Fans have no clout?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Fletcher1. Show Fletcher1's posts

    Fans have no clout?

    The popular opinion around here seems to be that the fans will always come back and really have no stake in the dispute at all.  I keep reading regular posters here stating that we'll all come back and any threats to boycott are a joke.  I'm not so sure.  

    I know I'll come back, although I think I'll watch more games on tv and buy less tickets.  And I think the Bruins will be fine, along with the big fan base teams.  But the picture in the 10-12 smaller NHL markets is a lot different, I think.  If a major part of this dispute is to make more markets economically viable and remove the profit margin struggles, I think this work stoppage is just as likely to backfire.  I think the aggressive negotiations on the part of the owners are being dictated by the owners of big market teams that see the potential for much better, more reliable incomes. But the smaller market owners are undoubtedly playing with fire and taking on all of the risk.

    Here is the perspective from Denver, decsribed by respected NHL writer Adrian Dater.  

    http://www.denverpost.com/lunchspecial/ci_21680552/nhls-ship-fools-shouldnt-fool-anyone-this-time

    His argument could be laughed off in Boston, or New York, or Toronto, but I think it's wholly realistic for Denver.  If a prolonged strike loses 10-20% of the season ticket base, it could easily ruin the franchise.  The Avs have experienced steeply declining interest and ticket sales already, despite being in a good sports town that experienced major population growth and downtown economic growth right through the recession.  You can laugh at fan threats of boycotts all you want, but if 10% of the core fans in Denver, Columbus, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, Florida, etc. decide that enough is enough, it will put those franchises in tremendous peril.  Sure a couple can move to new markets, but not 8 or 10.  At the end of the day a successful NHL needs economically viable teams through the league, or the product will start to crumble. 

    I think the big team owners have conned the small team owners into to taking on a risk that is vastly different for their different franchises.  The Jeremy Jacobs type is happy to fight on with minimal risk, while the smaller franchises twist in the wind.  Maybe the eventual CBA will make hockey in Denver more viable in the future.  But in the present, it might just drive the frachise away.

    The fans should have the attention of ownership here.  What's left of them anyhow.  A better profit margin for Jacobs might be a nail in the coffin for another owner.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from jpBsSoxFan. Show jpBsSoxFan's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I think you are right about the smaller markets that are already struggling. Hockey is back page material and pretty much ranked 4th out of the 4 major sports teams for their respective cities. This lockout will definitely not help their cause. Markets like that can't afford to lose any fan base.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from SanDogBrewin. Show SanDogBrewin's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/48585-Bill-Daly-says-missing-preseason-cost-NHL-100-million-in-revenue.html

          "Bill Daly says missing pre-season cost NHL $100 million in revenue"

    The longer and longer it goes the more the small market teams get hurt...

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from WalkTheLine. Show WalkTheLine's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    Fletch - interesting article and post. Thanks.

    It's the casual fans that will be lost and that will hurt some teams more than others. It may be a while before they league recoups the same number of fans and that will definitely be felt more by the smaller market/less financially stable teams. We are all hardcore hockey lovers and die hard B's fans here and we often scoff (I know I have) at the casual fans (aka pink helmets) and the unknowledgeable but they are important to the success of the league overall. Some of them turn into real fans. They gotta start somewhere! Just hope they don't sit near me at a game.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from BadHabitude. Show BadHabitude's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I'll say it again.  this is an opportunity to them to distinguish themselves from the other sports in a positive way and they're blowing it by using the same thinking that pro sports have been using since 1985.

    Time to think out of the box.  Time to put hockey on the map with a shrewd deal that both players and owners are happy with.  What kind of out of the box idea?  How about each team does an IPO and give shares to players?  I don't know, I'm in the kindergarten of the business world, but there must be a professional league somewhere out there that has a great model where players don't go on strike nor do the owners lock out.

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Bisson1. Show Bisson1's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    A lot of fans of the newer and southern located teams may struggle because most of them are either relitively new to following their team, or the NHL in general. These fans may be more likely to give up on the NHL and watch some NBnAy or find college football to occupy themselves with. Not good considering these markets will be the ones most effected by the lockout. I still think most fans will be back to watching hockey whenever the season begins, or next year if it never begins at all.

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from islamorada. Show islamorada's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I was in Home Depot the other day when the young cashier noticed my Bruins hat, she said she became a big fan of hockey two years ago and wondered when the lockout will end.   Needless to say I had no answer.  The conversation indicates the sport was being noticed by New Englanders as the Bs ascended to the Stanley Cup finals and victory. IMO the same is true in smaller markets where the fan base is not as rooted as the one here in New England etc.  So I think Dater is correct overall.  I will say the reason Denver fans are losing interest in hockey though maybe linked more to Peyton Manning.  

