Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Night's Games

8 Games last night...
  1. Washington @ Buffalo - 18,690 (Sellout) - Caps win 4-2. Buffalo gets its 12th sellout of the season, while Buffalo falls short of a third period comeback.
  2. Atlanta @ Toronto - 19,260 (Sellout) - Leafs win 4-3 in OT. Leafs continue the sellout streak and are actually only 3 points out of a playoff spot.
  3. Boston @ Pittsburgh - 17,132 (Sellout) - Bruins win 5-2. Pens with their 7th sellout of the season, but cannot stop the still-hot Bruins.
  4. Montreal @ Tampa Bay - 20,454 (Sellout) - Habs win 2-1 in a SO. Wow, the Bolts record their 2nd sellout of the season, as Habs fans all across Flordia ventured out to the Panthers game the other night and to the Bolts game last night.
  5. Chicago @ Detroit - 20,066 (Sellout) - Wings win 4-0. Wings get the 10th sellout of the year at the Joe in a Winter Classic Preview.
  6. New Jersey @ St. Louis - 19,150 (Sellout) - Devils win 4-3. Blues cant hold on to their lead as they record their 15th sellout of the season.
  7. Philadelphia @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Flyers win 3-2. Another sellout, wheres Sundin!?!?
  8. Ottawa @ Edmonton - 16,839 (Sellout) - Sens win 3-2. Sens with an impressive bounceback on the last edge of their roadtrip.
Update tommorow as I'm out.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last Night's Games

Six games last night...
  1. Montreal @ Florida - 20,741 (Sellout) - Habs win 5-2. Wow, the Panthers get their first sellout of the season and it was a big one. After a quick search of Getty Images, it looks as though the place was actually sold out, but I'm sure the Habs fans outnumbered the Panthers.
  2. Minnesota @ Calgary - 19,289 (Sellout) - Flames win 2-1. Another night in Canada, another sellout.
  3. Islanders @ Rangers - 18,200 (Sellout) - Rangers win 5-4. Most likely close to a true shutout, the Rangers finally get a regulation win in a while.
  4. Nashville @ Colorado - 15,643 - Avs win 5-1. Apparently, Avalanche Family Night wasn't much of a draw last night.
  5. San Jose @ Dallas - 18,532 (Sellout) - Sharks win 3-1. The Stars get their 6th sellout of the year.
  6. Columbus @ Los Angeles - 18,118 (Sellout) - Jackets win 2-0. LA gets their 4th sellout of the season and also lead the league with 24 home games thus far. Wow.
Update, 4:15 PM:

Last Nights Average: 18,420 - Wow... great stuff for a Monday night.

Sellouts: 5 out of 6 - can't ask for much more, eh?

I think that might be all for today, unfortunetly. Check back tomorrow if I get bored tonight, though.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Playing Below Capacity: New Jersey Devils

Alright, I've been promising to start looking at the 9 teams playing below 85%, so I'll start with the New Jersey Devils. Who, actually, are now playing at 85.7 %. But anyways, I'll try to take a stab at what the Devils problem is*.

*Warning: Please remember that I'm a young college kid who really doesn't know what he's talking about. Any "problems" that I suggest the Devils have are my opinion and are most likely not that accurate. Also, any information I used can easily be found on the Internet as I am a typical lazy college kid. With that said, enjoy.

So after sitting here for about 30 minutes, here are the ideas I came up with that could be problems with getting people to go to Devils game on a regular basis...
  • Arena Location/Age
  • High Ticket Prices/Poor Promotional Events
  • City Population
  • Financial Issues in Newark, NJ (location of Arena)
  • On Ice Product
  • Location/History of Franchise
So before we dive in, lets get some things straight about the New Jersey Devils (all information taken from their wikipedia page, click here).
  • The Devils were formerly the Kansas City Scouts and the Colorado Rockies before moving to New Jersey in 1982.
  • The Devils have made the playoffs in 18 of their last 20 seasons, including each of their last 11, winning the Stanley Cup in 1995, 2000, and 2003.
  • The Devils played at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, from 1982 until 2007, when they moved to their current location, the Prudential Center, which opened for the 2007-2008 NHL Season. The Devils are the main tenant at "The Rock"
  • The Prudential Center Capacity for Ice Hockey is said to be 17,625. (Wikipedia)
With all that said, lets do this.

- First up: Arena Location/Age:

Being a brand new facility and only a year of use under its belt, clearly the Prudential Center's age isn't an issue. More importantly, is the arena's location. Since moving to Newark and the Prudential Center, the franchise has enjoyed an average spectators per-game boost the last two years of nearly 1,000 fans (sorted by home average). Many franchises would love to have an arena of this caliber, so I don't think this is the problem.

- High Ticket Prices/Poor Promotional Events

According to, the Devils average ticket price is down 15.7 % this year to $57.15 from $64.17 in 2007-2008. Their average Premium ticket price is down as well, from $124.00 in 07-08 to $104.92 this season. OK, that's a good start, but there is always a but...

The problem is that the average ticket price has been rising for years, up to $49.66 this season, which is up 5.1% from $48.72 in 07/08. Along with this, the average Premium ticket price is up to $113.44 this season from $112.10 in 07/08. So, as you can tell, the Devils are about 10$ above the average ticket price, but are below the average premium ticket price? To me, this somewhat indicates that the Devils might be ignoring their casual fans, which would not be a good thing for a franchise that struggles to fill its building. ranks its NHL list by what the call the Fan Cost Index. It's basically the cost of a group of four people to go to a single game for each particular team. The FCI:
comprises the prices of four (4) average-price tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular-size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least-expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
This year, the Devils rank 5th highest in FCI, which means the group of four drops around $339.60 at a single game. That means each person in the group, if split evenly, spends around $85. Would you be willing to drop almost $100 dollars a weekend? For most, probably not. The only positive thing about this is that the Devils FCI is down 10.7 % from 07/08 when it was at $365.67.

