How would they expand an indoor arena? Take down the roof and add a third deck?
OT - The Return of the Winnipeg Jets?
Youngstown is about 80k, Winnipeg is more than 600k city, 700k metro.
A population of 700k to support a team is not encouraging, particularly with regard to TV contracts.
I think the point was that mstier was off by an order of magnitude.
Youngstown's metro area has 570,000 people. It's not such a bad comparison.
I was trying to find a city that might show a passion for a sport. Youngstown = football, but that doesn't mean there should be an NFL team there. 700k vs. 570k isn't a HUGE difference, not enough to support a professional team anyway.
I agree it's not a perfect comparison by any means, but I think it at least draws into question whether Winnipeg is big enough. Combined with the other stuff (i.e. already had and lost a team, lack of corporate support, arena dilemma), it just doesn't make sense to move there.
Fuck Gary Bettman.
He's the count from Sesame Street.
Paging Stedman Graham.
I think it'd be cool, but I do wonder if Winnipeg is realistically a large enough market to support a major franchise. Its metro area has 700,000 people. Quebec City is about the same size. It was sad for these cities to lose their teams, but they likely would have never gotten teams in the first place if the WHL hadn't existed and then merged with the NHL. If they can find a way to make it work economically in those cities, I'm all for having teams there.
One city I'm surprised the NHL has never expanded to is Milwaukee. Wisconsin has a developed college hockey culture and it seems like the NHL would do well there as well. It also would create natural rivalries with Minnesota and Chicago.
unfortunatly Minnesota is in the old Smythe division and has more of a rivalry with Vancouver and Calgary than its old hated nemisis in Chicago.
Milwaukee would not support an NHL team any more than Winnipeg, but agree that the poster above that Winnipeg's problems as an NHL city are not absent.
I actually think Winnipeg would support an NHL team very well; it's just that any franchise there wouldn't make any money because it's such a small market.
Milwaukee is considerably larger than Winnipeg (1.7 million). I believe that the NHL could do well there. If anything, I think the NBA would be squeezed out if the two shared that market.
I agree about Milwaukee area - they could certainly support a team, though perhaps they are worried that most of the Milwakuee fans already identify with Chicago and wouldn't be as open to supporting a new team (like how the Orioles and Nationals battle for support in the D.C. area).
As for Winnipeg, I think that size of the fan base is less important in Canda than in the US. Hockey is kind there, and so 700k is probably enough to keep a franchise competitive. It's not like Phoenix has ever been a major draw (they average about 14,000 fans at home), so all Winnipeg needs to do is fill a 18-20,000 person arena (like the other Canadien teams) and they woul be golden. Heck, average 16,000 (about the average in the NHL and less than the other Canadien teams), and they would still be a better draw than their current home.
The problem with Winnipeg isn't so much that they wouldn't draw (they always had good attendance), but that they'd get very little from local TV/corporate sponsorship, so they'd have a tough time making a profit. They'd likely always be a financial drain on the league.
Actually, the Jets' attendance was pretty pathetic compared to the rest of the league. Not even counting their lame-duck final season in Winnipeg, they only averaged 13,138 per game in their final seven years. Phoenix is typically cited as an example of horrible attendance but never in the history of the Coyotes have they fallen below that number except for this year with the ownership issues.
Winnipeg played in a much smaller arena (roughly 15,000 seats) compared to most built today (the current one in Phoenix seats over 17,000). The North Stars also had serious attendance issues despite being in what most think of as a prime hockey market and we've seen great attendance numbers there since the NHL came back. I think a well run Jets franchise in hockey-starved Winnipeg could do alright financially in a salary cap league.
Minneapolis is also about five times the size of Winnipeg, and when you're talking 700K vs. 3.5M, that's not insignificant. And it's grown a lot since losing the North Stars, unlike Winnipeg. Playing in a smaller arena is no excuse - they still didn't fill it.
I guess my point was just that while Winnipeg lost the overall attendance comparison with Phoenix, that it is important to take into account the changing dynamic of the sport (13,000 in the early nineties isn't what it is today) and to point out that Phoenix still had a lot more empty seats.
I get that the size is an issue, but I think I would rather be selling tickets to 700K hockey starved fans in Winnipeg as the only game in town (where you would be the first, second, and last choice for everyone's sports dollar) than trying to create fans in a larger market like Phoenix or Miami with a history of apathetic fans generally and no specific hockey interest while also competing against three other major sports franchises.
I think with the salary cap in place to control costs, a well run team could be financially viable in a market where absence has certainly made the heart grow fonder. And of course I'm personally biased because I would just rather see teams playing in front of a passionate Canadian fanbase than in a town where half the fans are rooting for the road team and the upper deck is basically empty unless it is the playoffs.
why Wisconsin doesn't have a pro hockey team. Seems like a more logical place to have a hockey team than the desert, than again the money might not be there...
