OT: Can Atlanta still be a good major league sports town?

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Big Mike, Aug 25, 2011.

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  1. Big Mike

    Big Mike Registered User

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    In light of the recent move of the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg, the debate over whether Atlanta is a bad sports town with regard to the major leagues appears to have shifted to the naysayers' favor in respect to ice hockey.

    Here's two articles with regard to Atlanta sports perceptions in general:
    http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2011/05/22/amid-thrashers-talk-we-ask-is-atlanta-a-lousy-sports-city/

    http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2011/01/21/atlantas-sad-sports-history-one-lousy-title-in-148-pro-seasons/

    Now here's a couple of articles about challenging the perception:
    http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2009/08/31/this-just-in-atlanta-ga-is-not-a-lousy-sports-city/

    http://public.shns.com/node/43259

    My question is this: is there anything that can be done to change the perception of Atlanta being a bad major league sports town? Or must it be accepted as fact that the perception is the reality and that there's nothing that can be done about it?

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2011
  2. KevFu

    KevFu Registered User

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    I think it's a better sports town than Miami.
     
  3. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    They are better than Miami, but no.

    People keep claiming that its hockey that was the problem...no.

    It's pro sports that's. All the other Atlanta teams have had attendance problem recently. It's not a hockey thing at all. That's just how it is outside Texas in the south.
     
  4. KevFu

    KevFu Registered User

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    Exactly. The Marlins had 357 fans in the ballpark at first pitch of a double-header earlier this week.

    ONLY football draws in the deep south.
     
  5. Duke749

    Duke749 Formerly "BigTuna49"

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    The economy doesn't help things either
     
  6. Dado

    Dado Guest

    I think the debate should be rephrased.

    Atlanta is a great sports town. Georgia is a great sports state. So what are the major leagues doing wrong that they have trouble gaining traction with so many sports fans?

    Personally, I feel that "southern markets" as a general rule place more value on player loyalty and locality than other regions of the country, which the mercenary nature of major league sports works quite strongly against.

    IMO, etc.
     
  7. krudmonk

    krudmonk Registered User

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    His retort (to himself) in support of Atlanta is all around college football, which makes Atlanta seem less cosmopolitan than it probably is. That won't change many minds in the eyes of people in other major metros, as Atlanta is unique in that regard.
     
  8. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    Perfect example.


    But my problem is the South Floridians will also say they have so many thing to do outside, well except for when its raining, or Hurricanes, etc.
     
  9. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    If it was hockey then Dallas would have failed and people would not be talking about Houston.

    It's a sports thing.
     
  10. No Fun Shogun

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

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    I mock Atlanta all the time, but they're fine. Not a great sports town, but better than others. The Falcons drew 95% attendance last year, and the Braves are a middle-of-the-pack team draw-wise, so that should be enough to satisfy questions about being a major league sports town.
     
  11. nhlfan79

    nhlfan79 Registered User

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    It really is quite simple. As for the pro teams, the Falcons draw well in the Arthur Blank era and virtually sell out every game. The Braves do well on weekends, but hurt on weeknights because of extreme workweek traffic and the fact that the stadium is not on a public transit line. The Hawks and ex-Thrashers draw/drew poorly because of widespread disgust for the indifferent current ownership.

    As for college, you can't find a major university football stadium within 250 miles of Atlanta that's not filled to capacity every fall Saturday.
     
  12. Butch 19

    Butch 19 Go cart Mozart

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    For whatever reasons, Atlanta has failed at hockey - twice. Is Atl a major league sports town? Yeah, I guess so, but I really don't care about the other sports and what they do - especially in one southern city...?

    The NHL should look at many other cities if/when teams need to relocate (assuming there is NO more expansion - ever. 30 teams is too many right now).

    Las Vegas would be a terrible choice for the NHL to look at, but they should look there before looking at Atl for a 3rd try.
     
  13. Atlanta can work, under the right circumstances.

    If the NHL wants to expand back to Atlanta it will have to take a long term approach.

    First, the franchise would need committed management and an already rich ownership which would not rely on the team for its financial well being.