So basically, after all is said and done about tickets, the Devils have above-average ticket prices. For the casual fan looking to go to a Devil's game, I would venture to say that they would go to a game once, maybe twice a year. This is all without promotional events and deals, though.

The Devils seem to have a promotional event two to four times per month, but many of the events repeat themselves. Events like College Night and 1 $ Hot Dogs can only be attracting so many fans (although if I was in a major city with college night, I'd be there). The Devils also offer their own Holiday Pack, where they discount certain seats at about $55 per ticket. It doesn't seem like NJ is doing anything special here.

- City Population

According to, Newark, NJ, has a population of 281,402 as of March 10th, 2008. This puts Newark at number 26 on the city population list for NHL cities. But as Ottawa Sports Guy shows us, the New York Metro area is first in the league in terms of population with 18.7 Million, which equals 6.2 million per team (As of October '06).

Newark to me is just large enough to support a franchise. I put the bar at Buffalo, who is right behind the Devils at 27. And obviously, as the Ottawa Sports Guy pointed out, Newark is within the New York Metro area, and has enough people to reach out too.

- Financial Issues of Newark

Obviously, everyone these days can say they are hurting due to the general economy. But according to a graph on wikipedia as of 2003 on the Newark, NJ page, 25 % of all families are below the poverty level. Along with this, the median income for a family was 30,781 in 2003. This is well below the average income of hockey fans, which stands at 88,000 according to Forbes.

- On Ice Product

With three cups in the past decade, all NHL teams would kill for that kind of success lately. Although their style of play has been criticized by many, even to the point of "killing the game," you cannot deny their cup victories. Long story short, I don't think Devils fans are not very upset for winning games and cups.

- Location/History of Franchise

Unless I'm missing something, New Jersey isn't much of a hockey state. There are roots of high school hockey and junior hockey, but nothing too impressive in the likes of New York or Minnesota.

Although I think New Jersey could do more, it seems as though they have found a home with over 15 years of tenancy. A brand new arena doesn't hurt either.


The New Jersey Devils are far from trouble, it seems. According to Forbes, they are the 10th most valuable team in the league, and have an operating income of 1.9 Million. Although they also have some major debt, their new arena will eat a lot of that up very soon.

So what can the Devils do? Well I think their marketing team just needs a makeover. They need to attract more fans from across the Hudson however they can. They also need to reach out to the rest of their state. How to do this? I'm not exactly sure. A start would be to look at their above-average ticket prices. The Devils aren't going anywhere, that's for sure. All we can hope for is that they keep growing as a franchise.

So there is one of the nine teams playing below 85% capacity. I will look it over and see what I can improve on for next time. Thanks for reading and please comment.

Sunday's Games...

6 Games on Sunday...
  1. Toronto @ Washington - 18,277 (Sellout) - Caps win 4-1. Caps get their 6th sellout of the season along with the win.
  2. Nashville @ Edmonton - 16,839 (Sellout) - Oilers win 5-2. Edmonton has played the least amount of home games this season thus far, with only 10; all sellouts mind you.
  3. Ottawa @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Nucks win 3-0. 17th sellout of the season, a solid 3-0 win. Watching this one there were a couple more empty seats than usual, though.
  4. Boston @ Atlanta - 16,835 - Bruins win 2-1. Three games in row over 16K at Phillips arena? Really? Their promotion page says it was a Phillips blanket giveaway, but I can't see that being a huge pull. Maybe it was Boston, I'm not sure.
  5. Anaheim @ St. Louis - 19,150 (Sellout) - Ducks win 4-3. The Blues keep packin 'em in with their 14th sellout of the season, I gotta make time for this team ASAP.
  6. Chicago @ Minnesota - 18,568 (Sellout) - Hawks win 4-1. Another sellout in the State of Hockey, Chicago gets their 9th win in a row.
LNA: 18,050 - Great average for a Sunday

Sellouts: 5 out of 6. That's what every night should be shooting for.

That's it for now, check bay way later or tomorrow as I start traveling for hockey in about 30 minutes.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"Soldout" or "Sellout" ?

Before I began looking at those magical 9 teams that are playing below 85 % capacity, I wanted to get something straight (and actually, NJ is now at 85.7 % - I'll still be looking at them though).

Obviously, all of the attendance figures I use are essentially the number of tickets paid for on that night. Because as I showed you with some pictures from Phoenix, there is no way some of the reported amounts from the lower-end teams are true. But, at the same time, I do believe some teams are much more truthful in their reporting of attendances than others. So I went through team by team and put them into one of three groups; Liars, truth, and the ones I cant quite put my finger on (not sure). So here's the list:

  • Atlanta
  • Florida
  • New Jersey
  • New York Rangers
  • New York Islanders
  • Phoenix
  • Tampa Bay
To me, Atlanta, Florida, New Jersey, NYI, Phoenix, and Tampa are all in the same boat. They report the paid attendance plus any tickets they literally gave away. Although I could easily put the Rangers in the truth section on some nights, the 100 level seats are never filled during the regular season with the exception of opening and closing night, along with any retirement ceremonies.

Telling the "Truth" (two at a time to save post length)
  • Boston - Buffalo
  • Calgary - Chicago
  • Colorado - Detroit
  • Edmonton - Los Angeles
  • Minnesota - Montreal
  • Nashville - Ottawa
  • Philadelphia - Pittsburgh
  • San Jose - St. Louis
  • Toronto - Vancouver
  • Washington
To start, any Canadian team on here may actually have the exact number of people in their stadium for each game. Every night they all sell out or come damn near it, and every time I look I can only find one, two, or three empty seats here and there. Its awesome. The close calls on this list include Los Angeles, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, and Washington. I think they are all pretty truthful and from the game photographs along with watching the games on Center Ice they seem to have the amount of people they report each night. Who else does that leave? Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Detroit, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Jose. These teams always draw well and show it, but when they don't sell out they actually report it. Boston and Buffalo stick out in my mind, because they are always within a couple of hundred or so but they don't seem to round it up.