IIRC the main reason Milwaukee doesn't have a team is because the late Bill Wirtz blocked it while he was owner of the Blackhawks, thinking it was part of his market. Apparently, when he wasn't busy alienating fans in his own city, he found time to make sure another city didn't have an NHL team either.
It's not just hockey, places like south Florida and Phoenix are really just bad sports markets in general. So much of the population of those areas are transplants, they don't identify with the teams in their new areas. Plus there's a lot more to do than watch sports. Look at the Dolphins, Marlins, Diamondbacks, Heat...even in so-called "Southern sports" absolutely nobody cares about the local teams.
This goes double for a sport like hockey that isn't nearly as popular to begin with. The NHL needs to get the hell out of Phoenix, Nashville, Florida and Atlanta, Columbus, pretty all the Southern markets other than California and Dallas. Hockey will never succeed there. I'd say put one team in Winnipeg, maybe a team back in Quebec or Hartford and contract the rest. The NHL really needs about 4-5 less teams so the talent isn't so diluted.
Are you calling Columbus a southern market?
southern as in down. Columbus = Hell, but warmer.
can become popular north of the Mason-Dixon line, who is to say that hockey won't catch on in Arizona? Seems like the Coyotes biggest problem is ownership, solve the ownership issue and then concentrate on building a fanbase. Winning will go a long ways to creating fans. You build a winner through great management, and you can not have a good management structure without a solid base of ownership to operate from.
In all seriousness, Fuck Canada, and all their podunk towns that blew their chance once before. You say move hockey to where its appreciated, I say keep it where its paid for. Canada's run at the top of the hockey food chain has been a long time in the making.
* I may be a tad bitter about the olympics..........a tad.
its not like America has not been exposed to Hockey. Olympic ratings were sky high. Hockey always has been and will be limited to a niche of fans. The margins of that niche can be expanded, but it is just not in America's culutre the way football, baseball and basketball are.
Look at soccer. There are more kids playing soccer than any other sport in the US. That has not translated to any success for the professional game in terms of interest. Its not lack of exposure, it is just still and always will be a recreational sport in the US with a small niche of people really interested in it.
I think given the barriers for hockey in terms of national interest, that it is doint remarkably well. Unfortunately people seem to want it to be, and think it can be more than it is, and I just think that we have in general reached the limit in terms of national interest in hockey. The niche may grow a little bigger, but it is not going to come even with the big three - ever, so we need to stop aspiring to that and try to make it the best sport we can within its boundaries.
Delusions of grandeur have not killed the sport becaus the owners let sanity take over (whether for altruistic or greedy reasons) when they instituted the hard cap.
But you have to give it time. Soccer will be KING, once all the kids grow up into adults. If the parents of the kids don't like soccer, nothing will change if their kids are playing it.
have already become adults and there is still little interest in pro soccer from even people who played soccer as youths.
Soccer first started to get big with Gen X and it just has not translated. While there may be more kids playing now than the previous generation, its not leaps and bounds more. Professional soccer may get marginally more popular, but there is no cultural revolution coming which will make Salt Lake fans start beating up on the Columbus Crew supporters. Its just not in our blood.
MLS is ~15 years old, is growing and is making a profit. Nascar is ~60 years old and it has grown in a relatively short amount of time into a economic monster. If you asked anyone in the mid to late 1950's to project Nascar out into the future, do you think they would have guesses it would turn into such a huge sport?
Soccer is a great sport, and once older Americans get over the issues of soccer being the world's game and not these-colors-don't-run-American, soccer will become hugely popular.
I don't think the MLS is currently profitable, though it appeared to be on track for profitability before the recession hit. I agree that the sport of soccer is growing, and I think the World Cup is always going to be a huge deal from here on out (and it helps that the U.S. is in an easy region). But I'm not sure if the MLS can ever become more than a minor league, and if not, I don't see it becoming a juggernaut in terms of fan interest.
If the MLS is to become a major soccer league, it may have to bite the bullet and play during the traditional season, even if that means having games during the dead of North American winter. Soccer players don't get much of a break as it is and not many superstars want to give up their summer when the World Cup isn't involved.
I think too many people peg the growth of soccer in America with MLS. There are plenty of die-hard soccer fans who could basically care less about MLS because it is only the second best league in North America and may never get better than that. I think the number of people following the EPL and other European leagues as well as top international competitions has grown immensely in just the last few years. When people in other countries want to watch basketball or hockey, they watch the NBA or NHL because that is where the best players play. Since we are so late to the party when it comes to big time soccer, it seems crazy to expect us to supplant leagues and teams with longstanding history, rabid fanbases, and an enormous cash flow advantage.
