Viability of a Europe expansion

Discussion in 'Polls - (hockey-related only)' started by Tommigun, Nov 8, 2018.

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Would you like it? Is it viable at some point?

  1. Like it, viable

  2. Like it, not viable

  3. Don’t like it, viable

  4. Don't like it, not viable

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  1. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    Hi.

    https://thehockeywriters.com/the-real-nhl-expansion-markets-are-in-europe/ depicts one possible scenario of how an expansion of the NHL could take place to the old continent.

    What do you think is the viability of this happening at some point? Is it something you’d support or be against? Is it possible it could happen in my lifetime?

    Please read the article before commenting/voting.

    TLDR:
    Main takeaways from it: A flight from say New York to Helsinki is just 2 hours longer than from northern Canada to Miami.

    The teams would play all the European teams on their road trip. It wouldn’t be that much different than a long road trip currently.

    NA teams visiting Europe: weekend game, late local time=12PM:ish NA time. Europe vs Europe=weekdays, whenever.

    Also, the interest for the NHL is sky high in Europe and would open up a tremendous new market.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  2. ACC1224

    ACC1224 Steelers 6-2-1 @ Jacksonville

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    Don't like it and the PA won't like it....not viable
     
  3. Machinehead

    Machinehead Ferrari Crew

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    Not happening.
     
  4. Afterburner

    Afterburner Jet Fuel Sponsor

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    Never gonna happen
     
  5. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    Don't like it, and not viable. The travel burden is just way too much of an ask. Plus, as a fan of Manchester United, I know the burden of trying to watch a game. It'd be terrible for the Leafs to have to play multiple games that are at like 2:30 EST for companies like Rogers and TSN who have their rights. The issues are magnified even more for teams like Van and Edmonton. At best, the only way I could see it working is 2 separate leagues that meet up for the Stanley Cup, like the World Series did before inter-league play.

    The other logistical question is, is how can this even be done with the IIHF? Euro teams own elite players rights from a young age through academies. Something that doesn't exist in NA. How do we implement a draft? And, as a Leafs fan who constantly hears the complaints about tax-advantage, Swedish tax makes Canada look like Texas.
     
  6. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    The article postulated playing the European home games vs NA teams on European weekend evenings, which would be a late evening start for the NA viewers.

    I watch a lot of live NHL games in those time slots personally.
     
  7. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    I don't think you can only do games on Weekends to play a viable schedule. And, I would assume evening games in places like Sweden and Finland would be about 1:30 or 12:30 starts. It just doesn't seem viable with way too many hurdles. Pretty much every major European city that is desirable has soccer/football teams that play mid-day on Saturday, how many of those fans will you be able to draw against those, because I doubt many people want to go to a big European football match and then spend more and go to a hockey game right after. The NHL isn't going to Europe to be in markets the size or Helsinki or Stockholm. The only markets significantly smaller than those two cities is Winnipeg. It is to be in London, Paris, Munich, Turin, etc if they ever do it.

    Plus, I also think European sports fans would lose their mind at the price of North American sporting events.
     
  8. BB88

    BB88 Registered User

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    The time difference would kill it, just too much.
     
    BruinsFan37 likes this.
  9. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    You misunderstand me. The European teams would play each other on the week days, but NA teams on weekends.

    The Helsinki market is 5 million people (the entire country), not the 1M of the capital region. I think you are severely underestimating the markets.

    2.5% of all traffic to NHL.com comes from Finland, and a lot of Finns wear NHL gear already. Imagine how much merchandise a local team would move, and how watched the games would be. The two global series games sold out in five minutes (heck I spent 2000$ on tickets for those two games). So it’s not a “Helsinki” market, it’s a Finland market. It’s the same for the other countries as well.