Hard to tell
  • Anaheim
  • Carolina
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
On some nights when these teams report big crowds, they actually do look like big crowds from what I can tell. But when they have a Tuesday night game and they report 80% capacity, sometimes it doesn't look that way.

Either way, why did I do this? Well, its really irrelevant because if the New York Rangers have every seat sold, then more power to them! That means the marketing and sales group members are doing their job by getting the tickets sold. I mean there are advantages to lying about a sellout, I guess. An example would be to keep an historic sellout streak or to attract sponsors. But when MSG announces "another sellout" when there are blatantly hundreds of seats open in the 100 sections, what does that say about the organization?

I don't know, none of this really matters when it comes down to it because its all about just getting the tickets sold. Either way, I wanted to get this straight because of the 9 teams I mentioned before (NJ, PHO, LA, NASH, NYI, CAR, FLA, ATL, CLB), only 3 seem to be telling the truth (LA, NASH, and CAR).

Finally, this weeks statistics...

Average Crowd per game this week: 17,659. Nice.

Total Sellouts this week: 24 out of 41 total games. 59% - Great work.

We will see how big the Holiday bump ends up being after next week.

That's all for tonight, I'm on the road until tommorow afternoon, I'll wrap up tonight's stuff tommorow night.

The Last Saturday of the Year...

Last Night's Results:
  1. Montreal @ Pittsburgh - 17,132 (Sellout) - Habs win 3-2. The Pens get their 6th sellout of the season, and it look pretty levit on the tube.
  2. Ottawa @ Calgary - 19,289 (Sellout) - Flames win 6-3. Another game, another sellout.
  3. NYI @ Buffalo - 18,690 (Sellout) - Sabres win 4-3 in a SO. 11th Sellout of the season in Buffalo.
  4. Boston @ Carolina - 16,705 - Bruins win 4-2. The Canes break 16K for the 2nd time in 3 games but only the 4th time all season.
  5. Philadelphia @ Columbus - 18,402 (Sellout) - Jackets win 3-0. FIRST BLUE JACKET SELLOUT OF THE SEASON!!! WOO!!! So whats up? Well I first looked at the game photos, and the sellout looked pretty legit. I think what got more fans than usual to this game was last nights particular promotion. This consisted of the 2009 Blue Jackets Yearbook giveaway to the first 15,000 into the building, along with the Saturday all-you-can-eat package. Still, good for the Jackets.
  6. New Jersey @ NYR - 18,200 (Sellout) - Devils win 4-2. On the HNIC Pre-game show preview for this tilt, they reported that last night was the Rangers 135th consecutive sellout. I will be looking into this league-wide.
  7. Florida @ Tampa Bay - 18,226 - Bolts win 6-4. Good figures for the home and home this weekend between the Florida Neighbors. Tampa Bay breaks 18K for only the third time this season. Anything special last night? Yep, the first 10,000 gets a Steven Stamkos mini bobble head!
  8. Anaheim @ Dallas - 18,532 - Stars win 4-3 in OT. Stars get their 5th sellout of the season.
  9. San Jose @ St. Louis - 19,150 (Sellout) - Blues win 3-2 in a SO. The Blues get their 13th sellout of the season and are rewarded with a great game and win.
  10. Detroit @ Colorado - 18,007 (Sellout) - Avs win 4-3 in a SO. The great old rivalry is still alive as the Avs get the win and their 6th sellout.
  11. Los Angeles @ Phoenix - 16,199 - Kings win 4-0. I highly doubt there were that many people at Arena.
LNA: 18,048 - Great average for Saturday.
Sellouts: 6 out of 11 - 54% - Not great but at least its over 50.

A little bit more later...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Friday's Games...

9 games last night, here they are:
  1. Pittsburgh @ New Jersey - 16,921 - Pens win 1-0. Two back to back games over 16K at the rock? What is going on ?! I checked the promotional page for NJ, and nothing was there for last night. Must be a Holiday bump then.
  2. Toronto @ NYI - 15,173 - Isles win 4-1. Hockey With a Heart with the American Red Cross was at the Colliseum last night, but other than that the Islanders also enjoyed a holiday bump in attendance as well.
  3. Buffalo @ Washington - 18,277 (Sellout) - Caps win 3-2. Caps get their 5th sellout of the season, while Ovechkin nets his 3rd game-winner.
  4. Carolina @ Atlanta - 16,012 - Canes win 5-4. Back to back crowds over 16K in Atlanta, thank you Santa.
  5. Tampa Bay @ Florida - 16,961 - Bolts win 4-3 in a SO. Florida has seen over 16K in 3 of their last 4 games.
  6. Detroit @ Nashville - 17,113 (Sellout) - Preds win 3-2. A huge night in Nashville as the Preds topple their division leaders in front of an apparent packed crowd.
  7. Philadelphia @ Chicago - 22,712 (Sellout) - Hawks win 5-1. Wow, almost 23,000 for a regular season hockey game in Chicago. Talk about Packed.
  8. Edmonton @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Oilers win 3-2. Another night in Canuck land, another sellout.
  9. Phoenix @ Los Angeles - 18,118 (Sellout) - Coyotes win 2-1. LA gets their 3rd sellout of the season, but cannot tame the Coyotes.
LNA: 17,769 - Another good night especially with some of the markets hosting games. Over the 17,500 for a weekend night.

Sellouts: 5 out of 9 - 55% - Close, but no cigar for the 60% weekend bar.

A little busy for now, might be more later, but I'm not sure.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Honda Ad's

Honda has created a pair of :15 and :30 second TV Ads promoting the NHL and hockey, the :30 second one will be aired at the Winter Classic, according to Karl Greenburg at MediaPost News.