But that could still be a restricting factor. People in this country are accustomed to being able to watch the world's best players right in their hometowns. A subculture has developed that follows European soccer but I don't know if it can become mainstream. Asking the average American to follow a team that plays 5-6 time zones away is a challenge.
I believe that the U.S. is destined to become a powerhouse in international soccer competition, and Americans will follow the World Cup accordingly. But club teams might always have more of a cult following.
The growth seems to me to have been very significant in the last few years. I can't remember until just recently seeing the scores from European leagues scroll across the ESPN scoreboard ticker with international soccer highlights featuring regularly on Sportscenter (you also don't see the anchors pulling the "hey what is this crazy game everyone overseas likes where nobody scores" attitude they did for years). Just from a TV perspective, you basically have three channels that I can think of (FSC, FSC+, and GOLTV) playing non-stop games on Saturday and Sunday mornings for 8-9 months out of the year when nothing else is going on (they air before football games start for the most part and have the spring to themselves). Pretty much every Mexican League game is available on basic cable as well. Aside from college football, I can't think of another sport that gets that kind of TV exposure for so many games (just look at the NHL where out of market fans have trouble seeing Wings playoff games).
I don't think it will ever compete with the domestic sports leagues, but international soccer continues to grow in popularity now that more people have access to it as coverage expands. This is very different from '94 when people watched the World Cup in the US but had no way to follow the best players afterwards and had no knowledge of club teams like Madrid, Man U, Liverpool, Barcelona, Milan, etc. Now they can watch these teams play every week if they want to and that has created a lot of new fans in my view.
Soccer's profile is rising, but I don't think it'll ever dominate the spectator-sports landscape here. One problem is that our sports calendar is already crowded with the NFL, MLB, NBA and college sports. Another is that there are already many established soccer leagues overseas, and they compete during the "real" season (Sept-May) while the MLS competes during the summer. I think the MLS could eventually carve a decent niche for itself, but it'll never be drawing NFL ratings.
Anything that makes Gary Bettman look like a fool and hasten his way out of the league, I'm all for. Exactly a year ago, Bettman was saying this about the Coyotes franchise:
"We don't run out on cities."
and they didn't run out on the city.
You like to bitch and moan about the sound bite and tricky journalistic ways of the FREEP, but then engage in them yourself.
The NHL has done everything they can to serve the fans of Phoenix, fans that do indeed exist regardless of what the majority of Wings fans/fans across the NHL will tell you.
Surely, it isn't financially sound to stay put in Phoenix. Exactly a year ago, the plan was to stick with Phoenix in an attempt to find them an owner who can bring them around to a stable living, and not forcing themselves into leaving the 5th largest market in the current NHL.
If you can't understand that, then I apologize. Hate on Bettman instead, because irrational thinking is always easier. It is like you're a State fan.
You're right, I don't understand how the "5th largest market" "isn't financially sound".
That would mean there are (at most) only 4 "financially sound" markets in the NHL. In the salary cap era, I find that hard to believe.
That's what I'm understanding from your post, but maybe I'm just being a "bitch" and "irrational".
Name-calling. Nothing more Sparty than that.
I can't believe Phoenix is the fifth-largest market in the NHL, but even if that's true in terms of population size, the Coyotes certainly don't have the fifth-largest fanbase. If they did, they'd be doing fine.
Move the Panthers too! At least the Coyotes did something this year! The Panthers are never going to accomplish anything
Except that the Panthers did something that Winnipeg/Phoenix never did - make the Stanley Cup Finals.
Yeah 14 years ago...nothing since
The Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise entered the NHL in 1979, and in the ensuing 30 years, got out of the first round of the playoffs a grand total of 2 times. 2 playoff series wins in 30 years! And Florida is the one that is never going to accomplish anything?
I'm not saying south Florida needs to have a hockey team (I agree that Florida should be moved, but it's not exactly like there are dozens of options for franchise locations that stand even the slightest chance of being successful), but let's be reasonable when comparing the success of franchises. Winnipeg/Phoenix has been a terrible team for 3 decades. You could at least have used someone like Atlanta for your example, a team who has never even won a playoff game, let alone a Campbell/Wales trophy.
Can we take one of the teams out of Florida too? I mean, the Panthers... really?
The Jets were a financial problem the first time. Why would the second time be any different? The future of the NHL could see a lot of movement or worse, decrease in size.
Winnipeg Free Press will be covering the City of Glendale council meeting with a liveblog. Starts around 9 PM central. The council will vote on whether they want to pay the NHL's demands to keep the team in Glendale.