    Second, it would have to arrive with a "Here I am, here I stay" attitude, without a gun to its head to make a profit in 5 years or perish, and without circling wolves waiting for it to weaken enough to relocate it.

    Long term successful franchises in the South didn't arrive on the scene overnight. They spent decades building up the product. Only a handful of people came out for a game between the Georgia football team and the Auburn team in the 1890's. By the 1940's Georgia was playing to a full stadium. For those not familiar, Georgia-Auburn has been THE rivalry since before WW2.
     
  14. ClassLessCoyote

    ClassLessCoyote Staying classy

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    There is no question that Atlanta is a bad sports town but places like Miami, Phoenix. It doesnt help when in such places its better to defend a the non hardcare fans and bash the hardcore ones.
     
  15. Confucius

    Confucius Registered User

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    Atlanta isn't a great sports town, it's not a terrible sports town either. It's somewhere between average and below average. If you win their fans are with you. If you lose, it's take a hike and call us when you're good again. A terrible sports town wouldn't support you even if you're good.
     
  16. William Satterwhite

    William Satterwhite Registered User

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    I'm sure this isn't unique to Atlanta but one big problem is that the actual city of Atlanta isn't really that populous as most of the market's population is spread out in the suburbs, when you couple this with the metro area's terrible transportation network, weekday sports (Braves, Hawks, late Thrashers) will always suffer in comparison to the Falcons who generally only play on Sunday. For various reasons the Atlanta metro area has long fought against a unified, comprehensive public transportation network that would make it easier to get from certain areas to certain other areas in a timely fashion. Honestly, I'd be shocked if Atlanta didn't have the worst transportation network of any major metropolitan area- fixing would go a long way towards fixing Atlanta's reputation as a "bad" sports town.
     
  17. headsigh

    headsigh leave at once!

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    It's a middle of the road sports town prone to swinging wildly. When the Thrashers were mildly successful they were mid-table in the league attendance wise. When they made the playoffs they were in the top half. When they stunk, well...

    Atlanta, and all of Georgia, is a football state. Just about everywhere in the south is. You have to realize that even at the height of their popularity the Hawks & Braves were distant seconds. It's not a bad thing, it's just the way it is. People think Atlanta's a bad sports town because they hold every team to the football standard and are surprised to see it simply doesn't work that way.

    The team for one lacked an identity. for many years, it was, "kovalchuk and heatley and who the **** else?" in their last season the thrashers started to embrace a new image, one dating back to the Atlanta Flames- lunchbox, blue-collar, gritty hockey. If it's hard hitting and hard working, people get behind that because they can relate (see: Nashville, Flyers, 96 Panthers) to that kind of play.

    PS: the talk about the transportation is 100% spot on.

    I think there will be a team back, and it will be a drastically different story than the Thrashers and Flames. However I don't think it will be in the immediate future unless ASG suddenly is revealed to be bankrupt and selling the arena lease/someone is building a new arena.
     
  18. Dave is a killer

    Dave is a killer Dave's a Mess

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    IMO, Atlanta is a great Football (College + Pro) town, that's all that needs to be said ... Braves playoff games not sold out is case & point
     
  19. BigT2002

    BigT2002 Registered User

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    Atlanta is a transplant city just like Phoenix. With the influx of jobs down there in the mid 90's, people moved there from other areas. Most are fans of their "homestate's" teams. Tie in that outside of the Braves, there really isn't a lot to talk about championship wise. Keep in mind, even Chicago wasn't drawing fans to the UC and games were blacked out there as well. It took new ownership to completely change it around and get it going to put more ***** in the seats. Same thing with Atlanta. It definitely has nothing to do with football pulling fans, if that were the case then from February-April they should have been selling it out like hotcakes. Football reigns supreme in the deep south (I lived in SC for 4 years), but it certainly isn't the reason. You can't even use the excuse of the African American market, because if that were the case then you would see Detroit suffering since D-town is the #1 for population percentage while Atlanta is 14th.

