Monday, March 12, 2007

Desert Dogs seeing red

Unbelievably, NHL hockey's not flourishing in Phoenix, despite the fact all of the hallmarks of a stable franchise are in place:
  • A southern market, with no homegrown taste for the game
  • A terrible team that has won absolutely nothing since arriving in Arizona 11 years ago
  • A fourth-consecutive playoff miss, and only one playoff appearance since 1999-2000
  • An inept front office that seems guaranteed to ensure the on-ice product's awfulness
The Coyotes' record the past three years is 87-113-18-11, which explains what you need to know. And, not surprisingly, that's translating to low attendance and high operating losses for Wayne Gretzky and friends.

Here's a piece from the Arizona Republic last week:
CEO Jeff Shumway said Friday that the hockey franchise is expected to hemorrhage about $30 million this year, compounding severe financial losses the team has suffered in recent years.

... Facing mounting losses, [team owner Jerry] Moyes, who founded Swift Transportation Co., could turn to additional investors or sell the team altogether if he is unable to right the ship over the long term, Shumway said. Forbes.com has estimated the team's value at $143 million.

But it's unlikely Moyes would uproot the team and relocate it to another market. That would trigger "substantial" early-termination penalties that were outlined in an agreement between Glendale and the team.
The team with the 24th-ranked attendance in the league, an average of 14,724 fans per game, isn't going anywhere — on the map or in the standings.

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18 Comments:

At 12:48 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

one has to wonder what on earth they were thinking when they moved this team from winnipeg to phoenix.

 
At 1:11 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Sig said...

One can't help but wonder about a team that signs Jovo to $6.4 mill through 2010-2011.

 
At 1:46 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

But it's unlikely Moyes would uproot the team and relocate it to another market. That would trigger "substantial" early-termination penalties that were outlined in an agreement between Glendale and the team.

They certainly won't move before declaring bankruptcy so they can free themselves from debt and committments such as the above. It worked for Ottawa and Buffalo. The Sabres and Senators had enough fan support that they didn't have to move but there is no reason why Phoenix couldn't once they bankrupcy themselves out of such early termination clauses.

I am sure other franchises (Florida? Atlanta? Nashville?) are in similar financial situations.

one has to wonder what on earth they were thinking when they moved this team from winnipeg to phoenix.

Bettman's dreams of a lucrative U.S. TV contract.

 
At 1:47 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger BlackCapricorn said...

The Desert Dogs are just the dogs at this point. Is it a lack of a fan base in any sense, an organization that has been hell-bent on appeasing Gretz regardless of what that has wrought or the fact that this team, its relocation and everything associated with it has been mismanaged from the very beginning?

Its a little from column A, from B and C! Certainly they were behind the 8ball by moving to AZ with very few people interested in hockey and the first 7 or so years of terrible signings did them no favors. And Gretz has been a failure as a coach/pseudo-GM (applying the same philosophy of cronism to Team Canada as Phx). Just a mess all the way around.

 
At 2:28 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good thing Bettman shuffled them out of Winnipeg.
Looks Good On Ya, Commish!!

 
At 3:09 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous Chris DeGroat said...

Bettman's dreams of a lucrative U.S. TV contract.

Someone who has a website named hockeyanalysis.com should at least have knowledge of what powers the commissioner has. Bettman can't force a team to move... which I can't believe I'm having to explain to someone.

 
At 3:20 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Yet he was able to scare Balsillie away with his refusal to allow the Penguins to move?

It's a good thing no one saw this failure coming or there would be a lot of egg on a lot of faces...oh wait...

 
At 3:37 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Remis said...

As said in a famous Simpsons episode.

"Thats it! Back to Winnipeg!!!"

 
At 3:39 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Someone who has a website named hockeyanalysis.com should at least have knowledge of what powers the commissioner has. Bettman can't force a team to move... which I can't believe I'm having to explain to someone.