Honda's take:
"We shot in Winnipeg, featuring real kids who play hockey, shown in their real houses with their real parents. The spots feature the Pilot, Ridgeline and Odyssey and lets NHL fans know that Honda truly understands the game of hockey," said Joe Baratelli, SVP, creative director at RPA, in a release. "We set out to capture the commitment of the parents and the harsh conditions families endure all over North America to communicate Honda's reliability and trustworthiness."
Right. So what did they come up with? Well after some poking around on YouTube, I'm 99.9% sure this is the one that will be aired at the Classic. I must say, they did a very good job. I remember when I was a little tyke doing the exact same stuff. And hopefully, I'll be able to do the same for my son or daughter and bitch about it the whole way. Good job, Honda.

That's all for today, come on back tomorrow.

And I'm Back...

Hope everyone had a nice Christmas. Mine was a good one, with a walk home from the bar last night at 2 AM.

So here are the stats from Tuesday's games...
  1. Ottawa @ Philadelphia - 19,578 (Sellout) - Flyers win 6-4. The Flyers get their 8th sellout and are 7-1-2 in their last 10.
  2. Dallas @ Toronto - 19,269 (Sellout) - Stars win 8-2. Nothing like saying, have a happy holidays, fans! by getting embarrassed like that.
  3. Anaheim @ Calgary - 19,289 (Sellout) - Flames win 4-3. Another sellout in Calgary, along with a great game as well.
  4. Vancouver @ San Jose - 17,496 (Sellout) - Sharks win 5-0. A perfect holiday sendoff for Sharks fans.
  5. Boston @ New Jersey - 16,305 - Bruins win 2-0. A much needed bump in attendance as the last two games at the rock didnt climb over 15K.
  6. Los Angeles @ Columbus - 15,145 - Kings win 3-0. Only the 4th game this year for the Blue Jackets to play infront of a crowd over 15K.
  7. Atlanta @ NYI - 14,227 - Thrashers win 4-2. All I have to say is, support The Lighthouse project.
  8. Washington @ NYR - 18,200 (Sellout) - Caps win 5-4 in OT. This may have been an actual sellout, as the 100's were packed Tuesday in MSG. As for the game, ugh...
  9. St. Louis @ Detroit - 20,066 (Sellout) - Wings win 4-1. Wings get their first sellout in 5 games, and put on a good show.
  10. Tampa Bay @ Pittsburgh - 17,064 (Sellout) - Bolts win 2-0. The Pens get their 5th sellout of the season and then let 2 easy points walk.
  11. Nashville @ Florida - 14,703 - Panthers win 3-0. Ugh, things were going so well! 3 out of their last 4 with over 16K ! So much for that...
  12. Carolina @ Minnesota - 18,568 (Sellout) - Wild win 3-2. Another sellout in The State of Hockey.
  13. Phoenix @ Colorado - 14,625 - Avs win 5-4 in OT. Apparently Avs fans are more fair-weathered than I thought.
Tuesday's Average: 17,272 - Great Average considering some of the teams hosting games. Not to mention its over the 17K bar.

Total Sellouts: 8 out of 13. Happy Holidays, NHL! Good stuff, over the 50% bar clearly.

Finally for now, The 2010 Olympic Hockey Schedule via Puck the Media. Along with some analysis, as well:
  • Right off the bat, no one can be too happy about the Gold Medal Game airing at 10PM. Is NBC going to let the closing ceremony telecast get buried past midnight for a hockey game? Or is it going to get dumped off on cable? More than likely, unless Team USA makes a run, the latter.
  • That said, NBC has plenty of opportunity to give hockey it’s spot in the limelight. The first two Team USA games are in primetime on the east coast, and will likely eat up a lot of airtime in the typically figure skating-lite first week of the Olympics.
  • As far as the scheduling format goes, it’s a whole lot better than the confusing, overlapping schedule at Torino in 2006. There’s only over-lap in the knockout phases of the tourney, and just barely. The games are spread out to the point where puckheads can get a break, but not get too bored waiting.
  • From a money/personnel perspective, NBC can now do hockey on the fairly cheap in Vancouver, having used about 523 different announcer in Italy. They’ll likely need two teams, one will almost definitely be Emrick/Olczyk, as Pierre McGuire can only work exclusively for CTV in Canada during the games. Who does that second team comprise of? Will it be Al Michaels, returning to olympic hockey? Can John Davidson get a breather from working in St. Louis to call games? Where does Bill Clement fit in, considering he still does olympic work for NBC? Who works the women’s games? It leaves a lot of open questions, particularly
  • I’m not going to post it, but on the women’s side, Team USA will likely not get the same chance to shine for the ladies that the men do. Most of their games are at 10PM and at the smaller, UBC arena.
Good stuff, I agree with all that they mention.

More later...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Consol Energy Center News and A look at Crowd Capacity

Sports Business Daily and The Confluence are reporting that the Pittsburgh Penguins will not sell Personal Seat Licences, something most fans are against, at the new Consol Energy Arena.

A solid move, as it keeps prices down for season ticket holders, keeping the fans all the more content. Only Colombus and Toronto currently sell PSLs in the NHL.

Moving on...

Here is a snap shot of the 8 teams playing in front of less than 85% full crowds this season (ESPN):

The darkest shaded column is when I ranked it by capacity %. From left to right the categories are; Rank, Team, Number of Home Games, Total spectators, Average Spectators, and Capacity %.

Over the next week I will begin to take a look at each and one of these teams. These are the teams that are having problems attracting and keeping fans. They need to change something or some of them will be in danger of moving out of town within 5 to 10 years. Of the 8, I can tell you right now that New Jersey and Los Angeles are probably the safest of them all, followed by Carolina. Why? Well they have all won a cup or two at one point, and to me in this day and age that's going to be hard to take away from them.

That's all for tonight, check back tomorrow.

Update 6:45 PM: The NHL scroll bar on SportsCenter actually served a purpose for me today...

