ECHL Gwinnett hoping for "bump" after relocation of NHL Atlanta

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by LadyStanley, Jun 1, 2011.

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  1. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=564397&cmpid=rss-News in English

    CP article (reminding/)telling NHL Atlanta fans about local ECHL franchise

    They were affiliated with NHL Atlanta, so are searching for new "parent".
     
  2. Tinalera

    Tinalera Registered User

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    The evil part of me which surfaces from time to time says:

    Why doesn't TNSE pick em up? I hear Winnipeg could use an ECHL team :naughty:
     
  3. Fluffy Nuts

    Fluffy Nuts Registered User

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    I don't see why they'd need a new NHL affiliate. I could easily see TNSE keep the ECHL affiliation while changing their AHL affiliation from the Chicago Wolves to wherever the Moose end up since they own that franchise. Chicago's NHL affiliation could swing to the Canucks and all is right in the world.
     
  4. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    First, nominally the NHL-owned AHL franchise is the affiliate of the NHL team, not another's. (Now, perhaps NHL Vancouver will pick up the AHL Chicago affiliation.)

    Second, it is possible that ECHL Gwinnett will affiliate with TNSE/NHL WPG, but NO GUARANTEE. They'll have to negotiate with them, and other interested NHL franchises.
     
  5. HansH

    HansH Unwelcome Spectre

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    Given the combination of geography (think of Duluth to Atlanta as Glendale to Phoenix) and league differences, I can't predict that THAT many people who were attending Thrashers games will instead shift over to Glads games, unfortunately for the Glads.

    Now, sure, they may get a bump from a minority of hockey-crazed fans in the northeast suburbs OTP (Outside The Perimeter)... but they won't be getting the corporate ticket accounts that the Thrashers had, etc.
     
  6. HansH

    HansH Unwelcome Spectre

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    Given the combination of geography (think of Duluth to Atlanta as Glendale to Phoenix) and league differences, I can't predict that THAT many people who were attending Thrashers games will instead shift over to Glads games, unfortunately for the Glads.

    Now, sure, they may get a bump from a minority of hockey-crazed fans in the northeast suburbs OTP (Outside The Perimeter)... but they won't be getting the corporate ticket accounts that the Thrashers had, etc.
     
  7. ThrasherMinion

    ThrasherMinion Just Chucky

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    Well, I can tell you as someone that actually lives in greater Atlanta,
    that Duluth to Atlanta is not Glendale to Phoenix. Duluth is a suburb northeast of downtown. "Atlanta" is a sprawling metropolis of a bunch of suburbs. The city isn't a compact area served by metro buslines. You can't just "motor down to the city square" for flash parties. That's another of the "problems" with this place when it comes to sports teams. MOST of the hockey fans live in the northern burbs.

    The old Atlanta Knights of the old IHL always outdrew the Atlanta Hawks NBA team. They were the top drawing IHL franchise for awhile. There were over 15,000 on several occasions. Gwinnett attendance has in fact topped 10K at games in the past. Yes, even for ECHL games. Their marketing is fabulous and parking is FREE.

    The arena is located right down the road from the old Thrasher practice rink and a bar owned by Tim Ecclestone of the ex-Flames. Gwinnett will draw like nuts now. I wouldn't put it past them to average 8,000 and rival the Hawks once again (The same ASG owns the Hawks and their arena and there are alot of pissed off people in Atlanta that won't go back there).
     
  8. HansH

    HansH Unwelcome Spectre

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    I appreciate that you live in Atlanta, but I have had frequent business trips to the area, specifically Alpharetta and Sandy Springs/Dunwoody, so I do have _some_ idea of the area. In addition, my wife moved from Phoenix to San Diego, and still regularly goes back to visit friends (some of whom live very close to Glendale). So, I stand EXACTLY by my analogy of Duluth:Atlanta::Glendale:Phoenix, having both attended a Thrashers game in Phillips Arena and having been at the mall development adjacent to Jobing.com Arena.

    Phoenix is exactly, as you say, "a sprawling metropolis of a bunch of suburbs", and not "a compact area served by metro buslines", which is why the location of Jobing.com Arena has been such a miserable contributor to the Coyotes woes.

    Now, Duluth/Gwinnett is not trying to be an NHL team or arena in that area, and that's good -- but my point was that the geography doesn't support a large number of NHL ticketholders becoming ECHL ticketholders. Now, I do appreciate your insight as to the "majority" of the NHL ticketholders coming from the northern burbs, so the bump may be larger than I had initially expected. However, my point about corporate tickets absolutely NOT translating from downtown to Duluth is a major point, and still stands -- so I don't think your estimate of a 3k increase (60% in one year) is going to be anywhere near reality. Plus, it's enough of a pain to have to commute back from work anywhere in the northern burbs, with traffic -- how many people from Alpharetta are going to drive more than 30 minutes one-way to get to Duluth 36 times a year, for a minor-league franchise?

    Now, I hope I'm wrong and that you're right - I'd love to see the Glads sell out for the whole season and stick that in the craw of the smug anti-American-hockey crowd that seems to believe that professional hockey ends with the NHL and that the "Sun Belt" doesn't deserve ANY hockey. But I'm going to be surprised if the 2011-12 average for the Glads breaks 6k.
     
  9. GKJ

    GKJ Global Moderator

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    ECHL affiliates are not crucial to the NHL. NHL teams MIGHT send 2 prospects to the ECHL. Colorado didn't even affiliate with one this season.
     
  10. ThrasherMinion

    ThrasherMinion Just Chucky

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    Question: Is Phoenix 5.5 million sprawling?

