Growth of the NHL

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by daver, Feb 5, 2007.

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  1. daver

    daver Registered User

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    Can someone explain the constant focus on expanding the exposure of the NHL in the States and elsewhere. Is it's very existence at stake if it stays as a niche sport?

    As a hockey fan in Canada, I could care less if it never expands again or even if it retracts a few teams, it will still be huge in Canada and popular in most of the current US cities who have teams.

    I imagine we would still see the same level of play if the boys were only making $100,000 a year.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Mr.Bill

    Mr.Bill Registered User

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    One thought, business is business, "If your not growing your shrinking".

    I agree though the NHL has probably over expanded in a very short period of time. Tend to think they should focus a little more on the audience it has then where it doesn't. It will pobably straighten it self out soon.
     
  3. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    If "the boys were only making $100,000 a year":

    - Crosby, Ovechkin and all the top tier talent would be playing in Europe or Russia for hell of a lot more than that.

    - Bill Wirtz and the Toronto Teachers would be making obscene amounts of money.

    - We would be looking at a players strike that would make the last lockout look like minor inconvenience.

    The NHL is a business - always has been, always will be. The owners are out to make as much money as they can, and as soon as they were allowed to, the players did the same.
     
  4. Arastiroth

    Arastiroth Registered User

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    There are a few reasons people talk about this. For more media attention (particularly for U.S. fans). Also more fans will lead to more people who play hockey which will lead to better (on average) hockey players in the NHL, which leads to a better and (potentially) more enjoyable product.

    Also, there are a few people who have interests here (such as myself) in marketing, business, law, or other related fields, and as such find the conversations interesting.

    Yes, but if the sports starting shrinking in popularity (and as a result, revenues) us fans will start seeing that reflected on the on ice product.

    If a player is only earning $100k a year, there would be a huge decrease in the number of players trying to become hockey players. Some players are intelligent and talented enough in other ways that they will be able to earn as much or more money than that in another career -- one that wouldn't be so incredibly challenging to get your break in like the NHL is. Many junior players or NCAA players who aren't a "sure thing" will opt for getting a college degree (or finishing in the case of NCAA players) and getting a more traditional job.

    Take players like Mark Messier, Patrick Roy, Brett Hull -- players who weren't seen as future stars or superstars when they were drafted -- and add the reality that they have a slim chance of maybe making $100,000 a year playing in the NHL for a (very) few years, and they quite possibly (and, imo, likely) decide that the NHL dream isn't worth the risk of trying for years just to get no where or, even worse, getting a career ending injury and having nothing to fall back on. They may decide that getting a college degree and going to work is simply a wiser decision (even if they dream of playing in the NHL).

    Also, many players had to decide which sport to go with, since some of them were roughly equally talented at more than one sport. Deciding between baseball, football, soccer, basketball, etc and hockey will look a lot easier if "making it big" in the NHL nets them a whole 100k a year (and again, the increased risk of injury in hockey will factor into this decision too). Even if you raised that salary mark a bit above 100k, you're still going to see people going with other safer or more rewarding options.

    Lastly, and most obviously, if players are only earning amounts in the hundreds of thousands, we are going to see a huge drop in european players in the NHL. Why play in the U.S. or Canada for less than you can make at home, although other league's salaries may drop since it wouldn't have the level of competition over players it does now with the NHL's massive contracts (ie, RSL). Not only that, North American players will suddenly be like the European players are now, going over to European leagues trying to get the big pay checks they can receive there. Even with the significant history the Stanley Cup has, money speaks to a lot more people's dreams.

    The only benefit I could see is that the players who are in the NHL will likely be playing because they truly love the game, not just because they are good at it.

    Now, obviously, you picked an extreme salary drop with $100,000, but the point will still hold true, to a lesser extent, with any significant drops in the salary NHL players make on average.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2007
  5. statistics

    statistics Registered User

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    Most hockey players aren't playing, because of money. They love hockey and want to see how good they are. $100k is much more than your average canadian or american is earning ($30k-$40k).
     
  6. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    A) You are pretty naive, no offence.

    B) The average Cdn/US adult makes more than that, I think.
     
  7. saskganesh

    saskganesh Registered User

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  8. saskganesh

    saskganesh Registered User

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    in response to the original post, you always need a certain amount of growth in order to maintain and improve the current level of product, to renew the fan base and to ensure a decent annual profit so the owners will maintain interest.

    now as per NHL expansion & marketing, more games on television would be a nice goal, especially for US fans not in major markets, and stimulating more kids to play hockey can only bring good things to the sport over the long term

    but unless you are a shareholder, from a fan's perspective its meaningless to worry about how hockey compares to NFL, NBA, NASCAR, etc. and whether one TV deal nets the league $60 million instead of $70 million. as long as the game on ice is entertaining and the economics around this game are sound, it doesn't really matter if hockey conquers the martians.
     
  9. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    Married/attached make quite a bit more, actually, per that survey. Point taken, though. I had always heard about and paid attention to the family numbers (about $60k).
     
  10. Arastiroth

    Arastiroth Registered User

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    I never said they are playing because of the money (although some are, I'm sure). That said, $100k isn't enough for a hockey player to go through all the trouble to finally earn. The average Canadian or American don't have to go through the life long process to try and get their job like a hockey player does, and they have a MUCH longer career than the average hockey player. A hockey player only plays for a few years on average. On top of that, most of them have no other skills to fall back on after their hockey careers. Right now that isn't a big problem, because they earn millions in their career. However, if the avergae player was only making a few hundred thousand, suddenly the financial struggles that a hockey career gives would cause people to not go for that as a career choice. It's simply too much of a risk vs reward.
     
