The Expansion Debate

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by hockydude5000, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. hockydude5000

    hockydude5000 Registered User

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    Which cities will be the next expansion cities in the NHL? I honestly believe that the NHL will expand again. In fact, I did a little research on population and demographics, as well as potential for growth and rivalry potential. I ended up with a list of ten cities that would make good expansion candidates.

    Winnipeg
    Quebec City
    Houston
    Portland
    Kansas City
    Hartford
    Salt Lake City
    Oklahoma City
    Seattle
    Halifax

    Most of these cities won't get franchises anytime soon, but here's the debate: which two cities will get the first expansion franchises? Please make a description about why the two cities will be good places to expand into. For all you Winnipeg fans (and other "robbed" fans that may apply), please explain why your city would be better expansion candidates than the other cities. If you have any other cities you think would make good expansion candidates, tell me (make sure they're reasonable)

    Enjoy! Let's start the debate.
     
  2. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Halifax has no chance. It's Metro area is a third the size of Winnipeg or Quebec City, both of whom already lost their teams and if they were brought back into the NHL they would be the smallest markets.

    Houston, Winnipeg, Portland, Seattle are the most likely 4 in my opinion.
     
  3. jamiebez

    jamiebez Registered User

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    Let's just lock this one now & save us all some time ;)
     
  4. hockydude5000

    hockydude5000 Registered User

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    I said most of these will never get franchises, I was listing the cities I found to be fitting the profile. Halifax was a typo: I meant to put Indianapolis or Milwaukee there.
     
  5. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    See what happens when the Mods try to curve the Crosby discussion???

    I hate you all :deadhorse
     
  6. nyisles9293

    nyisles9293 Registered User

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    I'm actually surprised that Houston doesn't have an NHL team. It is the fourth largest city in the United States with over 2 million people, and a metro area much larger than that.

    Portland I have heard from time-to-time, especially if Paul Allen ran the team. I know The Hockey News predicted they would get a team during the last expansion period (calling them the Portland Rainmen). They also mentioned how Portland's WHL team drew consistently large crouds, suggesting an NHL team would do well there.

    I know Winnipeg has a new arena, but I doubt they would get a team again. Isn't Quebec still debating about building a new arena? I can't see the NHL going into Kansas City, even with their new state-of-the-art arena.

    I'm intrigued with the potential of Salt Lake City and Seattle.
     
  7. Street Hawk

    Street Hawk Registered User

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    The NHL should NOT expand again. The NHL needs to first make sure that the teams that are currently drawing at 2/3 capacity are stable before any further expansion talks.

    Makes little sense to expand to a Portland/ Houston, etc. if Florida, Atlanta, etc. are only drawing 11 or 12K to a game. Make sure your markets are all healthy first.
     
  8. USF Shark

    USF Shark Zôion politikòn

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    If the NHL expands it needs to do so to a city that has no other major sports teams. Hockey is already the fourth most important sport, and if it moved to a city like Houston it would die against the Rockets, Texans and Astros because it would be the FOURTH most important sport. A city like Portland would be good because they have been dying for an NFL or MLB franchise, so I'm sure they'd take hockey. I can't see Seattle for the same reason as Houston. But Indianapolis could be interesting, although it would be up against the Pacers and Colts...
     
  9. Emerald City Bruin

    Emerald City Bruin I-90 W for 2500mi

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    Mark my words. As long as we have Key Arena, Seattle will never be an NHL town. Might as well cross it off the list now.
     
  10. kdb209

    kdb209 Global Moderator

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    I agree Houston has jumped to #1 on the Expansion/Relocation list - especially after Les Alexander, Owner of The Houston Rockets and primary leaseholder on the brand-spanking-new Toyota Center arena has expressed an interest in owning an NHL team.

    Portland is my #2 - not because of Paul Allen, but because Paul Allen is now out of the picture. Paul Allen has/had zero interest in an NHL team. If he did, Portland would have had a team by now. But the good news for the NHL in Portland is that Paul Allen no longer controls the Rose Garden arena - he gave up control through bankruptcy court to get out from under the burden of construction debt. Ownership and control of the Rose Garden passed to a bunch of creditors / bond holders who hired a subsidiary of Comcast/SMG (yes the same Comcast which owns the Flyers, operates whatever the hell the new Spectrum is called these days, and owns OLN. The new management group has extensive NHL connections and is actively looking to fill dates in the Rose Garden and would likely be open to a reasonable deal should an ownership group step up for expansion or relocation bid.

    Paul Allen an his trail Blazers are now just tenents in the Rose Garden - with possibly the worst lease in professional sports. Luxury box, advertising, and concession revenue were retained by the new ownership/management group and the T-Blazers get basically gate revenue for their games and that's it.

    The next two on by list are Kansas City and Oklahoma City, both with new (or about to open) arenas looking for primary tenants. The KC Arena is managed by AEG - the same AEG that owns the LA Kings.

    Seatle is not really a candidate unless they build a new Arena - and I see zero interest in anyone doing that.
     
  11. Sens Rule

    Sens Rule Registered User

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    Yeah Because it is strugling so badly in Dallas???!?!?!?
     
  12. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    Dallas built a great grass roots program. Their junior team, the Texas Tornado, might be the best junior program in America...and that includes all the markets in the north. Most of their players end up in D-IA schools and hence the sport is very popular and that's why it has been a successful market.
     
  13. AdmiralPred

    AdmiralPred Registered User

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    The NHL at 32? I'd say Houston and Kansas City. If not KC, then probably Portland, or a sentimental deal where the NHL pushes for another team in Canada.
     