Scott Burnside reports that the NHL is trying to find new revenue for a financially suffering Coyotes hockey club:
The NHL hasn't taken over control of the Phoenix Coyotes, but it is taking an active role in trying to find new investors or ownership for the financially strapped franchise and is being kept apprised of any "significant" financial decisions the team makes, has learned from team and league sources.
Burnside reports that the club is expected to lose another 30 Million Dollars, or more, this season. This comes already on top of being out 60 Million over the past two years. Wow. This is not good. And to top it all off, the main obstacle if the team is sold is going to be the lease with Arena.
In short, Moyes wants out, a number of sources told At the very least, he is in desperate need of an influx of capital to help in the continued operation of the team.

Multiple sources told the biggest hurdle is the current lease with Glendale.

The 30-year lease that accompanied significant municipal support in the building of Arena (the municipality put up $180 million of the $220 million price tag) has a number of problem areas as it relates to the franchise's ability to generate revenues.

Take parking. The Coyotes, unlike most teams in the NHL, receive nothing from parking fees at the arena. Instead, they actually pay a surcharge of $2.70 per vehicle. That means instead of generating upwards of $10 million in revenue, they pay more than $2 million.

No cost for parking? Really? I never even knew that. And to top this all off, this nice little tidbit of information. Looks like some of the players this year won't be getting back their 13.5% of their escrow salary money...
No one knows for certain if the Coyotes can finish out the season under the current financial climate, and at some point the specter of bankruptcy looms large.

Sources say the team hasn't come close to failing to meet the payroll, but if that situation were to present itself, the NHL would move swiftly to take over operations.

The fact the league is significantly involved now suggests it is in a position to step in quickly to provide what might be described as "bridge" funding of the team's operational costs and maintain the integrity of the franchise.

Yikes. That would look very bush league. But, the night is darkest before dawn, and there is a glimmer of hope in the fact that the Coyotes are playing decent hockey, and are in a playoff spot. If they manage to get hot and get a couple of rounds into the playoffs, the bottom line will not be so bad.
First, ticket sales have increased about 77,000 from a year ago, team officials said. Television ratings have improved dramatically and if the team continues its strong play and can make the playoffs and take advantage of a few home dates (they were in seventh place in the Western Conference as of Tuesday), the bottom line will be significantly improved.
The NHL plans on also using the fact that the Coyotes received 15 million in revenue sharing last season to lure in new owners. Yay, free cash for rich men! And finally, the NHL seems set on keeping the team in the Desert. Gretzky assured the league he isn't going anywhere within the ownership. So for now, this team is staying in Glendale. Sorry, Jim Balsillie.
The Coyotes are one of the biggest benefactors of the NHL's revenue-sharing program as well, and last year received $15 million, something that should also be attractive to potential investors.

The NHL has approached head coach Wayne Gretzky about the potential changes to the ownership group and he has assured league officials he isn't going anywhere (he told the same thing last week). That's not insignificant when it comes to luring deep pockets to the desert.

Again, wow. I'll sleep on this tonight and try to get more in depth tomorrow. For now, soak it in.

Last Nights Events and Phoenix Photos

4 Games last night...
  1. Toronto @ Atlanta - 16,413 - Leafs win 6-2. This is the first time Atlanta has broke 16K in 9 games, and only the 3rd time all year (2nd if you don't include opening night). I checked the Thrashers Promotional Page, and didn't find anything special for last night besides All-you-can-eat seats. I guess the Thrashers can thank Toronto for bringing a crowd. All of this after a day of Thrasher bashing, too.
  2. Phoenix @ Edmonton - 16,839 (Sellout) - Oilers win 4-2. Another night in Edmonton, another sellout.
  3. Anaheim @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Canucks win 4-3. Another boring sellout.
  4. Pittsburgh @ Buffalo - 18,690 (Sellout) - Pens win 4-3 in OT. Buffalo back to a sellout, as they have been a little inconsistent of late, only selling out 4 of their last 10. They have yet to drop below 18K once this season, though.
LNA: 17,643 - Well above the 17K line for a weeknight. Good stuff.

Sellouts: 3 out of 4. Easy to do when there is only 4 games, but still, yee haw. It will be interesting to see the average and sellouts for tonight's games, as there are I think about 10-12 of them.

Moving on...

These photos below are from Novemember 1st in Phoenix against the Minnesota Wild. The reported attendance? 14,817...

Now I'm not sure who took these pictures, so for citing purposes I saw them first here on HF Boards. Now obviously, this isn't really big news. We all know that the struggling teams, and even some that aren't struggling (my New York Rangers, for example), are just announcing the paid attendance. But my god, this has to look awful on tv, therefore discouraging sponsorship opportunities. You could even bring in the fact that the concession stands must be losing money.

Right now, the Phoenix Coyotes should be the NHL's top priority to fix.

More later...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Finish off the year full in Phoenix...

To put more people in the seats at Arena, the Coyotes are offering something some people can't deny, a great deal on food.
The All-You-Can-Eat Pack – that will regularly be available at all Saturday Coyotes home games – includes an upper-level game ticket and unlimited hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, peanuts and fountain sodas for only $25.
Along with every Saturday game, this offer also stands for the Yotes New Years Eve tilt at 6 PM against the LA Kings. Here are the rest of the deals planned:
Family Pack
The Family Pack is available for all Friday, Saturday and Sunday Coyotes home games. Family Packs include four game tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas starting at only $79.

XTRA Value Thursday Pack
The XTRA Value Thursday Pack is available at all Thursday Coyotes home games. XTRA Value Thursday Packs include a game ticket, hamburger and bottled beer or soda starting at just $30.

Student, Teacher and Military Rush
The Student, Teacher and Military Rush discount offer is available for all Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Coyotes home games. Specially-priced lower-level tickets in select areas will cost just $20 and upper-level tickets will be available for $10. Tickets must be purchased at the Arena Box Office beginning at 6 p.m. the day of the game and each must be accompanied by a valid school or military ID at the time of purchase.

