Major Junior vs Minor Pro

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by etr102, Nov 5, 2013.

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  1. etr102

    etr102 Registered User

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    I was hoping to start a discussion of Major Junior (OHL, WHL and QMJHL) vs Minor Pro (AHL and ECHL) from a business standpoint.

    From a non-business standpoint, I personally find Major Junior much more entertaining/exciting to watch. Sure the talent isn't as polished, but it's just more fun to watch for some reason.

    Which leagues have better revenue/earning potential. Which teams cost more to run? Do many AHL/ECHL teams have valuable TV deals or are they mainly broadcast on community cable like Major Junior?

    AHL/ECHL Salaries are obviously higher than the stipends earned by Junior Hockey players but as I understand it, the parent NHL team pays most of those expenses.

    AHL/ECHL teams have much higher travel expenses.

    I've been unable to find any good examples of where a Major Junior team and Minor Pro team compete for market share. Unfortunately, the Portland Winterhawks play in a different Portland than the Portland Pirates.

    I guess my question is, if you are a multimillionaire interesting in owning a profitable team, what would you rather own, an AHL/ECHL team? Or an OHL/WHL/QMJHL team?

    If you lived in a city that is obviously too small for the NHL, what would you consider to be the preferable alternative, Major Junior or Minor Pro?
     
  2. tarheelhockey

    tarheelhockey Highest Boss

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    Potential? Probably the upper levels of minor pro, where arena deals and other incentives come into play. Unlocking that potential is a different story. Most minor pro teams fail within a couple of decades.

    I suspect minor pro teams cost significantly more to run, unless you're talking about the bottom-of-the-barrel outfits.

    Most minor league teams receive little if any TV coverage. The value of their deals is negligible, and the broadcasts are more of a promotion than a revenue stream.

    That is correct for NHL-contracted players. However, many players are simply free agent signings.

    Yep.

    Toronto?

    If I'm interested in significant profit, I'm staying far away from owning a hockey team. It's not a business that you go into with dreams of getting rich.
     
  3. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Portland. So there.
    I could go for days on this question. I was in Boise when they "nearly" got WHL.

    The problem: the answer is warped. I'd want to answer in terms of, yes, what would work better in Boise. However, Major Junior is geographically limited (supposedly the primary reason why they're NOT in Boise), and to more stable hockey markets. More important, USA Hockey doesn't want to emulate the CHL.

    In most cases, I'd say CHL teams are more stable than the majority of AHL markets. There are clear exceptions, of course. It's a statement that I probably shouldn't make with that much emphasis, but I find myself doing just that.

    OTOH, "stable" doesn't necessarily double the resale value in 5 years. If you find the right market in minor pro at the right time, it's a better short-term investment. Remember to sell quickly. Again, there are exceptions... and a couple a very long-time AHL franchises I'm ignoring. That's a legacy that hasn't proven to spread itself.

    I say that even knowing that many teams in Canada struggle to cover the educational component of the promise made to players, especially in the really small markets. So there's a caveat: I'd never buy Swift Current. Not that they'd sell.
     
  4. Rocko604

    Rocko604 Playoffs?

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    Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) vs. Brampton Beast (Central Hockey League). Mississauga is averaging 2363 while Brampton is at 2521.
     
  5. MarkGio

    MarkGio Registered User

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    Why doesn't minor pro get any coverage? As a Flames fan, I would totally watch Abby games during the days off. I don't care about the Hitmen because there could be Oilers prospects or whoever playing for that team.
     
  6. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    Portland. So there.
    You inadvertantly bring up a question I tend to want to ask in Portland.

    Will the NHL continue to tolerate this two-toned semi-non-development development system? College only develops players by accident. Major Junior doesn't feature more regular oppotunities for kids to move up, even though it's a couple light years ahead of college on this score. However, the question on my mind is whether the KHL can cause the NHL to realize the importance of making development up to each team.