    Competition from other sports is a non-issue, Germany is the only one with any competiton but it has tens of millions of inhabitants to carry it. Even if no new hockey fans were to be converted the NHL would instantly take precedence over any national hockey leagues in interest in all expansion countries.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  10. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    You think you can rely on a national market for 41 games a year? I don't believe that is a viable strategy for professional sports teams. And, while you may have been willing to do it for 2 games that are a one-off, how many people are willing to fork over the required amount for season tickets which are the lifeblood of professional sports teams in the NHL model. How many corporate boxes to local industries will they be able to sell to at equivalent prices to North America for 41 games a year?

    It simply makes no sense for the NHL to expand their model to enter markets like Helsinki and Stockholm. There simply isn't enough money to be made. Its Quebec City with worse travel, who even with an NHL level arena is ignored and priced out. This deal does nothing for NHL tv revenue in the States, which is their long-term goal. Rogers who pay the league the most amount of money out of any entity, has no interest in the Leafs having to play mid-day Saturday games in Europe. Look at what they do to Vancouver and Edmonton when the Leafs are there (I'll tell you, in Van they start at 4 on Saturdays, and in Edmonton at 5 on Saturdays).

    Lets ask this. Who is Helsinki is going to come up with the 650 million to pay the expansion fee? That doesn't sound like a reasonable investment, and the NHL isn't going to allow the collective club ownership that exists across most European sporting clubs.

    I get your a fan with a dream of it happening. But, there are so many roadblocks that it doesn't make any viable sense.
     
  11. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    Of course the wider national markets would not be buying a lot of seats. In Helsinki’s case the local 1M capital region would sell those out for years to come anyway, which would be the case for all of the proposed locations.

    Support is the last thing to worry about.

    The entire country would definitely make the national team “their” team and watch the games on TV and buy merchandise religiously. NHL merch sells like crazy in Europe already anyway.
     
  12. BB88

    BB88 Registered User

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    There's a 7 hour time difference between Finland and New York, Winnipeg is 8, 10 hour difference to California.
    So you go from max 3 hour time difference to 10.

    You can't just ignore that when thinking something like this.
     
  13. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    The NHL needs attendance. 1m would be the second smallest market in the league behind Winnipeg, who only got a team because they lucked into having a pro-ready stadium and Atlanta failed at the right time. It does nothing for a major national TV deal. The Finnish team may get a good deal in Finland, but considering how the NHL has treated Quebec City, they don't care too much about that.

    Do you really think Helsinki will easily sell tickets at NHL prices for 41 games a year that is so out of line with historic European ticket prices. Finland also doesn't have an NHL ready arena. Hartwell Arena is not an NHL viable arena. It seats 13,000 people roughly. That would be the smallest arena in the NHL. So, I fail to see how we are going to get an Owner in Finland who is willing to fork over the 650m expansion fee, and then pay to build a new NHL ready Arena. Just checking Jokeret tickets are 49.50 euro for great lowerbowl seats, that would be among the lowest in the NHL. Tickets would need to be sold at Winnipeg prices for this to be a success (about 150 euros per seat). Plus, that only gets you, one team. Are you really going to tell me a city like Prague has a wealthy enough population where the average salary is about 28k CAD a year can afford? You need at least 8 teams to make it viable. And, I'm not sure there is even one viable market.

    Your point about merchandise also doesn't really matter. Its what I learned about when Manchester United buy a player from a certain nation, all it does is change distribution, not overall sales. For example, more people just buy that players jersey, instead of another player, it doesn't dramatically alter overall sales. So, a new team in Finland will just siphon NHL merchandise from other franchises doing well there. It may add more sales, but not significantly so if they are already buying a bunch of apperal.
     
  14. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    I’m not trying to ignore anything, I’m just going with the suggestions in the article - to play intra-European games on weekdays, and when a NA team is visiting a European team that game would take place in a weekend evening Europe time. As an example an 8PM start in Helsinki would be a 1PM start in New York.

    I’m just borrowing possible solutions from the article that I don’t think anyone read.
     
  15. 93LEAFS

    93LEAFS Registered User

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    I've read the article it doesn't present a viable buisness case. It almost entirely relies on anecdotal evidence. Not to be expected, he's a hockey writer, not someone with a history in buisness.