  11. EbencoyE

    EbencoyE Registered User

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    So in other words, you're selfish and don't think anyone outside of Canada should be able to enjoy the sport.

    It amazes me why so many elitist ultra-nationalists hate seeing their sport grow and expand. I've had this debate before with some Irish guys over Hurling. They thought hurling should only be played in Ireland and never be allowed to leave the country. So they always looked down upon American hurling clubs.

    I won alot of them over though. There's no reason they can't still enjoy their sport just because someone else is too. And since it's their favorite sport and all, they should WANT the sport to grow and expand. As a hockey fan, that's what I want for my sport. I want it to grow and be a prosperous as possible. Why? Because I'm a hockey fan - and I want to share my passion with the world.
     
  12. AdmiralPred

    AdmiralPred Registered User

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    Agreed. Canadians do not see the opportunity they have to spread their influence around the globe through their sport of ice hockey. We could all be good friends eating back bacon and watching HNIC just aboot every day. :D
     
  13. hexrae

    hexrae Registered User

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    So, in other words, you're putting words in the OP's mouth just to make your own point? :shakehead Seems to me that daver's own opinion is simply not caring if the NHL expands again. I don't see why you have to automatically append the "hockey belongs in Canada" idea to the end of that. daver stands alone though with the $100,000 a year comment. :D

    As for me, I'd love to see the sport of hockey continue to grow worldwide, at all levels. The idea that people will support a sport if they've played it before holds merit. However, even the casual sports fan can be turned onto hockey if it's marketed to them efficiently. Why are you more inclined to drink Pepsi over Bob's Tasty Cola?
     
  14. Arastiroth

    Arastiroth Registered User

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    Well, I can think of at least 30 teams that are all for the idea. ;)
     
  15. AVSfan2daMAX

    AVSfan2daMAX Registered User

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    The league obviously overexpande. Next on the agenda are Houston (good market), Portland (great market), Dontgiveacrap, South Carolina (fantastic market) and Hicktown, Missouri. That's just great. I know I'll be bashed cause I'm bashing SOME southern markets but honestly some markets shouldn't have teams. Not yet anyways, they overexpanded and way to quick.
     
  16. Kenadyan

    Kenadyan Registered User

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    Agreed. The league expanded way too fast. I don't have a problem with expansion, but the league needs to slow down and and wait a few more years (like 5-7) and let the sport grow with the teams that it currently has.

    Why does the league feel the need to have a team in Houston, Portland, South Carolina, and Kansas City tomorrow????

    These cities/regions aren't going anywhere. They'll be here in 5-10 years. The popularity of the game needs to grow more before the league expands and immediate expansion is not the way to grow the game.

    The game needs to be marketed better (you would think a marketing "genius" like Gary Bettman would know a thing or two about this -- but that is a discussion for another thread).

    That was the mistake Bettman made when he first took over as commisioner (try to grow the game thru expansion).
     
  17. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    Sigh. You do know that the initial wave of 90's expansion was approved BEFORE Bettman became commissioner. GB had absolutely nothing to do with expansion to San Jose, Ottawa, Tampa, Anaheim, and Florida.:banghead:
     
  18. Kenadyan

    Kenadyan Registered User

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    That's all fine and dandy and the league would be much better if it had stopped expanding at that point (those expansion teams increased the league from 21 to 26 teams).

    However, Nashville, Columbus, Minnesota (again), and Atlanta all entered the league under Bettman's watch.

    As 26 team league would have been fine. But Bettman felt a need to leave his mark (stain, as I would call it) on the league by having another expansion.
     
  19. kdb209

    kdb209 Registered User

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    Yes, but the '99/'00/'01 expansion was far from "when he first took over as commisioner" - Bettman was commisioner for 6 and a half years before Nashville took the ice. And of the 4 teams admitted under Bettman, two (Minnesota and Columbus) have been pretty much unqualified successes (from a business perspective) and one other (Nashville) has been a success (from an on ice perspective). So I ask you - what was wrong with the Nashville/Minnesota/Columbus/Atlanta expansion?

    Too many anti-GB zealots try to blame him for the first round of '90's expansion - I just assumed you were yet another.
     
  20. Jazz

    Jazz Registered User

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    I don't see the problem of only adding 4 teams in 14 years.

    Besides, Bettman was not the reason for expansion - the board of governor's mandated it - going to 30 was in the plans before Bettman came on board.

    Besides, the league has more than enough talent to handle 30 teams. Anyone who says the league is watered down has their head in the sand (see this post for proof: http://hfboards.com/showthread.php?p=7958380#post7958380 )
    In fact, I would argue that the league was diluted in the 1980s (all those defensive mistakes) and over saturated now.
     
  21. GSC2k2*

    GSC2k2* Guest

    Uh, they don't.

    Again, you and the NHL seem to be right in sync.

    Wherever did this idea that Bettman is a master marketer get started? Bettman is a lawyer. At this point, he is really a businessman with legal training, but at no time is he or was he a "marketer". I think people got this idea because he came from the heavily marketed NBA 15 years ago, and that impression got formed amongst th emore ignorant hockey pucks out there and it took hold.
     

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