Howliday Pack / 4-Game Pick ‘Em Plan
The Howliday Pack offers fans the opportunity to purchase any four regular season games for the price of three. Howliday Packs are available through Dec. 31 and will be replaced at that time by a 4-Game Pick ‘Em Plan. Both packages start at only $45.
All great deals. I will be keeping an eye on attendance at Arena for sure.

That's all for today.

McDonald's, the Economy, and the NHL

Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal reports that McDonald's has extended its NHL Sponsorship to all 30 of the NHL teams.
The NHL has added McDonald’s to its roster of corporate sponsors with U.S. rights. The pre-eminent quick-service restaurant has signed a deal through the 2009-10 season. McDonald’s has been a Canadian sponsor of the league since 1993 and has local rights deals with 15 NHL teams, including one in its final stages with the Chicago Blackhawks.
A big catalyst for this has been the Winter Classic, as Lefton also reports that sponsorship sales for the 2009 Classic are up 40 % from last years inagural matchup. Lefton lets us in on some details that McDonald's gets out of the deal here:
Under the deal, McDonald’s gets ads on and the NHL Network and makes advertising commitments to NHL rights holders NBC and Versus. The deal also includes USA Hockey rights, which fit nicely with McDonald’s TOP Olympic deal. NHL Players’ Association rights for the U.S. were not included.

At the upcoming Winter Classic outdoor game, McDonald’s gets exclusive branding behind the player benches and penalty boxes in the NBC telecast. At the NHL All-Star Game, the QSR will sponsor the accuracy competition within the Honda-titled skills competition.

This is a big step in the right direction for the NHL. Lefton also says that the NHL has been trying to get its big Canadian partners to extend their rights to the U.S, as McDonald's did here. Maybe they are the first of many in a series of dominoes.

Moving on...

Also out of the Sports Business Journal today, Tripp Mickle shows how the NHL is defying the current Economic conditions:
The NHL projects a 2 percent increase in league revenue for the 2008-09 season despite facing one of the worst economic crises to hit North America since the league contracted from 10 to six franchises around the time of the Great Depression

League officials shared the projection with owners and team executives at a board of governors meeting in Florida Dec. 8-9. According to attendees, league revenue will increase 6 percent in aggregate, but because of the decline in the Canadian dollar the league will realize only a 2 percent increase in total revenue.

The projected 6 percent increase is down slightly from the 7 percent increase league officials told the board to expect before the start of the season. After accounting for the Canadian dollar’s decline, league revenue is projected to rise to $2.65 billion during the 2008-09 season from $2.6 billion in 2007-08.

Wow. Great stuff. Lets hope it holds. The effect of all this? Well the Salary Cap will remain about the same, Deputy Commisionner Bill Daly said that he "doesn’t expect the salary cap to increase or decrease by more than $1 million or $2 million, adding, 'I don’t think the cap will change much if at all.' - Awesome.

One more thing to come out of the Board of Govenors meeting, as they authorized the NHL to begin exploring "strategic sourcing"...
At the same meeting, the board of governors authorized the league to begin exploring “strategic sourcing” by finding preferred service providers like hotels or charter plane companies that will offer discounted prices to all 30 of the NHL clubs. The system would work similar to an HMO, allowing teams to save money by using companies from which the league gets preferred rates.
A solid day for the NHL. Let's hope for sellouts all around.

More later.

Last Nights Games and Mirtle on Atlanta

4 Games last night...
  1. Carolina @ Montreal - 21,273 (Sellout) - Canes win 3-2 in OT. Another night in Montreal, another sellout. I'm sure the Habs faithful aren't happy with the result.
  2. Philadelphia @ New Jersey - 14,426 - Devils win 3-2 in a SO. Right around the average for the Devils as they stop Philly's hot streak.
  3. Colorado @ Florida - 16,132 - Panthers win 3-0. The Cats have something going, with 3 of their last 4 with a "crowd" over 16K. I say "crowd" because when I took a look at the BankAtlantic Center last night on Center Ice, the 100's were populated, to put it nicely, sparingly.
  4. Boston @ St. Louis - 19,150 (Sellout) - Boston wins 6-3. I've really gotta look into this St. Louis club. Last place in the west and they are reporting sellouts? I took a look at the game last night and while there might not be exactly 19,150 in the building, it had to be close.
LNA: 17,745 - Solid average for a Sunday night.

Sellouts: 2 out of 4. I'll take it.

Moving on...

James Mirtle of From The Rink has a great piece on how Atlanta is killing their fanbase with a poor on-ice product and their constant discounting of tickets.

My summary would be that the constant fire-sale that GM Don Waddell holds every year is clearly holding the team back because he is not getting fair deals. Also, the constant discounting of ticket prices are discouraging season ticket holders from re-newing. Why re-new when they can get the tickets at half or better the price than they pay?

My take? Well a day after I make a small case that the Panthers are going to possibly need to be moved, this comes out. I agree 100% with the article. Carolina enjoyed great success when they won the cup in 2006, but that's the problem with some of these southern markets. They will not enjoy constant success unless they are constantly winning. Fans in Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Quebec City would easily pack the arena night in night out to see their NHL team play.

More later...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Week's Stats and the Battle of Florida

The Average Spectators for each game this week? 17,296. OK, about 200 below the 17,500 mark that would be considered a success. Along with this, out of 44 games this week, only 17 sold out. Not that bad, but below the 50 and 65% marks I think the NHL should be shooting for.

In an earlier post using the graphs to determine the most stable division, the Northeast came out on top. It came down between the Northeast and Northwest, and I gave a slight edge to the Northeast because of Bostons attendance slowly calming down and rising at the same time. Well what happened this week in beantown? Two sellouts when the Leafs visited on Thursday and the Canes visited on Saturday. Maybe I do have a knack for this stuff.

Moving on... to the Battle of the Sunrise State, Tampa Bay v. Florida. Lets have a look (click graph to get full view):

If I had to describe this graph with one word, it would be volatile. I bring you this graph for a couple of reasons. First of all, I was never a fan of southern expansion to begin with. One or two teams would have been OK, but Hockey and the term "Southeast" don't mix well to me. I refer to such division as the Redneck Hockey division. But back to the graph...

