The Feasibility of an RHI Rebirth

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by QuadDeuces, Jun 8, 2007.

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  1. QuadDeuces

    QuadDeuces Registered User

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    There was a thread about this on another board on which I post, and I thought it would make for an interesting discussion here. Before you point to the obvious failure of the RHI, read the rest of the thread and then pass judgment.

    There is currently a PIHA (Professional Inline Hockey Association) but it's a small league. I think it would get a lot more people into the sport in general, because when you ask an average American about hockey, what's the first thing that comes out of their mouths/into their minds? "Fighting, violence, brutal, low-scoring, etc..."

    Roller hockey (I play myself) is less physical, but still a very exciting game. The game is very fast, and higher scoring (Another aspect that should get more of the Average Joe interested). If the league allows for the same checking contact as the NHL, it would be a fantastic draw.

    It would certainly take time, but roller hockey would bring hockey to areas of the country where it's not in the culture, without the risk of expanding an NHL or AHL franchise there. Look at California (one of the 3 biggest hotbeds of roller hockey in the US, with Long Island, and St. Louis being the others)

    The quality of the league would steadily improve, as there are more and more feeder leagues, such as NARCH, TORHS, and the college leagues. This is definitely a sport on the rise. Finally, it would hold over the NHL diehards over the summer with some interesting, albeit different, hockey action.

    The major point is, I think it's time to give pro roller hockey another shot, but go about it slightly differently. The game has grown tremendously since the RHI folded.

    - Minor league arenas. For God's sakes, don't try to fill an NHL arena for a roller hockey game. The cost of the use of the arena, the floor modifications, etc, will NOT pay off. Lets face it, a league for a niche sport that would be just getting off the ground will not sell out a 16,000+ seat arena. However, with proper marketing, I could definitely see 5,000-8,000 spectators filling out an AHL/ECHL arena.

    - Cheap tickets. The ticket prices should be no more than an NLL game, and the less the better. For this you need an owner who is willing to not make a substantial profit while the league starts out. This would allow families to come out and see a hockey game for a reasonable price.

    - Market the game's speed, high scoring, and physicality, but keep fighting out (never has been in roller hockey), for the reason mentioned in the beginning (American's associations with hockey).

    - Get the game on Versus/ESPN2. It would be a great start for a niche league. In the summer Versus doesn't have an awful lot to show, so they'd take a cheap or revenue-sharing deal. Get it on the local networks as well.

    - Put teams in established roller hockey areas (Long Island, St. Louis, California), and add in a few other areas that would be able to sustain it (Chicago, Southern Florida, etc...). Teams there would do reasonably well and more owners would become interested in bringing in other teams. NHL hotbeds would be able to support a team just based on the diehards alone looking for a hockey fix in the summer.

    - Perhaps get a high profile name in extreme sports or sports broadcasting to endorse the league. Would appeal to a broader base of people.

    Please keep wiseass comments to a minimum.

    Edited to add: Don't misinterpret this as a thought that a pro roller hockey league could become a major pro sports league in the US. I could, however, definitely see it existing on the same plane or slightly above (once fully grown) as Arena Football, a niche sport with a small diehard following, and a well-run league.

    Discuss.

    -- George.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  2. Chileiceman

    Chileiceman Registered User

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    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007
  3. Irish Blues

    Irish Blues Present once again

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    Current defending champions of RHI: St. Louis Vipers. :yo:

    If anyone is interested in stats on RHI: http://rhistats.tripod.com/ - seems to be a relatively solid site. It's interesting to note that Anaheim, St. Louis, New Jersey, and Buffalo were regularly among the league's best teams in attendance, and Anaheim led the league in average attendance every year except the last one when San Jose was #1 (Anaheim was #2).
     
  4. How about a ball hockey/dek hockey league.

    Lose the skates.
    Lose the gobs of equipment.

    Everyone can run.
    Anybody can play ball hockey. There's nothign elitist about it.

    It's the kind of sport that you can watch and then go play in the street or the driveway or the park.
     
  5. krudmonk

    krudmonk Registered User

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    Didn't lower quality hockey fail back when the NHL was popular? Why would it work now? We're staring at the apocalypse, talking about expansion and extra leagues...
     
  6. xDerekRx

    xDerekRx Registered User

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    I play a ton of roller hockey and its a great sport. I live in Buffalo btw.

    The PIHA has the best chance of growing the sport. I have followed the league for a year or so. The problem with them is that have only Northeast teams and one division for teams in and around Colorado where Ice hockey is more relevant. They need teams in Anaheim, Florida etc. So the PIHA might never work because its not targeting the right areas perhaps?

    Buffalo gets a team next year in the PIHA, return of the old Buffalo Wings!

    Along with NCAA hockey in the South, Roller hockey becoming a faily well known sport would grow the game greatly. Its a sport that would appeal to the southern crowd and anyhwere not cold so right there you have more of an appeal that ice. If Roller hockey became popular before ice hockey did, hockey as a sport would be much bigger world wide probably because of the the places that could play. South American is big, Italy I hear pays players top dollar to play, heck in Africa, Aussie, China might get into it. Asians are known for spunk and energy. Would be a great sport for them.
     
