Why Care About Hockey's Popularity?

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by egger66, Aug 5, 2005.

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  1. egger66

    egger66 Guest

    Many discussions are full of desperate talk about to make the NHL more popular. I don't get it. Who cares? What good would it do? At best it means a few more games on TV. But you can get all you want now with satellite packages. But it also means higher ticket prices. There's this thing called supply and demand.

    Is it some deep psychology need by hockey fans to have their attitudes and beliefs validated by the great mass of people and ESPN? I would find this ironic because hockey fans tend top be very arrogant and self-centered. They look down their noses at people who prefer NASCAR and the like as being uneducated hicks. To them, any one whjo is not a hockey fan is some ignorant fool. Who cares what such people think. Deep down, hockey fans really like being in the narrow, select group of people who really are more sohphistcated and better than everyone else.

    OK, what then? I think that it is just an excuse to whine about something. Really, who gives a good #^&$$ whether the NHL is more popular? It really doesn't matter one way or the other.
     
  2. Phil333

    Phil333 Registered User

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    The more popular it is, the more it will be on national TV, the more games people can watch.
     
  3. Habsruleen

    Habsruleen Registered User

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    Regardless of how popular the game is elsewhere, I can watch all my team's games on tv, so I'd have to agree with the thread starter - who cares?
     
  4. dolfanar

    dolfanar Registered User

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    It's a case of insecurity in alot of cities with new NHL fans who feel they need to "justify" or "prove" themselves as fans.

    Talk to a fan in Canada or some of the older US cities and it isn't really a big deal, and you usually end up with a pretty clinical debate about ratings, market share, etc... Talk to a die hard Hurricanes fan (or any of the newer, less established NHL cities... not picking on Carolina) and you are far more likely to have a person will feel like their back is against the wall and come out swinging.

    Until people here utterly gave up on MLB, it was the same in Montreal with Baseball in the Expos(and I was no different). As a die hard fan in a market you *know* isn't doing all that great you want to "stick up for your city" and *prove* that the market can support hockey, and that gets transfered in general to the whole "Popularity of Hockey" debate.

    In the end it really doesn't matter, as a *die hard* Hurricanes fan is probably just as *die hard* as a Red Wings fan... just that there are heck of alot less of them, but in the end it really doesn't matter as long as you have fun following the game.
     
  5. King'sPawn

    King'sPawn Enjoy the chaos

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    Um, the more popular it is > the more revenue it generates > the higher the cap > the more likely a team could afford a player > the higher quality a team is > the more popular it becomes... and the cycle continues.

    Unless you're happy having it remain a niche sport > low/lower revenue > low/lower cap > being unable to build onto a competitive team/letting go of your talent to fit under the cap...

    It's not "insecurity" or "needing validation" at all. It's to improve a healthier league and, for those of us who can't drive for a few hours to see an NHL game live (or can't afford it), we can retain TV contracts if it remains healthy.
     
  6. puck57

    puck57 Registered User

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    It matters if hockey is "popular" for the long term stability of the league in the US. For the NHL to have long term stability it HAS to have national tv exposure to bring in revenue and that means primarily in the US because 24 of the 30 teams are in the US. I could care less if someone "likes" hockey but I do worry long term for the league. Why do you think the BOG voted so fast for the rule changes- they have to attract non-traditional fans for their survival in the years ahead and that means tv- you can not have a "major" sport relying primarily on gate receipts. Privately, I would imagine that the head honcos in the league are furious with ESPN and right now are probably trying to think of any which way to get more exposure- these next few years are really going to be crucial for what the NHL will look like 10 years from now and beyond. In the end you HAVE to grow the fan base and in the end it has to become more popular with kids growing up or you have reason to worry for the future.
     
  7. Drrocket9

    Drrocket9 Registered User

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    i dont care if i go to the Tank this season and there are 100 fans in the stands.

    i dont care ONE IOTA about how popular hockey is or isnt.

    its my favorite sport. i play it. i watch it. i love it. if others dont, then thats their loss. anyone else whos here probably feels the same way.
     
