For "died in the wool fans" like myself and others on this board, NHL hockey will always be our favorite sport. I would rather spend my money on an Isles ticket before any other pro sport. 1) The NHL's real problem is in drawing fans who are also spending money to see other pro sports. 2) Obviously the Americanization of pro hockey under Gary Bettman saw alot of success with regional franchises all around the USA along with ESPN and national TV contracts. 3) Every time a new pro sports arena was built to accommodate basketball, the NHL was right there to add a franchise with 41 home dates. 4) The NFL has a full slate of games every weekend on all 3 major US networks. NFL is broadcast from Noon Sunday (include pregame show) until 7 PM, plus add the ESPN Sunday NIght Game. The NHL broadcasts mainly on saturday afternnons, from 3pm to 6pm, which was always a low viewership time for all TV programs. 5) Rising NHL expenses do not only include player salaries, but also arena expenses and promotional advertising expense. The NHL has to essentially compete head to head with the NFL, MLB and NBA for new sports fans. 6) Add in the fact that the NHL has had a poor rap in the public eye with the violence issue. Also a sport which sells itself on speed and scoring is often played with a low scoring trap style which does not appeal to the non-hockey sports fan. 7) Owners who have invested in NHL franchises which were valued last season at between 50 million and 200 million dollars are now faced with a very serious problem. Consider the fact that every High School and Junior High School in the USA has a football, baseball and basketball team. These three sports are ingrained into American Culture throughout all 50 states, while hockey is not.