing the sport is pivotal, though, because without it the NHL remains as a very regional, very niche, and very low-rung sport; more-so than it currently is today. At least with the NHL increasing its footprint you can look at participation throughout the US increasing (and remaining relatively stable in Canada) as a good thing for the sport of ice hockey as a whole. I don't see the NHL being on the upward trajectory it is today without some of the expansion markets that have been added.

You guys do realize that if the NHL stays in the US Northeast and Canada that it remains a very small sport akin to lacrosse or curling, right? Were people this salty in 1967 when LA and Oakland came online or were they actually excited that more people got to experience and enjoy the sport they love so much?

esquire Jan 13, 2020 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 8797894)
You guys do realize that if the NHL stays in the US Northeast and Canada that it remains a very small sport akin to lacrosse or curling, right? Were people this salty in 1967 when LA and Oakland came online or were they actually excited that more people got to experience and enjoy the sport they love so much?

Even if true - who cares? It is enough for me to love hockey on its own terms and pass down that enjoyment to my kids. Hockey isn't going anywhere regardless of whether or not it ever succeeds in Austin, Orlando or wherever. It doesn't matter to me if it remains a regional sport. Why do you feel so invested in its growth? I mean, it's one thing if you are literally a financial investor or it's your job, then I get it. But if not...

OldDartmouthMark Jan 13, 2020 4:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 8797894)
Were people this salty in 1967 when LA and Oakland came online or were they actually excited that more people got to experience and enjoy the sport they love so much?

I think so...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1967_N...ion#Opposition

Quote:

Opposition

Canadian fans, including Prime Minister Lester Pearson, were irate that no Canadian teams were added, particularly since Vancouver had been generally considered a lock for a team.[2] Internal considerations took a hand in that since as Montreal and Toronto were not interested in sharing CBC television revenues with another Canadian club, and Chicago owner Arthur Wirtz's support was reputedly contingent on the creation of a St. Louis team, although that city had not submitted a formal bid, to purchase the decrepit St. Louis Arena, which the Black Hawks ownership then also owned.[2][3] Buffalo also nearly got a team over nearby Pittsburgh until Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney, who would serve as a minority investor in the Penguins early years, persuaded the Norris brothers, whom he knew through their common interest in horse racing, to vote for Pittsburgh in the expansion process.[8] Vancouver and Buffalo would both subsequently receive teams for the NHL's next expansion in 1970.

On a more general note, many traditionalists resisted expansion, claiming it would dilute the talent in the league.[6] Even some proponents of expansion were worried at the idea of immediately doubling the NHL's size and wanted to ease teams in gradually, as Major League Baseball was doing.[9]

The expansion fee was US$ 2 million, and players taken in the very strict expansion draft came at a cost of $50,000 each. Experts tended to see that as high, and most expansion teams were seen as having no hope of competing successfully with the established teams in the near future.[2]

Because of the inherent competitive imbalance, there was some support for the idea of placing the new teams in a completely separate division or conference, with a separate schedule for the first few seasons and then gradually integrating the new teams into the established NHL, much like the then-progressing AFL-NFL merger was being carried out. Ultimately, the league partly implemented the idea by placing all six of the new teams in the new West Division. Alternative proposals included putting Detroit and Chicago in the West with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia going to the East. In a surprising concession, the league also agreed to implement a strictly divisional playoff bracket, meaning that four expansion teams would make the playoffs, and an expansion team was guaranteed a slot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 4:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8797899)
Even if true - who cares? It is enough for me to love hockey on its own terms and pass down that enjoyment to my kids. Hockey isn't going anywhere regardless of whether or not it ever succeeds in Austin, Orlando or wherever. It doesn't matter to me if it remains a regional sport. Why do you feel so invested in its growth? I mean, it's one thing if you are literally a financial investor or it's your job, then I get it. But if not...

Same for me.