  8. Hoek

    Hoek 001

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    I don't care too much about the overall popularity at this particular moment. I think it's more important that the individual markets that have actually have a team get solid support at the gate as that's what really keeps these teams afloat. If some guy in Portland or Des Moines isn't tuning in, whatever. Their loss. Hockey needs to fight to be popular in the actual hockey markets themselves, then the national attention will follow. Sort of like how NASCAR hit a critical mass among its own group of fans before taking over the sports scene as a whole. I think this is a strategy that MLS is also exploiting to its advantage. Notice how they don't fret over only having a game or two on ABC all season and a handful of games on ESPN (which is similar to the backtracking in national TV coverage that the NHL may be facing, as they had much more coverage in their inaugural years). They are busy growing the fanbase for each individual team first, and the attendance figures are rising to reflect that.
     
  9. Habsruleen

    Habsruleen Registered User

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    Quote: 'Um, the more popular it is > the more revenue it generates > the higher the cap > the more likely a team could afford a player > the higher quality a team is > the more popular it becomes... and the cycle continues.'


    You're looking at this from a team by team perspective. But from a league perspective, I really don't care if players make more or less money because hockey's popularity is on the rise or the decline.
     
  10. revolverjgw

    revolverjgw Registered User

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    I hope it never takes off, I like being a fan of the most indie of the four major North American sports.
     
  11. King'sPawn

    King'sPawn Enjoy the chaos

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    No, I'm looking at it from a hockey fan perspective. I want to watch good, competitive hockey all the time. Having an increased cap to sign higher end players ensures that.
     
  12. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Problem is that if you're a season ticket holder lk emyself, the greater the popularity, the greater the chunk they're taking out of my wallet.
     
  13. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    I agree. Who gives a rats ass how many people become hockey fans? Show hockey to those of us that want to see it and don't worry about the rest.

    The benefit that comes from creating a bunch of new hockey fans is the "big" US TV deal. The benefit that comes from the "big" US TV deal is more revenue. The benefit that comes from more revenue is that there is more money for the players and the owners to share. How exactly does that do anything for we, the fans?

    The fact is, trying to get this "big" TV deal has only hurt the game. Trying to market hockey to non-hockey fans has caused a lot of stupid decisions to be made. The one that bugs me most is the messing with the playoff schedule. Playoffs used to be where each series played every second night until it the series was finished. It was awesome! We had hockey on Canadian TV almost every night for two months. I loved it. Now, to accomodate US TV, we have afternoon games, back to back games and the worst - two or three nights in between games.

    Making hockey more popular in the US is unnecessary for us, the fans. For the owners and players, trying to make hockey more popular is just a money issue.
     
  14. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest


    That isn't true. A higher cap applies to all teams so, no individual team will benefit by the increased popularity of the game. If all teams can afford more, the same exact competition for players will exist. It is a non-issue.

    The only benefit of increased popularity is that the owners make more and the players make more. Fans get no benefit.
     
  15. dolfanar

    dolfanar Registered User

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    Exactly... it's not like owner's are going to drop ticket prices because the NHL becomes the #1 sport in North America. If anything the reverse is true, as the NHL hit a new credibility low prices finally *dropped*. Hell I hope NHL becomes the number 400 sport in North America... I could go in for season tickets for me and a few dozen of my closest friends!
     
  16. Arastiroth

    Arastiroth Registered User

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    People here are missing a key thing that happens with popularity: more kids play the sport. The more kids playing hockey, the better talent we'll have in the league 20 yrs down the road.

    Soccer has a crazy amount of incredibly talented players, because the amount of kids who play it is staggering. And, yes, I know soccer is far easier to play as a kid ($$$) than hockey, but the point still holds.

    Also, I think it's kind of natural to want things you love to grow and succeed. Just like everyone wants their child to be successful (whatever success is to that parent), people want hockey to be successful (whatever successful is to that person).

    On top of that, I think everyone would find it quite obvious that the NHL owners goal is to make the game more popular, since that means a more stable and profitable business for them.
     
