Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Anschutz influence

The NHL's expansion plans were solidified when Anschutz's AEG entered into a partnership with Harrah's to build an arena on Harrah's property near the Las Vegas strip. The new building will be opened in 2010 and it appears that Las Vegas already has an owner in movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who has spoken with NHL officials about placing a team in Las Vegas.

Neither Kansas City nor Las Vegas is a big TV market. But if Anschutz wants teams in those markets, the odds are pretty good that his fellow NHL owners, along with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly, will see it his way.
This is a point that's been made several times now, but Evan Weiner's piece gives an excellent overview of just how much pull Phil Anschutz has in business circles, something that will make him awfully hard to ignore for the minnows at the helm of a number of other NHL franchises.

League politics dictated previous expansion plans, when markets like Tampa Bay and Ottawa received teams despite the fact other, more reasonable ownership bids were in the running. That's going to be the case again here, with the only caveat being that two current franchises could very well be set to relocate by 2010, meaning the NHL would suddenly need four new markets, two to be pulled from parts unknown.

Perhaps Anschutz needs to build a few more rinks.


At 2:57 p.m., August 30, 2007, Blogger PPP said...

Expansion to Las Vegas will be a great opportunity for the league to market itself.

There is nothing better for ratings and getting on ESPN than showing that NHLers can get arrested for doing stupid things just like athletes in the other major sports.

What's the Over/Under on the first game fixing scandal headed by Kerry Fraser?

At 3:36 p.m., August 30, 2007, Anonymous Frank said...

"The best laid plans of mice and men...". James, I couldn't agree with you more. Current NHL owners shouldn't start counting their expansion fee revenues "before they hatch".

Six to eight teams are on a "financial knife's edge" right now and a major recession in the US would quickly result in these teams being put up for sale and/or relocated.

Also, many of the NHL owners - who appear to be wealthy - are highly leveraged, and a 35% to 50% decline in the stock market, together with a major decline in real estate values, the collapse of hedge fund investments, and tightening credit conditions - which could see their loans and lines of credit being called in by their bankers - could result in their teams being put up for sale and/or relocated.

If the currrent "credit crisis" deepens into a full scale recession, the NHL and Garry Bettman's "day of financial reconing" may be just around the corner. Contraction rather than expansion will be on the Board of Governor's agenda - and that would be a good thing!

At 3:36 p.m., August 30, 2007, Blogger FAUXRUMORS said...

1) ....two to be pulled from parts unknown. HMMM, Nashville may be 'unknown to hockey fans, but it'll be one of the two teams 'relocated' when the time comes.
2) Vegas is the wrong place for a team for too many reasons to list. Which of course means the powers that be will have it at the top of their list!

At 5:52 p.m., August 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great news! Another two teams in marginal markets in an irrelevant league in terms of the US.
Perfection, Bettman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any chance that this Kings owner will do the honourable thing and be put in prison like Bruce McNall?
I'm sure people heading to Vegas in the winter from northern climes will really want to go watch a hockey game.
Also KC?
Come on.
Their baseball team has been irrelevant for how long?
HOw is putting a crappy expansion team into a crappy market going to benefit me the hockey fan.
How about this.
The teams that contributed to welfare don't have to lose any players in the expansion draft while the parasites can lose up to four roster players each.
That's fair.
Otherwise the little midget can go screw himself and his bald idiot sidekick Daly.

At 8:16 p.m., August 30, 2007, Blogger Ebscer said...

Why can't they just move Phenoix to Las Vegas? would anyone here really be that upset if arizona lost a team?

At 8:34 p.m., August 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phoenix just built a brand new arena.
They aren't going anywhere for the time being.

At 10:05 p.m., August 30, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We saw how well the league worked - cough - when the Norris family essentially owned or pwned the Wings, Hawks and Rangers. Glad to see the NHL has learned from this.

At 6:01 a.m., August 31, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This isn't a case of need, but a case of greed and Bettman is holding hockey fans for ransom.

At 1:27 p.m., August 31, 2007, Blogger Hossim said...

Some more points;

-AEG was a part of a bid that was selected to purchase Hartford Civic Center in March of this year. Someone, somewhere, will start a website to bring back the Whale.

-I don't mean to be an ageist, but Mr. Anschutz is almost 70 years young. And I don't want to tell Mr Evan Weiner how to do his job, but he might have tried to profile Tim Leiweke (President and CEO of AEG) as well/instead. Leweike (before becoming president of the Los Angeles Kings) was a part of the Denver Nuggets organization and played a role in not only bringing the Nordiques to Denver but the development and design of the Pepsi Center as well.

I believe Mr. Leweike also sits on the NHL expansion committee.

At 1:36 p.m., August 31, 2007, Blogger Hossim said...

ps. "A group led by (Jerry) Bruckheimer, an avid hockey fan, is the front-runner for the Las Vegas expansion and has been in talks with NHL officials for months, sources said. Additionally, Bruckheimer has had discussions with AEG officials about that group potentially building and/or operating an NHL arena in Las Vegas. AEG President & CEO Tim Leiweke would not comment on that, but said in a statement, "Jerry is like a brother. I will be there to support him anywhere he wants to go."

sorry for the double post. Here is the article I got that quote from.


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