No, of course not and I can't believe you thought I implied that. That said, if Bettman really wanted them to stay in Winnipeg (like he wants the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh) he could have worked a lot harder to get them to stay. The league does have to approve all franchise relocations. But no, Bettman and the owners had a plan: expand and relocate to the south in hopes of a big payday down the road in the form of a big U.S. TV contract. That was their plan. They had no plans for Quebec City and Winnipeg and certainly weren't going to put up much of a fight to keep the teams there. Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa, etc. That is where the (financial) future of the NHL was to be.

 
At 3:49 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Rick said...

I agree that they never should have moved to Phoenix, and that there really should be double the number of Canadian teams (rare, I think for an American), but Phoenix is not a "southern" market.

Arizona is culturally and geographically not part of the old South.

What it was up until a point, was, like Florida, a huge retirement home. Florida, at least, has tons of Northeasterners. Don't think there are so many in AZ. I think it's mostly Midwesterners.

 
At 4:07 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And can you believe that they doubled the ticket prices for games where the Coyotes play the Red Wings at home???!! Apparently, they were not happy that there were way more Red Wings fans than Coyote fans, and thought this would help deter the Wings fans. Hah, you'd think they'd just be happy having any fans show up for a game! what a terribly run organization...

hockey in warm states is the biggest joke.

Fire Bettman!!!!
http://www.fireBettman.com

 
At 4:54 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I expect many things on this blog, but for someone to debate whether Phoenix is in the south... let's just say I'm speechless.

 
At 4:56 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Apparently, they were not happy that there were way more Red Wings fans than Coyote fans, and thought this would help deter the Wings fans.

If that's true, the motivation was probably more to bring some more income when they knew the area was going to be packed.

 
At 5:59 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kansas City anyone?

 
At 6:33 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger NeuroJoe said...

I expect many things on this blog, but for someone to debate whether Phoenix is in the south... let's just say I'm speechless.

I think Rick's point was that much of the Yotes fan base is not originally from the South, meaning that they are more likely to have been exposed to hockey growing up in the Midwest (or wherever they originally came from).

 
At 9:22 PM, March 12, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

I think Rick's point was that much of the Yotes fan base is not originally from the South, meaning that they are more likely to have been exposed to hockey growing up in the Midwest (or wherever they originally came from).

The problem, or at least one of them, is that Arizona is no longer a giant retirement community. At this point, most of those moving to the state are coming north, not south.

 
At 11:50 PM, March 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hello, Pedant's Anonymous? There's a guy named 'Rick' on Mirtle's site who insists on distinguishing 'south' and 'South.' Can you please invite him to one of your meetings and remind him that here in Canada, nobody give's a rat's a** about U.S. regions, and anything south of St. Louis is pretty much south to us, whether or not that city's state flew Old Glory in the War to Keep Slaves.
Sincerely,
Somewhere Between the Northwest and the Panhandle.

 
At 10:32 AM, March 13, 2007, Anonymous Chris DeGroat said...

No, of course not and I can't believe you thought I implied that. That said, if Bettman really wanted them to stay in Winnipeg (like he wants the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh) he could have worked a lot harder to get them to stay. The league does have to approve all franchise relocations. But no, Bettman and the owners had a plan: expand and relocate to the south in hopes of a big payday down the road in the form of a big U.S. TV contract. That was their plan. They had no plans for Quebec City and Winnipeg and certainly weren't going to put up much of a fight to keep the teams there. Phoenix, Nashville, Dallas, Atlanta, Florida, Tampa, etc. That is where the (financial) future of the NHL was to be.

First of all, its absolutely absurd to assume that Bettman actually had a plan to RELOCATE teams to the south. Besides the fact that it never looks good for a league when teams have to move, Bettman had no control over where teams got moved in the event that an owner wanted to move a team.

Secondly, why should have Bettman worked harder to save Winnipeg? They were not capable of supporting their team with their arena and the market size simply wasn't large enough for them to survive. If there is any beef that Winnipeg fans have it's that Bettman didn't get a cap in the 94 work stoppage that could have helped save them.

And finally... Bettman had nothing to do with expanding to Florida or Tampa. The only southern markets he is at all responsible for are Nashville and Atlanta. Again, someone who runs a site named hockeyanalysis.com should know this.

 

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