I recall in the early 90s Canadians were not especially salty as there was not yet a perception the NHL was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Then the Jets and Nords left the country and the rest is history. Winnipeg got back in by being lucky and playing their cards perfectly.

But the lingering impression is of a league that doesn't give a damn about its roots and history.

esquire Jan 13, 2020 4:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acajack (Post 8797915)
Same for me.

I recall in the early 90s Canadians were not especially salty as there was not yet a perception the NHL was robbing Peter to pay Paul. Then the Jets and Nords left the country and the rest is history. Winnipeg got back in by being lucky and playing their cards perfectly.

But the lingering impression is of a league that doesn't give a damn about its roots and history.

Exactly.

The curling comparison was mentioned... I mean, could you imagine if the curling powers that be just said 'screw you' to the likes of Sudbury, Edmonton and Red Deer and just started giving the big events to Tucson and Bakersfield instead? And then quadrupled the price of tickets of events in Prince Albert and London in the name of "growing the game"? It's absurd.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 4:28 PM

As a result I long ago pledged to give the NHL as little as possible of my direct sports entertaiment dollars.

Over the past couple of decades I have violated this pledge on occasion but not that often really.

OldDartmouthMark Jan 13, 2020 4:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 8797899)
Even if true - who cares? It is enough for me to love hockey on its own terms and pass down that enjoyment to my kids. Hockey isn't going anywhere regardless of whether or not it ever succeeds in Austin, Orlando or wherever. It doesn't matter to me if it remains a regional sport. Why do you feel so invested in its growth? I mean, it's one thing if you are literally a financial investor or it's your job, then I get it. But if not...

I have to agree. I don't see continual growth as improving the league. I have to say after the league accumulated two dozen teams, I found the level of hockey in general to be less interesting to the point that I have lost much of my interest in the NHL brand of hockey. Too many teams, the play has become too standardized and less interesting (I know there will be opposition to this statement, but that's how it looks from my point of view) to the point that I don't even watch the playoffs now until it gets down to the semis.

Now that we are up to 31 teams, I'm not sure I could even name all of the teams if I were put on the spot, and I really do wonder how somebody who lives in Florida or California relates to the game - I'm sure they do on some level, but I would hesitate a guess to say not nearly to the extent as somebody in the northern areas, who has spent their childhood playing pickup games on their local frozen pond or lake...

Just my opinion, of course...

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 6:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 8795785)

And the Panda Game is less 25K gridiron fans and more 25K rowdy university students looking to drink and yell. You go to any other USports gridiron game in Ottawa and there's much less of a crowd. Hell, Ottawa has two of the best USports basketball teams in Canada and nobody goes to those games, either.

Correct. I've been to a number of Panda games and the vast majority of spectators are only paying passing attention to the action on the field - if at all.

For their other games Carleton and UOttawa probably draw 800-1500 people. Even playoff games may not even break 2000 fans.

It's not really equivalent to quasi-big-time NCAA sports which is where I'd place Syracuse in football and basketball. They sometimes play teams like Clemson, West Virginia, Penn State, etc. in football and made the March Madness Final Four in basketball 2-3 years ago.

If you're there when there is a game happening there is a very tangible buzz in the city (hotels, restaurants, etc.). And this is a reasonably large metro (600,000?) and not a college-only small town.

Acajack Jan 13, 2020 6:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JHikka (Post 8795785)
I've never heard of anyone heading down to Syracuse from Ottawa for NCAA.

.


I've known people who have. Both basketball and football.

Actually, I've known two people - unrelated and from two different periods of my life - from Ottawa who had SU football season tickets. One was about 20-25 years ago and one was 5-10 years ago. Neither had any family link to a player on the team. They just liked football a heck of a lot.

IIRC these people were Rough Riders or Renegades or Redblacks season ticket holders as well.

If you are into that thing it's not that big a commitment in terms of time and travel since SU football only plays 5-6 home games a season.


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