    Minor pro is supposedly the baseball model, but eh. The D-League now has single ownership from 11 NBA teams. MLS is really the organization trying to reduce the importance of a draft and go to youth development. Can that (which occurs in most of the world happen) with the NHL?
     
  7. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    No TV channel is going to pay to broadcast minor league hockey and teams likely don't want to pay a TV channel to broadcast their games.
     
  8. cheswick

    cheswick Non-registered User

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    Not sure what you're suggesting. Eliminate the draft? Draft at a younger age? The NHL used to have teams develop their own players from a younger age. It was eliminated and a draft system implemented.
     
  9. PCSPounder

    PCSPounder Stadium Groupie

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    When you're the only "big league" in a sport with the conditions like they are at present, a draft is easy.

    There's cost pressure on small CHL markets.

    There's mounting overall pressure on athletic departments (if not from people who want them shut down, certainly from football coaches who want all the money).

    The KHL might theoretically pay a few bucks for kids coming out of a theoretical NHL development program.

    Moreover, as MLS rockets in this direction and the NBA inches towards it, this could be something the NHL looks at. I know they had it before. How can it be refined?
     
  10. La Grosse Tendresse

    La Grosse Tendresse Registered User

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    For the NHL, it is probably much more economical to just subsidise the CHL than it would be to actually own the thing, and I don't see how they could charge other leagues (like the KHL) for players coming out of it.
     
  11. Shawa666

    Shawa666 Registered User

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    Please don't FIFA-ize hockey.
     
  12. etr102

    etr102 Registered User

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    Interesting. I was under the impression that decent sized cities (ie Cleveland) who only have the AHL had said AHL games on their respective FSN Regional channel. For example, I had always thought that FSN Ohio would broadcast Lake Erie Monsters games but perhaps that is incorrect?

    Are AHL games at least on Community Cable?

    Almost every CHL game is televised on Community Cable, with 1 a week televised nationally on SportsNet. The quality varies greatly depending on the broadcast crew of the home team, but at least it makes it easy for fans to follow their team.
     
  13. No Fun Shogun

    No Fun Shogun 34-38-61-10-13-15

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    Actually, small caveat. The Chicago Wolves have all their games broadcast on local TV, albeit not on a channel available to everybody.

    Yes and no. The Wolves are the only team with a full TV package (and that's largely due to the Blackhawks not being on the TV for years), everybody else either aren't televised or only have select games on the tube. The Monsters, for instance, appear to have nine televised games this year, and only four are on Fox Sports Ohio.

    http://www.lakeeriemonsters.com/schedule/broadcast/

    I am mildly surprised that the Hershey Bears don't have a TV contract for their immediate area, though.
     
  14. mouser

    mouser Business of Hockey

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    I'm curious how you arrived at this conclusion?
     
  15. DyerMaker66*

    DyerMaker66* Guest

    I was actually just talking about this today with a guy in my class:

    I have zero doubt that I would prefer watching the best junior players play over the "worst" professionals.
     
  16. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    IIRC they have had some games on FSN but it's like 5-10. I know Rochester, Charlotte and Milwaukee have some games on Time Warner Cable Sports channels but those are only if you get Time Warner Cable and a lot of people don't get that because that is an awful company and speaking only for Milwaukee their games are a "game of the week" played on tape delay throughout the week. So it's not even live, so if you're a fan you probably already know the score and don't really have a desire to watch it again.

    Pretty sure Rockford has some games on TV as well.

    Not saying there are no games on TV but it's not very many and it's usually on some station that a lot of people don't get that needs some programming.
     