This isn't a Bettman slap at all.
You guys/gals of this site get wayyyyyy to crazy about Bettman. He is nothing more than a glorified puppet. If there is anyone to be upset at it is the owners for allowing it to get to this point and causing embarassment for the NHL and its fans.
I hate to burst your bubble, but Bettman is everything that is wrong with the NHL. The way you're trying to defend his glory is like you're related to him.
I hate to burst your bubble, but Bettman is in the employ of the owners and works at their behest. If Bettman were running the league in a way that they didn't approve of, they'd fire him.
I recently moved from Ann Arbor to Glendale (I know, what the hell was I thinking), but give me a few moments ...
I went to Games 5 and 7 of the playoffs, and I gotta say, sure there were a lot of Wings fans, but the Yotes fans are growing, and they are starting to get into this team and support it. I was actually impressed with the number of fans that stayed to the bitter end, past the final seconds, and waited, giving their defeated team a standing ovation throughout the handshakes and the response of the Coyotes players, not dashing for the lockerroom, but saluting the crowd after a tough seven game series loss. Sure, they're still hockey novices, but you'd be upset to if the alleged Great One and his cronies ran the franchise into the ground while doing everything but managing a hockey franchise.
The city of Glendale is stupid if they think they can get something else at Jobing.com arena. Westgate is a such a prefab phoney setup in the middle of a field that without a good sports franchise to consistently draw in people, nothing will work, NO not even concerts and circuses.
Besides, I like to see hockey, and at least see the Wings a few times a year. There are a lot of midwestern transplants, and with good ownership and smart people in the front office, hockey can succeed here as it has in some of the other warmer climates (Carolina for example).
Don't tell the haters, they won't listen anyway
The reason why the Wild are so successful in MN and the Stars weren't is because the Wild's pretty much the only team in the city where they play in (Which is NOT Minneapolis!) and nothing else.
When the Stars were in Minnesota, they constantly had to compete with the Vikings and Twins (And a lesser extent, Gopher hockey) for attention. Playoff games were sometimes on tape delay on the local UHF stations. When the Wolves moved in, it sealed the deal for the Stars. They had to compete with a new major league sports franchise in an area with a strong basketball history residing in a new arena in a centralized location while the Stars were miles away from DT MPLS in an aging arena while the center of their market was located 5 miles to the north. The NHL decided not to give MN a franchise until they played in Saint Paul, not Minneapolis for that exact reason; they'd get killed at the gates if they were located in Minneapolis and instantly become a second thought in the TC sports scene.
To add, hockey's more of an East Metro thing than a West Metro thing over here. Minneapolis only has one high school hockey program for all MPLS HSs (And a poor quality HS team at that) compared to having 7 basketball programs, while Saint Paul's high school hockey programs are some of the most dominant in the state while having very weak basketball programs. Another factor too, the East Metro never really supported the North Stars because everybody in the East Metro were Fighting Saints fans and resented the NHL.
IMHO, Winnepeg getting back an NHL team may or may not seem like a good idea. On the one hand, Winnepeg will make sure that arenas are filled and Winnepeg will draw fans from Saskatoon, Regina and even as far away as the Red River Valley (Minnesota Wild territory), but on the other hand, it's only 700K. That's about the population of Minneapolis and Saint Paul combined, with a few suburbs added or Denver proper plus a few large 'burbs. The arena will have to sell out every night and draw fans in from everywhere in that area. It would have to become a regional obsession to the point where it's considered a major taboo if you're not from Thunder Bay, the Red River Valley or SK and not be a die hard Jets fan, sort of like if you're from Wisconsin and you're not a Packers fan, there's something a bit "off" about you. (Sort of like if you're from the East Metro and not a hockey fan, there's something a bit "off" about you)
The NHL needs to get rid of it's delusion that it's a national sports league and concentrate more on the local tastes (Not that the NBA isn't also a regional sports league; The Timberwolves and to a lesser extent, the Bucks struggle and so did the Buffalo Braves, the Kansas City Kings and other cold-weather and Midwestern markets). Hockey will always be a sport played by people from cold areas, much like basketball will always be a sport for coastal and southern cities.
The NHL relocating into northern markets may help the league much like the NBA relocating from places like Vancouver to Memphis and Kansas City to Sacramento helped the league. Tastes in sports are very regionalized, due to differences in climate and culture. You don't find many basketball fans in Buffalo because it's too snowy half the time to play a game of outdoor ball and you don't find too many football fans in places with a high immigrant population because they simply didn't grow up with the game. Baseball is probably the only sport that can be considered pan-regional in this country.