Friday, March 03, 2006

Tough to be a Blackhawks fan

They're becoming a scarce breed, the Blackhawks fan. Why, in the first home game back from the Olympic break, Chicago's United Centre had an announced attendance of just 9,333 — the smallest ever crowd numbers for a team known for low attendance.

In the standings, Chicago is fourth-last. In attendance, they're third from the bottom. Now, the reasons have been much-reported, but you just have to wonder: Where does it end?

(Aside from fans with bags on their heads, of course.)

It's a testament to how big a hockey town Chicago actually is that people care this much.


At 4:00 p.m., March 03, 2006, Anonymous Ben said...

It can't be good that the Wolves get more support than the Blackhawks.

At 4:22 p.m., March 03, 2006, Anonymous Karina said...

Reading the article about how well reported it is...
Man, I'm glad I'm not a blackhawks fan.

At 4:22 p.m., March 03, 2006, Anonymous David Johnson said...

The Blackhawks can only blame themselves for their attendance problems. They don't broadcast home games on television and many of their road games are only found on pay cable channels. This has severely limited their exposure to potential new fans and I think it has cost them severely. All the sports franchises that are coming out with their own cable channels (i.e. Leafs with LeafsTV but the NY Yankees and other teams are doing this as well) should be very cautious about following down the Blackhawks path. It may sound great in the short term to collect a bunch of subscription fees but in the long run it might cost you fans.

At 4:56 p.m., March 03, 2006, Blogger PJ Swenson said...

What do the bags say?

At 5:00 p.m., March 03, 2006, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Most of the teams setting up their own TV channels aren't cannabilizing fans from free TV, but rather from cable TV channels that are owned by someone else. The migration of games to cable is a decade in the past, and I don't expect this new development to have much effect on the fanbase.

The Blackhawks are, however, like every other perpetually crummy sports team: the responsibility starts and ends with ownership. Bill Wertz is in the group with David Glass, Bill Bidwell and Donald Sterling that have led me to oppose all revenue sharing plans actually in existence. Those plans help to produce a disconnect between putting a winning team on the field and making money.

The financial structures of a sport must be such that those two remain connected. If it is possible to make money while still fielding a bad team year after year, then the system is broken. The system needs to be resturctured so that, if the team is always bad, the owner loses money and is forced out of business. Perpetuating bad ownership is wrong.

Preferably, the owner would go out of business by selling the team to someone who is going to make a go of making them winners, but sometimes it will have to be through bankruptcy. For some reason, the fact that it has been forever since a team was actually liquidated in bankruptcy (as opposed to the Chapter 11 process the Penguins keep going through) is seen as a good thing. I disagree; it is a sign that there is a lot of rot that is allowed to fester. Anyone who has read Joseph Schumpeter can tell you that a healthy industry requires ruthlessly purging the inefficient operators.

At 5:18 p.m., March 03, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The bags say Yawney, Pulford and Tallon — as in Trent, Bob and Dale.

At 1:22 a.m., March 05, 2006, Blogger Chris said...

Even funnier than the bags, look at the rest of the folks. Half of them look like they're going to puke. Won't they get a surprise when they reach for the bags and find holes in them!

At 1:51 p.m., March 20, 2006, Anonymous Ian Rada said...

Bill Wirtz is an idiot. The reason the attendance is so bad is because of the TV problem. How are you going to draw new fans when you can't follow the team. The lockout could have been huge for the Hawks. After a year, many fans would have forgotten Wirtz's stubbornness about putting home games on TV. He could have promoted the "New NHL" by doing so. Now the Hawks are never going to be on because Wirtz will not admit that his theory is wrong about the TV situation. Sure I wish that we had a good team, but I wish I could at least follow my bad team. Show some games


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