  17. Frankie

    Frankie Registered User

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    very interesting discussion. living in st. john's, we had 14 fairly successful years with the ahl maple leafs, then a failed qmjhl team for 3 years, now a highly successful ahl icecaps team.

    multimillionaire danny Williams leased the jets' farm team and has sold out every home game since. its sold out for the rest of this season, so it will be a streak of at least 3 years. he's making a fortune off this team, and presumably having fun along the way.

    but, he has almost no say or influence over the roster. he has no say over the coaching staff. as operator of an ahl team, his only influence is the off-ice stuff going on around the game.

    if I was in his position, i'd much rather have a major junior team. I would have total control over all hockey decisions (i.e. hiring a gm, coach, hockey staff, etc.), and would not be at the mercy of the decisions made by a parent club. a major junior team has its own draft, makes its own trades and transactions, and its only goal is to be a winner for the fans and the community.

    would there be as much money to be made? probably not, though in the case of danny Williams, he's such an adored figure in newfoundland, I think his team would sell out no matter what the brand or level of hockey.

    personally, I preferred the major junior brand for the reasons I mentioned. it was our own team, not servicing a parent team. but obviously I am in the minority of hockey fans in st. john's.

    interesting that major junior gets so much more tv coverage on a national level. the ahl really isn't on the radar.
     
  18. etr102

    etr102 Registered User

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    Agree with this 100%. The elite stars of the game typically jump directly from Junior to the NHL and never play a game in the AHL. Most legit first line guys typically would only play a half season to a season in the AHL tops.

    Most players that spend a significant amount of time in the AHL (or ECHL) end up being 3rd or 4th line guys at best if they even make it to the NHL.

    Very interesting. I guess some markets just work better than others. Victoria, BC had a failed ECHL team but their WHL team seems to be doing alright.

    Very good point. I'm a big fan of Baseball, but I can't help but feel bad for fans of say a AA team where your star player gets called up to the majors halfway through the year when your team is hot. This could happen in the AHL as well.

    This doesn't happen in Junior. In Junior, the worst thing that happens is an 18 year old that your team is expecting to have back ends up doing exceptionally well at his NHL training camp and ends up sticking in the NHL. (Like what happened with Cam Fowler a few years ago when the Windsor Spitfires expected him back).
     
  19. optimus2861

    optimus2861 Registered User

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    I've lived in both AHL cities and QMJHL cities. The latter is more entertaining hockey and you get the chance to see the elite talent before they are drafted. It was an incredible treat to have MacKinnon, Drouin, and Fucale all on the Mooseheads roster last season.

    AHL hockey is higher calibre but you rarely get to see those elite talents. Roster turnover can sometimes be even worse than in major junior and you're always at the mercy of the parent NHL club's requirements.

    I'll choose major junior over the AHL any day.
     
  20. Riptide

    Riptide Registered User Sponsor

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    The major junior teams seem to print money just fine. Go do an audit on the Hunter brothers on London.
     
  21. Riptide

    Riptide Registered User Sponsor

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    Rogers Sports Net here in Canada broad casts CHL games on a regular basis. I'm sure the CHL is getting something out of them.
     
  22. etr102

    etr102 Registered User

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    Yes, this surprises me as well. I'm also surprised that there isn't much local coverage for the AHL from the sounds of the posts in this thread. What about the newspapers? Does the AHL get much coverage in newspapers such as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal?

    In Canada, every city (and large town) has a local Community Cable channel. (ie TV Cogeco). I'm pretty sure that cable providers are forced by the CRTC to provide these channels because I can't imagine there's much profit to be made from them. Do channels such as these exist on American cable systems?

    Ironically, the OHL coverage is the single biggest reason I subscribe to Cogeco and would never consider switching to another carrier, so I guess in that regard, these channels do attract customers.
     
  23. Misneach

    Misneach Registered User

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    I believe the Calgary Hitmen generate a revenue of $10 mil. On the other hand, the Val d'Or Foreurs generate a revenue of $400,000.
     
  24. AdmiralsFan24

    AdmiralsFan24 Registered User

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    They get coverage for every game but their writer is only at home games.
     
    Last edited by moderator No Fun Shogun: Nov 6, 2013
  25. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Down here minor pro gets more play but that's because of the Ice Caps.
     

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