Neither team has a very solid fanbase to begin with. The graph fluctuates so much because:
  1. Attendance heavily depends on what night the game is scheduled for.
  2. Attendance heavily depends on who is in town on such night.
  3. If there is any promotional event going on.
Now look, I would be willing to bet that half of NHL diehard fans are fans of their specific team first before the NHL. Hell, if the Rangers are on and a TV is in my viewing distance I will do anything it takes to get them on the screen. Would I do it for any other game? Most likely not. I might ask for hockey to be put on, but if there is gonna be a big problem, its not worth it.

So, Tampa Bay and Florida experience such fluctuations because:
  1. The smaller fan bases the two teams enjoy will most likely be much more willing to attend weekend games rather than weeknight games.
  2. Retired diehards that shipped themselves to Florida to die from anywhere above the Mason-Dixon line will gladly spend their savings on seeing their team.
  3. If there is an promotional event going on, the ticket holders are most likely one and done consumers.
As I hinted in reason 3, almost all of the fans going to these games are one and done consumers to the franchises. I'd also be willing to be that there are very few season ticket holders that attend every game (I'm guessing somewhere between 1,000-2,000). The retired folks are there to see their team, not the Bolts or the Panthers. And finally, the college couple that had nothing to do won't be going back to the next game unless they completely fall in love with one of the teams.

Now I titled this the Battle of Florida because I think, within 5-10 years, one of these teams will be out of the state and somewhere else. If I had to pick which one to move, it would be Florida. As the graph shows, Tampa has a slight edge on attendance. Also, I'm a firm believer that if a franchise has won a cup, it would be very very hard to move them in this day and age.

Finally, it wouldn't hurt if both teams could get a solid GM that could build a team. Remember in '96 when the Panthers went to the Finals? Miami Arena was packed all throughout the playoffs with 15,000 Floridians. A great way to build a fan base is by winning.

That's all for tonight. Check back tomorrow.

Saturdays Alright for Hockey

Good Afternoon. After a day of snowboarding, shoveling, and a night of too much drinking, I return sore and hungover. 12 Games last night...
  1. Carolina @ Boston - 17,565 (Sellout) - Bruins win 4-2. Back to back to back sellouts for Boston, a first for this season. After a rocky start attendance wise to the season, the Bruins will continue to enjoy packed houses as long as they are top dog in the east.
  2. Washington @ Philadelphia - 19,857 (Sellout) - Flyers win 7-1. The Flyers are hot and the Philly faithful are reaping the benefits of their constant support. Last night of the 7th sellout in Philly this season.
  3. Buffalo @ Montreal - 21,273 (Sellout) - Montreal wins 4-3 in OT. A nice little comeback by the Habs and the 21K+ saw a great game.
  4. Dallas @ Ottawa - 19,486 - Sens win 5-4 in OT. The Saturday matchup helped a bit for attendance, as the crowd reaches over 19K for only the second time in 6 games in Ottawa. Its starting to look like Ottawa has a share of fair-weather fans.
  5. Toronto @ Pittsburgh - 17,053 - Leafs win 7-3. Nothing gave me more joy as I saw that about 8,000 of the Pens faithful had left after the 2nd period of this one.
  6. Tampa Bay @ Atlanta - 14,395 - Thrashers win 4-3. Another not so impressive figure out of Atlanta.
  7. Los Angeles @ Detroit - 19,784 - Wings win 6-4. An open game with over 60 shots, anyone at the Joe got a great game to watch.
  8. NYI @ Nashville - 16,457 - Preds win 1-0. A not so open game, but the marketing department is doing its job in Nashville. Only around 700 short of a sellout, not bad for bascially a non hockey market.
  9. Minnesota @ St. Louis - 19,150 (Sellout) - Blues in 4-2. With their 11th sellout, the fan base for the Blues must be solid and growing, as the team struggles in last place in the West.
  10. Colombus @ Phoenix - 16,125 - Coyotes win 2-0. With a current average of 14,716, the Coyotes clearly benefit from the Saturday night fixture.
  11. Chicago @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Blackhawks win 3-1. Another sellout and the Canucks could have used Sundin in this one.
  12. NYR @ San Jose - 17,496 (Sellout) - Sharks win 3-2. The sellouts continue in San Jose, as I was very pleased that my Blueshirts played a solid game against one of the top dogs in the West.
LNA: 18,106 - The first average for a Saturday on the blog, and I'm not sure what to expect. For the weeknights I'm putting the bar at 17,250; anything above that should be considered a reasonable success. For the weekends, in my opinion, I think the NHL should be shooting for around 18K. So, at 18,106, this weekend was a solid weekend for the league.

Sellouts: 6/12. For the weeknights, I put the bar at 50%. Anything above that is definitely a success. For the weekends, I think it should be around 65%. So a little disappointing, Detroit and Ottawa both came close, but couldn't top out their buildings.

More later...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Friday Nights Games

Went snowboarding today so again I didn't have much time. I'll make it all up on Sunday as I'll be nursing a hangover and looking for something to do.

Five games last night...
  1. Ottawa @ New Jersey - 13,242 - Devils win 5-1. The lowest attendance at The Rock in 8 games. Though I might add that Ottawa does bring along the 27th worst road attendance average.
  2. Chicago @ Calgary - 19,289 (Sellout) - Hawks win 3-2 in OT. A great game to watch, it looked as though that Pentgrowth Saddledome was truly sold out as the high flyin' Hawks were in town.
  3. Anaheim @ Edmonton - 16,839 (Sellout) - Ducks win 3-2 in a SO. Frigid cold in the great north didn't stop another sellout at Rexall Place. Poor shootout attempts though from the Oilers.
  4. Los Angeles @ Buffalo - 18,147 - Sabres win 5-0. I was actually pondering if the attendance at HSBC Arena would dip below 18K for the first time this season because of the wicked snow storm we had yesterday here in Central and Western NY, but I was wrong. This was their lowest turnout this year though. LA was all over the Sabres, outshooting them 40 to 22.
  5. NYI @ Minnesota - 18,568 (Sellout) - Wild win 4-1. I took a quick look at this game as I haven't seen the Wild play at home in a while, and it reminded me of Madison Square Garden. Sure, all the seats are paid for, but there are no bodies to be seen in some of the 100's. Happy drive home for Wild fans from this one.
LNA: 17,217 - Another weeknight over 17K. Good Stuff. Average would have been higher too as Rexall Place actually fits over 17K, but they never announce it higher than their noted "capacity."