    Personally, Atlanta suffers from the same thing as cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul. People who make the $$ to attend these things have ubran sprawled (Minneapolis is only 300k people, yet Hennepin County is just shy of 2M and the same with St. Paul) outwards with their 5M people in Cobb County. I also was not impressed with the parking area around the arena when I went to a game down there a few years ago. It definitely didn't feel that safe to walk down at 1030pm when the game is over as compared with some of the other arenas I have gone to (which is a lot). Their pregame and ingame things seemed to be pretty subpar as well. There wasn't a whole lot to get you pumped up for the game or interested in it in general.

    But just like anything else, it all revolves around championship contender. They made the playoffs once in their history. Even the Wild couldn't draw 100% last year because fans are sick of the losing and not hitting post game. That goes for any sport, even the NFL.
     
  20. BigT2002

    BigT2002 Registered User

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    Werd. Is there even any transportation in the city lol. Loved visiting Atlanta all the time, but holy crap its hard to get around!
     
  21. knorthern knight

    knorthern knight Registered User

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    Atlanta hockey fans had the misfortune to run into 2 sets of hockey team owners who needed to raise quick cash, and sold their NHL team to do so. The fans didn't have a chance, especially with ASG.

    The NBA, and especially the NHL, also face the "Kansas City Stndrome". The Sprint Center in KC is doing just fine, thank you, without an NBA or NHL franchise. The NBA and NHL have high overhead; NBA salaries and NHL salaries and ice-making equipment. Unless a second major arena springs up, and you've suddenly got 45 free dates, plus playoffs, NHL and NBA may not make sense.
     
  22. Moo

    Moo Moooooooooooooooo!

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    IN DEFENSE of that Marlins game, that one was supposed to be on a Thursday, but was moved to Wednesday (I believe on Tuesday this move was made) due to the uncertainty of Irene. It was played as part of a classic back-to-back doubleheader. It can be hard to draw fans out sometimes when such changes are made.
     
  23. Melrose Munch

    Melrose Munch Registered User

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    This is important. Many arenas can make money with just concerts, etc. And they cost not as much.
     
  24. KevFu

    KevFu Registered User

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    I disagree COMPLETELY about Atlanta being a "failed" hockey market twice. Just because a team leaves doesn't mean it's a failure. What's the difference between Winnipeg, Minnesota, Quebec, Hartford and Atlanta? Teams relocate when the situation loses all three of the holy sports trinity (owner, venue, market economy). If there's no owner committed because of the other two, a team moves. That's not a failure, that's circumstance. The Islanders have a horrible arena and the market economy (including politics) is preventing them from getting a new one. But they still have a committed owner, so they're still there.

    Winnipeg now has an arena and a committed owner, and the new CBA and strong Canadian dollar fixed the market economy issue.

    Minnesota got the new arena, new owner and the economy they're fine.

    Atlanta had the arena, but the ownership didn't want them and that mean a new owner would have the economy/arena issue (paying to be a ASG tenant). Hence, they moved. I don't consider that a failure of hockey for a city. Hockey is too awesome to fail. When you assign blame, it should be to the decision makers, not something as broad and general as "the whole city/market"

    The main thing is that a city the size of Atlanta (or Dallas, Denver, New York, etc) is that there's enough people and corporate dollars that not having a completely full building isn't a huge deal, because when the bandwagon's full, it's huge.

    As loyal as the Jets fans are, there's a limited number of them. Their bandwagon in the good times isn't going to be much larger than their loyal fanbase in the downtimes.

    Which is why no one would say that the Braves or Falcons are in trouble, even if they're not drawing.

    We look down on them for not selling out Braves playoff games. Or being middle of the pack in attendance when their team has the second-best record in the NL right now. (But yeah, it's hot as hell in ATL in the summer, why drop the cash to go to the game, when you can buy a six-pack for the price of one stadium beer and watch in your air conditioned home in stunning HD?)

    Comparing football to other sports simply isn't an apples-to-apples comparison. There's eight home football games (college or pro). It's an EVENT. Hockey, basketball, or baseball are marathon seasons.

    Yes, this is true. doubleheaders don't draw well for anyone (maybe Boston). We'll see how many people are at the Marlins/Mets doubleheader at 1 pm in New York. With the Irene flooding, mass transit issues and the fact that the Mets are sucking. Then again, Josey comes back today, so we'll see.
     
  25. Killion

    Killion Registered User

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    del plz...
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013

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