  17. King'sPawn

    King'sPawn Enjoy the chaos

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    That isn't true. Frolov and Datsyuk for example, are leaning towards Russia because there's more money there for them at the moment. As the cap goes down, and the spending power of teams go down, we may see more players opt elsewhere, and send a downward spiral.

    And again, I'm not just concerned about MY favorite team benefitting. I'm concerned with having a competitive league that's fun to watch, and not have the same three teams be the favorite to win the cup every year. Having higher cap room provides for that.

    The point I'm trying to make, though, is that it's NOT some insecurity/psychological issue. I'm fine with being the only person at my work who loves hockey (except I don't have anyone to talk it with). I'd rather have a popular league that grows, than a niche sport where players may end up having to play elsewhere because there's more money or *gasp* another lockout because the owners need to give the players LESS % of revenue, and the players won't agree to it.
     
  18. The Moose

    The Moose Registered User

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    But it is only so much revenue that a so called small market team can generate. Take Oilers for example, they pretty much maxed out their revenues, almost alll game soldout, and had to compete with a budget at about 32mil. compared with the huge budgets of NYR, Detroit, Colorado, etc...Now, with the salary cap at 39mil, things look promising again. But assume the league wide revenues double and the cap get to 80mil. There is no way in hell, Oilers can generate that kind of dough in revenue. It will still get some money through revenue sharing, but hardly enough to be competitive. Without extensive revenue sharing, if the game grows, small market team will be in trouble again.
     
  19. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    The Russian economy cannot sustain higher salaries than the NHL for very long. If NHLers do get more money to go to Russia, it would likely fold those teams and they will be back in the NHL in short order.

    North America has the strongest economy in the world and when hockey is back, the $1.5 billion or $2 billion in revenues - WITH MOST AMERICANS NOT CARING ABOUT HOCKEY - will be plenty to keep the best players in the world in the NHL.
     
  20. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    How do we know? I personally have not read the entire CBA so I don't know how the revenue sharing structure works. I would assume that they were smart enough to factor everything in so that this wonderful level playing field will be in place no matter what league revenues are.
     
  21. Matt Gunning

    Matt Gunning Registered User

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    I've had this converstation before and stated that I personally have no problem with hockey remaining a niche market sport in the USA. Because hockey must rely upon gate receipts to turn a profit I think it puts more power in the hands of me the season ticket holder. In the other major pro sports NBA, MLB, NFL the TV contract provides so much money that fan support isn't as critical to the owners pockets. The Atlanta Hawks may only draw 5,000 people but the owners still get that national TV money. If the Thrashers only draw 5,000 those owners are going to seeing a lot of red ink. Here the Thrashers organization does lots of stuff to reach out to fans. Back home in Michigan the Red Wings don't have to worry about selling tickets so they don't kiss up to you. Here the GM meets with season tickets holder at least once a month during the season.

    In a sport dependent upon local ticket sales fan opinion has a chance to matter more to ownership.
     
  22. ProctorSilex

    ProctorSilex Guest

    Why?

    Because it pisses me off we lost Quebec City and Winnipeg and I'd like to know one day it wasn't in vain.
     
  23. Injektilo

    Injektilo Registered User

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    The reason winnipeg and quebec moved was basically because hockey became so popular. Gretzkys impact in the US sparked enough interest in the game to push cities to look for teams, and with revenues increasing (because of the increased popularity) some cities couldn't keep up and kept losing money, forcing their owners to sell to other owners in new cities.


    I personally could care less if hockey becomes more popular or not. More popular means more money for the owners and players, and means higher ticket prices for myself.

    If hockey becomes more popular, great. If not, .... shrug. I love hockey, and that love is not dependant on whether or not some guy in Louisville, Kentucky appreciates it as well. Frankly, it's his loss.
     
  24. Ogopogo*

    Ogopogo* Guest

    Actually Winnipeg and Quebec moved because salaries were esclating far faster than revenues.

    But, enough of the CBA stuff...
     
  25. Phil333

    Phil333 Registered User

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    The big TV deal matters because I would like to see other teams besides mine.
     
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