    Here are legitimate questions.

    1: Of the 4 franchises he suggests moving, two are Florida and Arizona, both of whom the NHL has no interest in moving because of the impact it will have on their national footprint. The only cities they would move these teams to are Houston or Atlanta. How is the NHL going to ask for more in its next national deal, when they have written off 4 of Americas biggest city. Bettman's commissionership is built around the idea of getting a big national TV deal in the states. Not having an NHL team in America's 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th biggest markets is a massive dent to that (or if you want to use combined statistical area, America's 9th, 10th and 11th, Phoenix doesn't have this measurement) .

    2: Who in Europe is going to pay these 650m expansion fees or buy the team at this cost? That appears to be the set price for a current NHL franchise.

    3: The only one of these cities that have a viable 18,000 arena is Prague, which has other significant issues. How are these places going to fund NHL level arenas. That brings the cost of a team being there to over a billion dollars

    4: How will NA seat ticket prices sell in a region which historically finds NA sports ticket prices absurd. I fail to see how a place with the average yearly salary of Prague can be pushing NHL season tickets. The fact he would even entertain the idea of putting a team in Minsk makes his concept out of touch.

    5: He lists playing games in American prime time, which is 8 to 10 in the Eastern region in the Americas. So, how are we going to play games at 3am Finnish time to accomplish this? Isn't this a massive burden to selling tickets.


    The article simply ignores the realities of pro-sports.They may explore making these accomidations if they can break into areas with populations like London or Paris. They don't do it for small markets.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    Tommigun and 613Leafer like this.
  16. 613Leafer

    613Leafer Registered User

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    So a NA team would fly to Europe just to play for one weekend? Wouldn't it make more sense, both financially and for the players who actually have to sit on the planes, to go to Europe like once a season and play all the teams there at once over like two weeks? In which case you'd have to have weekday NA vs Euro games.

    I just don't see it is very viable. The capital costs to get it going (expansion fees, building arenas, etc) would be huge. Billions of dollars to set up a whole division over there. And then for a division over there with that cost of travel to be profitable, they'd have to be in the upper tier for revenue in the NHL. I'm not convinced European teams are going to sellout ~18-20,000 person stadiums at an average cost of ~$150 per ticket or whatever the average is for the upper tier revenue teams.
     
  17. solidmotion

    solidmotion Registered User

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    well i mean with the khl expanding into finland how else are we gonna keep the reds at bay??
     
  18. Tommigun

    Tommigun Registered User

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    Thanks! These are exactly the kind of hurdles I was interested in.
     
  19. BB88

    BB88 Registered User

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    It's a nightmare in reality, if you listen to the players some of them say it takes about a week to get adjusted.
     
  20. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    Option 4 for me, time difference and travel being the biggest thing for me.
     
  21. elmaco

    elmaco Registered User

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    Not viable, better option would be NHL opening a travel agency offering bundles to Europeans to see some NHL games.
     
  22. Kamiccolo

    Kamiccolo Proud Leafs and Hurricanes fan

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    There are still so many NA markets left is my issue. Quebec city is ready to go, Seattle will get theirs, but how many massive US cities could have a team? Houston is being looked into I know, i'm sure there are more there. Expansion only happens so often so if this does happen, I assume it's at least 5 decades away.

    Hopefully by then there is a better travel method.
     
  23. DominicBoltsFan

    DominicBoltsFan Advanced stats are good!

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    Like it, not viable
     
  24. Karl Eriksson

    Karl Eriksson Boring!

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    Terrible idea, but if they could replace the World Cup with periodic champions league format with NHL, KHL, SEL, Swiss National league, etc. without making it a runaway for the NHL that would be interesting.
     
  25. lwvs84

    lwvs84 Registered User

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    In theory it would be a great idea, but in practice it won't work. I would like to see a Champions League style tournament, though. Each league sends a team, but since the NHL is the highest league, every other league sends an all-star team. This likely won't happen either, but it might be a little more plausible than adding a division in Europe.
     

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