  7. Victory Ali*

    Victory Ali* Guest

    Ah yes... the league that exposed the world to Steve Chelios (Brother of Chris Chelios as mentioned about a 100 times every telecast on ESPN 2)
     
  8. bladoww

    bladoww Team of the Future

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    A few buddies of mine play in the PIHA for Richmond and they say it's a blast. The games are pretty intense too. Not a whole lot of older guys play due to the way the league works. I'm pretty sure they don't get paid, but costs are covered in terms of travel and whatnot (I could be wrong here). So not a whole lot of older guys play for obvious reasons, no pay and time away from home/family.

    I could see it catching on with the right marketing and right management. The RHI just went for the gold to quick. It didn't really get grandfathered in as a small league. The RHI went straight for the big-time NHL sized arenas when they should've started in much smaller venues. I know here in Richmond the Renegades and former Riverdogs that played here had to pay the Coliseum anywhere from 2500-3000 bucks per game. Here we average from 2000-4000 fans a game, so I don't see the PIHA attracting THAT many fans, but clearly, a 20,000 seat NHL arena would be overkill for a game like the PIHA or RHI for that matter. The smaller 5000-8000 seats would be ok. But I think you hit the nail on the head... has to be WELL RUN.
     
  9. Stevedude530

    Stevedude530 Registered User

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    Yeah, not like VERSUS airs a bicycle race most of the day for one entire month, they've got plenty of holes in that schedule.

    Anywho, I would love to see RHI come back. I went to a Rock 'N' Rollers game when I was a kid and I loved it. I think I still have the team hat. I wouldn't be surprised if NJ led in attendance because roller hockey was a big thing when I was a kid, it was really growing.
     
  10. fan mao rong

    fan mao rong Registered User

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    I read the 1st post and skipped over the rest, so I don't intend to debate the fine points of this junk. Here's the deal. I, for one, have no interest in a sport grinding away 365 days a year with some phonied up simile of the top stuff.

    Same goes for the National Football League and NFL Europe, and that crappola Arena Football League. You can always find a few clowns on football websites who say "we need a better alternative to NFL Europe, bring it to the states, put it in small cities down south that don't have an NFL team, pay them more money, give a better product" etc. Just go away.

    Hey Sports Leagues! Here's a novel concept, you get a maximum 9 months to get your deal done. Then wrap up, take your off-season , and get out of my face.
     
  11. Chileiceman

    Chileiceman Registered User

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    No one would force you to watch it.
     
  12. Shootmaster_44

    Shootmaster_44 Registered User

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    Looking at the PIHA's website, it looks like they're doing things right. They've started small and appear to be slowly expanding. The problem with the RHI was that went national too quickly. Sadly, minor league sports cannot begin with a national league. The first step is to establish a core group of teams in an area and expand to a larger area when that initial core is financially strong enough.

    That said, I did enjoy the RHI when I was able to see games on TV and the lone Edmonton Sled Dogs game that was moved to Saskatoon. I remember that it had some high profile owners such as Mark Messier with the Tampa team. But seems to me the niche wore off quite quickly and very few teams lasted in the same market. I'd be interested in seeing a pro roller hockey league start. If not a pro roller hockey league, a pro hockey league in the summer. Either one if marketed correctly and placed in the appropriate markets would work.
     
  13. nyrmetros

    nyrmetros Registered User

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    The NHL should just have a roller hockey division. make things much easier. The New York Rangers ice hockey club and roller hockey club.
     
  14. fan mao rong

    fan mao rong Registered User

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    Yeah, you're right. Nobody would force me to watch alot of the other stuff on TV, either, but there it is clogging my dial anyhow. Often when something to watch is wanted, many times of the year, all there is is Basketball, NASCAR, and Human Relationships crap. So even though I pay for 250 channels, often times, when I want to watch some TV, I can get stuck with re-runs of Forensic Files, Cold Case Files, City Confidential, like that. Even if this Roller thing doesn't make it on TV, which is highly likely, something might be heard about it or it will tie up space on some website, it will be found annoying.
     
  15. Chileiceman

    Chileiceman Registered User

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    Newsflash!!! There might be some people that DO want to watch Basketball, NASCAR and Human Relationships crap (whatever that is).
    Just like I would like to be able to watch hockey year round
     
  16. Muttley*

    Muttley* Guest

    lol, I remember them well. NYR tough guy Nick Fotiu was the NJ coach and NHL'er Daniel Berthiaume was the goale for the 1st season. They even lured Manon Rheaume to play backup as a publicity stunt. If you don't remember, she became the first female goalie in the NHL by playing one period of a preseason game for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Her brother Pascal played for the Devils btw. Tickets were cheap, something like $7.
     
  17. EbencoyE

    EbencoyE Registered User

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    Roller Hockey is passed its prime. It was a helpful fad to get more people into ice hockey but now all the roller guys have realized that ice is the superior sport and roller hockey is all but dead except for in a few areas.

    With ice hockey now struggling as much as it is, there's really no point in having the RHI come back. The RHI, and pro beach hockey for that matter, just played off the NHL's success and growing interest. Now would be the worst time for a comeback.
     
  18. Butch 19

    Butch 19 Go cart Mozart

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    I'm mad that I even opened this thread to see what RHI is.

    Who cares? I'm a hockey fan and I went to one RH game years ago - meh - no big deal.

    RH is fun to play, but not paying $$ to watch others play.
     

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