    The "corporate giants" of Atlanta didn't support the NHL team. That doesn't matter in Gwinnett. In fact, the Glads have better outreach into corporate support than most would imagine. Small business embraced the ECHL club. Major support from such places as Kroger grocery chain markets the Gladiators. There is actually more Gladiator product identification than Thrasher ID. You can choose not to believe it, but in order to keep it nice, I'll just say I know what I'm talking about and you can come back and compare gate numbers next May.

    The Richmond Braves have moved down to Gwinnett. That's where the small city of Duluth is. They seem to be doing fine too.
     
  11. jiggsawpuzzle35

    jiggsawpuzzle35 Registered User

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    ECHL hockey is extremely boring. My wife interned for the Long Beach Ice Dogs one year and I was forced to attend a ton of games and the product on the ice was god awful. I don't see how you can transition over from attending NHL games to ECHL games.
     
  12. LadyStanley

    LadyStanley RIP Fugu

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    I've seen both.

    If you're used to NHL hockey, it can be boring as the speed is noticeably slower.

    But the guys do try very hard at times and it can be exciting, hard-hitting hockey.

    It's a matter of what kind of prospects/coaching the organization has.

    (I did see Long Beach in 2005 and didn't recall that the hockey was very exciting. Part of it may be that they were an affiliate of Montreal and the organization seemed to be more proud of the affiliation than the product on the ice.)
     
  13. sh724

    sh724 Registered User

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    Did they not use one at all or did they use a different league because I know there are a few teams who's 3rd level is in another league
     
  14. sh724

    sh724 Registered User

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    Location on ECHL is not really important to the NHL club the Blues ECHL team is in Alaska. Although it could cause some issues if they want to move a player from ECHL to AHL.
     
  15. Brodie

    Brodie Marxist-Harbaughist

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    They used a team in the CHL.
     
  16. jiggsawpuzzle35

    jiggsawpuzzle35 Registered User

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    2005 was when my wife worked for them so we both saw how bad the product was on the ice. Its sad that the franchise went from the IHL to the WCHL to the ECHL. The AHL is a higher caliber league and that's something I'd like for Atlanta to get.
     
  17. Taro Tsujimoto

    Taro Tsujimoto Registered User

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    Buffalo hasn't had an ECHL affiliate for years.
     
  18. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    I do thing for the British Elite league---while not at nhl level--it is anything but boring
     
  19. Brodie

    Brodie Marxist-Harbaughist

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    I went to a British Elite League game... the quality is truly abysmal, but it's entertaining hockey. Kind of like watching Division III college football, there are so many errors the games become more entertaining.
     
  20. Mantha Poodoo

    Mantha Poodoo Playoff Beard

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    Gwinnett has a good product. They also have one of the most badass name and logo combos in any pro hockey (including the NHL). I hope they do well.
     
  21. HansH

    HansH Unwelcome Spectre

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    Obviously it's not May yet, but even in November, a look at the 2010-11 gate numbers after three home games compared with a look at the 2011-12 gate numbers after that many games... doesn't look promising for your thesis:

    After three home games in 2010-11:
    18,325 attended (average 6,108)

    After three home games in 2011-12:
    14,793 attended (average 4,931)
     
  22. nhlfan79

    nhlfan79 Registered User

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    They have drawn well in their two weekend home games, and had a very poor showing this past Tuesday night, which brought down that average. However, you can't look at attendance numbers in a vacuum.

    On October 1, new high occupancy toll ("HOT") lanes went into effect on I-85, the main interstate that feeds Gwinnett County. Essentially, they converted what was once an existing "free" traffic lane into a toll lane, which compressed everyone into one less lane of pavement. Traffic has gone from atrocious to ungodly--especially on secondary feeder roads all over the county--and local political leaders and traffic gurus are feeling the heat.

    http://www.ajc.com/news/hot-lane-unhappiness-some-1208710.html

    It is nearly impossible to make it to a weeknight game during rush hour traffic. Until the transit issue is resolved, the midweek games will certainly suffer. This is not an excuse, it's a fact.
     
  23. Duke749

    Duke749 Formerly "BigTuna49"

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    Stupid god-forsaken tolls. :shakehead
     
  24. Sports Enthusiast

    Sports Enthusiast Not Here To Be Liked

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    It will NOT boost attendance, this is almost get real territory. The league play is noticeably different(and i'm not a Hockey fan)but 2 levels below in any sport is gunna be noticeable. The ECHL is the just the AHL's punching bag. I wouldn't get that too excited though, the AHL Product is just as boring.

    ECHL Affiliates mean nothing except for the AHL teams. even then it matters very little, ask Elmira. They have guys called up to so many different teams not named Binghamton or syracuse. The AHL just comes and plucks on non affiliates with ease and I loathe it.

    If the ECHL matters in any light it MIGHT be the fickle position of goalie
     
  25. Bongo

    Bongo Registered User

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    I live less than 5 miles from downtown Atlanta and attend 2 or 3 Glads games a year. They're a lot of fun but it's just too far a drive. If the arena was just outside the perimeter highway, I'd probably get season tickets.

    It's interesting. A lot of people insisted the Thrashers problems were due to Phillips being downtown. This didn't seem to be a factor for Atlanta's previous hockey teams who drew well in the same exact location. Another tidbit. Don Waddell and ASG claimed that college football cut into their revenue. Another excuse that didn't manifest itself during the Knights and Flames time here. Also, the Gwinnett arena where the Glads play is in the heart of Georgia Bulldog Country and hasn't had a negative effect on that hockey team.
     

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