  14. Spydey629

    Spydey629 Registered User

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    I do think they'll go to 32 at some point. I'm guessing it could be as long as 20 years, but it could be as short as 5 or 10. The NFL has again been the head of the class in pro sports in North America. 32 just works better. Four divisions of 4 teams per conference, etc.

    As for where - I do agree with the "less teams in town, the better" debate. Look here at Pittsburgh. The three we have are enough. (And we will keep all three, thank you very much).

    I think Houston and KC are the front runners for expansion. There are a lot on the list, but it will depend on a LOT of things in the next few years, and with the other Major League sports having an influence as well.

    For example - KC wants a team, period. They don't care if it's hockey or basketball. I heard rumors a year ago that the KC group was looking at the Orlando Magic, not just the Pens.

    Here's my list and I'll even go as far as to rank & qualify:
    1- Houston
    2- Kansas City
    3- Winnipeg - only with MAJOR corporate support, OR a way to add 2,000 seats to the arena
    4- Portland
    5- New Orleans - IF the Hornets stay in Oklahoma City, IF the Saints leave, and this expansion happens than 10 years from now - the city will want/need a Major League sport again.
     
  15. MuzikMachine

    MuzikMachine Registered User

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    Personally, I would love to see an NHL team in Seattle. There's the possibility of a good rivalry with Vancouver.

    How old is the Key Arena? Is there a possibilty that the Super Sonics are going to build a new arena any time soon, and if there is would it be able to handle NHL hockey?
     
  16. jamiebez

    jamiebez Registered User

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    Good post.

    I agree with your top 4. Houston is a no-brainer. KC goes down a notch if they ever get an NBA team, but other than that, they're a solid option - especially with AEG controlling the building.

    Portland is interesting.... it's a very good market with a good building, and connections to the NHL with Comcast controlling the building. I'm unaware of any potential owners in Portland, though. Anyone Portland-ites out there know if anything has been discussed?
     
  17. futurcorerock

    futurcorerock Registered User

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    Vancouver would kill that idea n approximately 45 seconds
     
  18. CBJ goalie

    CBJ goalie Registered User

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    My vote goes to :
    Winnipeg (for obvious reasons) - in today's new NHL, I beleive they could survive financially and have a great fan base.
    Kansas City: new arena, they had a team before and are in a good location.

    Then drop both of them into the Western conf. and move Columbus & Detroit to the Eastern conf.
    I still can't beleive Detroit is in the West, they definitley got the shaft in this new scheduling.......only facing Toronto twice every 3 years?????
     
  19. CHRDANHUTCH

    CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    Spydey:

    New Orleans will be fine---the Saints will be back in New Orleans, in fact the NFL, just said, New Orleans Saints will return there for 2006-07, I believe the Hornets deal is temporary and they'll be back in New Orleans Arena also.

    now replace New Orleans w/ San Antonio possibly what will San Antonio do if Houston moves up----BTW, both Houston/SA are in the AHL---the Aeros have survived their many dealings with Alexander with their leases to allow the Aeros to play in Alexander's buildings (the Summit, Compaq Center, and now Toyota Center) other than the Spurs, what is there sports-wise in San Antonio, besides the AA Missions.

    I don't think Les really wants to "kill" HIS dealings w/ the Aeros, if an NHL expansion team ends up in Houston, but the Aeros are owned for the majority by the Minnesota Wild, after dealing w/ Chuck Watson, to keep hockey in Houston.
     
  20. Old Hickory

    Old Hickory Guest

    City does not equal Metro area. Houston is far from being the Fourth Largest Metro area

    Unless the new CBA has changed his mind, Paul Allen has been on record saying he does not want to own an NHL team.
    He was once interested in owning a team, but he let his Portland Corp go bankrupt and he lost ownership of the Rose Garden
    http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=43885
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2006
  21. AdmiralPred

    AdmiralPred Registered User

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    HUTCH, if Les Alexander can bring an NHL team to Houston, do you think that he will want, or could handle and NBA, NHL, and AHL team in the same building? I would think that if the choice was between an NHL and AHL team, he may go with an NHL franchise.

    As a side - I think that if the NFL has their way, the Saints will be in L.A. by 2009. If the Saints owner has his way, they may be in San Antonio or Albequerque as soon as 2007.
     
  22. CHRDANHUTCH

    CHRDANHUTCH Registered User

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    The SAINTS ARE IN New Orleans, per Tags, Admiral

    the question in Houston is will Les boot the Aeros out, after building equity not only that but Les owns a 3rd team that shares the same arena as his Rockets (and Aeros), The Houston Comets.
     
  23. Wetcoaster

    Wetcoaster Guest

    If Gary Bettman is to be believed (and that is a whole other issue), expansion is not on the horizon for the NHL.
     
  24. AdmiralPred

    AdmiralPred Registered User

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    I know the Saints are in New Orleans, I was only speculating. Last season the Saints owner was talking about selling/moving the team to a new stadium and he mentioned S.A. and Albequerque. This season the NFL has finally struck a deal with L.A. to renovate the Colesium or build a new stadium for an NFL team and hopes to be there by 2009 or 2010, but said they have no expansion plans. I simply am putting 1 and 1 together.

    The third team that you point out would further complicate the issue I brought up, however, the Comets season runs during the basketball and hockey offseason, so that extra conflict would barely exist. My question is, what do you think? Does Les keep an NBA, NHL, and AHL team in the same building when those three seasons all run at the same time? Also, does he keep an NHL and AHL team in the same building with potentially the same fanbase, the same product (a hockey game), but at very different prices?
     
  25. CF

    CF Registered User

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    I doubt it, people don't care about the Canucks in Seattle.

    The guy above is right, the Key Arena isn't suitable for hockey. The Supersonics made renovations to the arena a few years back, not considering(or not promoting) the chance of an NHL team playing there in the future.
     

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