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from stevegm. Show stevegm's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I agree with what Fletch states above.  In actuality, these guys aren't even arguing money...just the percentage of the pie.  It gets real dicey when one considers the repurcussions from the fairweathers moving onto the next big thing.  Hockey has grown tremendously in the last 7 years.  People on forums like this...are not the reason.  It's not the hockey fan whose taken things to the next level financially...ist's the newcomers...the casuals.  That's really tough money to count on....and both sides are.

    The zealouts, the fairly committed fans will be there, but that's the 2.2 billion we had when the last lockout ended.  This new found 1.2 billion...that's the key, and it's very reasonable to think that a real good percentage of those fans will have moved on when this idiocracy ends.

     

     

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not-A-Shot. Show Not-A-Shot's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    "If a prolonged strike loses 10-20% of the season ticket base..."

     

    They won't.

    "...but if 10% of the core fans in Denver, Columbus, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, Florida, etc. decide that enough is enough..."

    They won't.

     

    Why not write, "If 89% of Bruins season ticket holders don't renew..."

     

    It's just as feesible.

    But let's just say it is.

    What happens?  The NHL props up the team until it can stand alone (See:  Phoenix).  Or, maybe they rig the lottery to get MacKinnon to that team (see:  Pitt and Crosby).

    No, there isn't an NHL team that is going to fold beacuse of this.

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from BruinsLegion. Show BruinsLegion's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to Fletcher1's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    The popular opinion around here seems to be that the fans will always come back and really have no stake in the dispute at all.  I keep reading regular posters here stating that we'll all come back and any threats to boycott are a joke.  I'm not so sure.  

    I know I'll come back, although I think I'll watch more games on tv and buy less tickets.  And I think the Bruins will be fine, along with the big fan base teams.  But the picture in the 10-12 smaller NHL markets is a lot different, I think.  If a major part of this dispute is to make more markets economically viable and remove the profit margin struggles, I think this work stoppage is just as likely to backfire.  I think the aggressive negotiations on the part of the owners are being dictated by the owners of big market teams that see the potential for much better, more reliable incomes. But the smaller market owners are undoubtedly playing with fire and taking on all of the risk.

    Here is the perspective from Denver, decsribed by respected NHL writer Adrian Dater.  

    http://www.denverpost.com/lunchspecial/ci_21680552/nhls-ship-fools-shouldnt-fool-anyone-this-time

    His argument could be laughed off in Boston, or New York, or Toronto, but I think it's wholly realistic for Denver.  If a prolonged strike loses 10-20% of the season ticket base, it could easily ruin the franchise.  The Avs have experienced steeply declining interest and ticket sales already, despite being in a good sports town that experienced major population growth and downtown economic growth right through the recession.  You can laugh at fan threats of boycotts all you want, but if 10% of the core fans in Denver, Columbus, Nashville, New Jersey, Phoenix, Florida, etc. decide that enough is enough, it will put those franchises in tremendous peril.  Sure a couple can move to new markets, but not 8 or 10.  At the end of the day a successful NHL needs economically viable teams through the league, or the product will start to crumble. 

    I think the big team owners have conned the small team owners into to taking on a risk that is vastly different for their different franchises.  The Jeremy Jacobs type is happy to fight on with minimal risk, while the smaller franchises twist in the wind.  Maybe the eventual CBA will make hockey in Denver more viable in the future.  But in the present, it might just drive the frachise away.

    The fans should have the attention of ownership here.  What's left of them anyhow.  A better profit margin for Jacobs might be a nail in the coffin for another owner.

    [/QUOTE]


    Thanks for the article Fletcher, definitely an interesting read and take.  I'm not sure I agree in "tremendous peril", but it's certainly conceivable that the smaller market teams are in terrible shape whenever this shakes out, which means it will take longer for the league to get back up on its feet and rolling... which in the long run doesn't seem that good a strategy.

    Of course the same could be said for the lower tier players and the salary they will never recoup if this thing goes a year or longer.  Some will never recover the loss of that kind of money in the grand scheme. 

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from stevegm. Show stevegm's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    "tremendous peril" needn't be taken to the extreme thought of absolute failure.  If league revenues fall by 10%, and stay there for a reasonable time (which will still be 20% higher than they were for decades), the league will have made an all encompassing...brutal business calculation.   By most business interpretations that's at least significant peril.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from BadHabitude. Show BadHabitude's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

     

    When is TSN going to report on the guy on his deathbed who wants to see an NHL game before he dies?

    They always seem to be able to find one of those people and hype it until he breathes his last.

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from Fletcher1. Show Fletcher1's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I think I'd use the term 'tremendous peril' not because of the amount of money that would be lost, but because the teams I am referring to are already on the brink of being viable where they are.  As stevegm argues above, losses that perpetuate each year amid falling interest can certainly become disasterous business moves (especially considering this move is intended/expected to increase profitability).

    And to presumptively say that teams like Denver "won't" lose 10% of their season ticket base is preposterous.  Denver has been losing 10% of their season ticket base every year, while they're still playing.  Of course it will help if they get a good team again, but the mood around the city is extremely bitter about the NHL, moving towards indifference, and there are plenty of other ways to spend your money.  

    Part of the reason I posted this was because some of the perceptions about NHL fans  here seem to be very Boston-centric.  Baseless declarations that no fans will stop buying tickets, anywhere, illustrate that misperception in spades.  Trust me, its worse here than you think.

    All this is coming from someone who will come back on day 1 when they play again.  But I like hockey best by far and don't care about Peyton Manning.  There aren't many others like me out here.  The Avs have always relied on being new, exciting, trendy etc. in the absence of a lot of life-long hockey fans.  Just like Columbus, Phoenix, Florida, Nashville, etc.  Bandwagon fans are easy to attract and easy to lose.  Another work stoppage will be very effective in sending them elsewhere.

    We'll see, hope I'm wrong.

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from stevegm. Show stevegm's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

      No business in todays economy is going to see around 7% annual growth forever.  At some point it stops, goes down, and then starts the trek up again.  It's as predictible as darkness in the evening.  Even without this stupid lock out, there's a good chance things may have peaked, and the NHL could see some decline.

    And anyone who thinks Boston is HockeyCentral better re think things.  Sure things are pretty rosey right now, but I can remember lots of years where the B's had tons of empty seats in a rink that only held 14,000.  There's few more fairweather markets anywhere, and in a cap world, chances are...you'll take your turn in the caboose competitively at some point.  Boston has a poor history supporting even average hockey teams, when looking at the furor caused by winning ones. 

     

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from WalkTheLine. Show WalkTheLine's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    No, no team will fold because of a prolonged work stoppage. But the fact remains that this is NOT good for the sport of hockey and there will be a period of recovery that will need to happen to get things back to where they were before the lockout.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from kelvana33. Show kelvana33's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to WalkTheLine's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    No, no team will fold because of a prolonged work stoppage. But the fact remains that this is NOT good for the sport of hockey and there will be a period of recovery that will need to happen to get things back to where they were before the lockout.

    [/QUOTE]


    Well said, 5 years from now Bettman will be citing how they have record revenues and the game is more popular than ever. Then, they'll probably have a work stoppage again.

    In that time, it would not suprise me that one of the reasons they do come back is because they went global, meaning they have 2 NHL teams in Europe.

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from Fletcher1. Show Fletcher1's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to WalkTheLine's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    No, no team will fold because of a prolonged work stoppage. But the fact remains that this is NOT good for the sport of hockey and there will be a period of recovery that will need to happen to get things back to where they were before the lockout.

    [/QUOTE]

    Why do you say that, with certainty?

    I mean, of course it won't be from that reason alone, but if a prolonged work stoppage turns another fraction of the fans away in Columbus or Phoenix, who's to say they will recover?  Couldn't it be the straw that breaks the camel's back?

    My point is that the owners of Columbus, Florida, Phoenix, Colorado, etc. are taking on a much bigger risk than the Jacobs/Snider types, by blowing up recent revenue growth and fighting for more by pulling the product off the shelves (all while they cling to minimal/declining interest and profitability).  They can't afford to alienate any fans.  If they end up relocating in the coming years, they may well look back on the failed negotiations of 2012 as something that put a nail in the coffin.

    I just don't understand how the owners can all be on the same page here.  The ramifications and risks of a prolonged work stoppage seem drastically different for different teams.  They are not all holding the same cards, yet they appear to be letting Jacobs and Snider play the hand.  

    What's smart for Jacobs might be stupid for Kroenke.

     

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from WalkTheLine. Show WalkTheLine's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to Fletcher1's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to WalkTheLine's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    No, no team will fold because of a prolonged work stoppage. But the fact remains that this is NOT good for the sport of hockey and there will be a period of recovery that will need to happen to get things back to where they were before the lockout.

    [/QUOTE]

    Why do you say that, with certainty?

    I mean, of course it won't be from that reason alone, but if a prolonged work stoppage turns another fraction of the fans away in Columbus or Phoenix, who's to say they will recover?  Couldn't it be the straw that breaks the camel's back?

    My point is that the owners of Columbus, Florida, Phoenix, Colorado, etc. are taking on a much bigger risk than the Jacobs/Snider types, by blowing up recent revenue growth and fighting for more by pulling the product off the shelves (all while they cling to minimal/declining interest and profitability).  They can't afford to alienate any fans.  If they end up relocating in the coming years, they may well look back on the failed negotiations of 2012 as something that put a nail in the coffin.

    I just don't understand how the owners can all be on the same page here.  The ramifications and risks of a prolonged work stoppage seem drastically different for different teams.  They are not all holding the same cards, yet they appear to be letting Jacobs and Snider play the hand.  

    What's smart for Jacobs might be stupid for Kroenke.

     

    [/QUOTE]


    I agree that the risk is not equal for all the teams. And it's entirely possible that the lockout could be the straw that breaks the camel's back for one of these teams as you say. You would have to think there was some discussions about this amogst the teams, no? There has to have been some assurances given to the weaker teams by the rest of the league that they will not be allowed to go under as they improve their collective future or whatever rhetoric was used. I think we will have the same number of teams when this ends. maybe it will hasten the relocation of Phoenix or something like that but we will not lose a signle franchise in my opinion.

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from BadHabitude. Show BadHabitude's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

     

    Too bad we can't form some sort of organization to make them *think* there might be a legit fan strike once the lockout is over, it might put some pressure on them.

    OK, that idea sucked, so I'll say too bad fans can't put pressure on them some how some way.

     

     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not-A-Shot. Show Not-A-Shot's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to Fletcher1's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to WalkTheLine's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    No, no team will fold because of a prolonged work stoppage.

    [/QUOTE]

    Why do you say that, with certainty?

    [/QUOTE]

    Because they don't fold when they are bankrupt. The NHL has caused the work stoppage.  They aren't going to lose a franchise over it.

     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from Fletcher1. Show Fletcher1's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

     


    Why do you say that, with certainty?

    [/QUOTE]

    Because they don't fold when they are bankrupt. The NHL has caused the work stoppage.  They aren't going to lose a franchise over it.

    [/QUOTE]

    Who said anything about going bankrupt?  The Avs often had 7000-8000 fans for home games last year.  If that drops to 6000, or 5000, the franchise is in trouble.

    And again, I'm not saying they would move this year because of the work stoppage.  I'm saying that things are bad enough already in a few cities that a work prolonged stoppage might push them too far into irrelevence to recover.  Placating the fans does matter in some cities. 

     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not-A-Shot. Show Not-A-Shot's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I said something about going bankrupt.

    If teams go bankrupt while the league is doing well and they don't fold, there is no way a team is going to fold because of this lockout.  If the Avs can't get enough people in at the current prices, they can dump some big contracts and drop prices on tickets. 

    That team isn't going anywhere.  Let's say they had 7,000 season tickets and they lost the above mentioned 10%, causing a irreversible spin and the death of the Avs.  At $90 per seat, that would suggest that the team's entire future, with their current payroll of $54,000,000, was going to be determined by $63,000.

    Make it 20%, you say?  Fine.  A team that pays it's players $54M isn't going to die based upon $126,000.  Their goon, Cody McLeod, makes $1,150,000.  They could cut the goon and pay for 10 years of that level of loss.

     

     

     
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Chef09. Show Chef09's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In Canada, the players will come back-to a standing ovation- and it will be business as usual. The NHL can milk those puppies(Toronto, Vancouver,Montreal et.al.) to float Phoenix, Florida, Columbus-whomever. Bettman will never admit a mistake never mind failure. This all proves what an amazing sport hockey is: no matter the idiots running the show, it still survives. We like to believe things like: "well they better watch out- we'll punish them this time. The small markets will fail. They've blown an opportunity." yadda yadda yadda. Truth is the owners will make this work to their advantage .It's their play- they hold all the cards. The NHL as a whole may have lost lots of money but the small markets don't have to go up against baseball or the NFL. They won't start thinking of lost opportunity until January. I've been through 4 of these things now and no amount of wishing, handringing or cursing had any effect last time and it won't now either. Time to watch Junior games etc. until the chimps give us our game back. Again I say- They( the owners) are not afraid. The smart well run franchises that don't need a lockout to fix their problems are on board for the most part because if they actually refix the league, again, they might get a situation where they can stop supporting the 10 dogs of the NHL

     
  24. You have chosen to ignore posts from Not-A-Shot. Show Not-A-Shot's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    In response to Chef09's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Bettman will never admit a mistake never mind failure.

    [/QUOTE]

    Been to any Atlanta Thrashers games recently?

     
  25. You have chosen to ignore posts from BsLegion. Show BsLegion's posts

    Re: Fans have no clout?

    I've been hearing a lot if Bettman was a 6ft2 Canadian he would be viewed differently.  I'm starting to believe this.

    oh, and his name would be Buchanan. 

     

     

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