Sellouts: 3 out of 5. I'll take anything over 50% on weeknights.

Annual Holiday Dinner and Bar walk tonight with the boys, so nothing more for today. I promise tomorrow I'll actually give an opinion on something rather than just listing attendance figures.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Last Nights Events

Way late post here, but Almost all of NY State is buried in snow and I've had a long day. Here are the figures for last nights games:
  1. Toronto @ Boston - 17,565 (Sellout) - Boston wins 8-5. It's the new NHL! Goals goals goals! 8 of them in the second. Good showing.
  2. St. Louis @ Washington - 18,277 (Sellout) - Caps win 4-2. First sellout in 5 games for the Caps, on a Wednesday night nonetheless.
  3. Florida @ Carolina - 14,533 - Canes win 2-1 in OT. After a recent upswing at the RBC Center, the Canes dip below their average.
  4. Pittsburgh @ Atlanta - 15,124 - Pens win 6-3. Sidney who? Apparently the news didn't reach some Thrasher fans that number 87 was in town.
  5. Philadelphia @ Montreal - 21,273 (Sellout) - Montreal wins 5-2. Habs get back on track after some recent troubles on ice. They also continue the sellout streak as well.
  6. Colorado @ Tampa Bay - 16,333 - Avs win 2-1 in a SO. A little bit of a surge from a northern city swingin though for Tampa.
  7. San Jose @ Detroit - 19,507 - Wings win 6-0. Somewhat surprised this didn't sell out, but was still within a 1000 of doing so. Wings make a statement for "best in the west" as well.
  8. Columbus @ Dallas - 16,281 - Dallas wins 6-5 in a SO. Dallas has been unpredictable this year, so 16K and change for the Jackets is acceptable. They saw an entertaining game as well.
  9. Nashville @ Phoenix - 14,193 - Phoenix wins 2-1. 22nd worst away draw along with a city who doesn't realize its Coyotes are in the playoffs doesn't exactly spell sellout.
LNA (Last Night's Average): 17,010
Sellouts: 3 out of 9.

I'm starting to think that if every night the NHL can manage to average around 17 to 17,500 fans that the leagues revenue from tickets will rise.

In a bit of a rush, more later. Rob.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Graphs: Division Game by Game Attendance

First graphs I did yesterday to sharpen my skills. We'll start with the West...

The Central Division. No surprises really here. Chicago leads the way and is pretty stable, followed by Detroit and St. Louis. St. Louis, until recently, had a nice sellout streak going and was fairly stable. Columbus and Nashville are a mess, as you can see.
- Stability Rating: 6 out of 10 (2 points for each team)

The Northwest Division. 4 out of 5 teams here are currently on a sellout streak. Pretty stable. If Colorado had the team it had earlier in the decade, it may be 5 out of 5. But with them 1 point out of the playoffs, and Edmonton only 2, this division could be the most stable out of all.
- Stability Rating: 9 out of 10.

The Pacific. Kinda Crazy. The Kings will be on the road a lot once the new year comes, as they are 4 games ahead of 3 other teams in terms of home games. Along with this, you never know what to expect in LA, a packed crowd or one that came for a pee-wee game. Phoenix is consistently bad, while San Jose and Anaheim lead the way in this division. Finally, I'm sure all those new Stars season ticket holders are really kicking themselves.
- Stability rating: 5.5 out of 10

And off to the East...

The Atlantic. Philly leads the way here, only dipping below 19K once this season thus far. Followed by them are NYR and Pittsburgh, but after that is where the fun begins. The Devil's attendances heavily depend on who the team is playing, along with the Islanders.
- Stability Rating: 7 out of 10.

The Northeast. Any division with 3 Canadian teams is going to be stable, and the Northeast is just that. The best part of it is that Buffalo sells out more than Ottawa, so this division is very, very stable. Montreal leads the way, followed by a mix of Buffalo, Ottawa, and Toronto. Boston is in last, but given their top in the conference record, Attendance should start to settle down, as it has begun to already.
- Stability Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

The Redneck Division, I mean Southeast. With the exception of Washington, who is like a Priest in a family of addicted gamblers, this is the division the NHL should be worried about. They are losing big time money, and with the exception of the Caps again, all the fans are fair-weathered. Hockey and the south do not mix well.
- Stability Rating: 4 out of 10

What to take of all this? Well, basically, the graphs show which teams are doing the best job of filling the arena night in and night out. It also shows which fans have the strongest fan-base and their dedication to their team. I will now begin to look at a team by team basis, and start trying to catch promotional campaigns to sell tickets, and see the publics' response. Also, on another note, I'll most likely do a piece soon on who is "selling" out their arena and which teams actually play in front of a "sellout."


Last Nights Events

5 Games last night, and lets see...
  1. NJ @ Buffalo - 18,690 (Sellout) - NJ Wins 5-3. Another Sellout for Buffalo, their 9th of the season. The fan support is always good in Western NY, but keep expecting full houses if the Sabres stay around the 8 spot that they currently sit in.
  2. San Jose @ Columbus - 13,884 - Jackets win 2-1 in OT. Right around Columbus 28th best average of 13,872, combine that with the 27th best away draw in the league San Jose, and you have a pathetic night. Columbus is only 1 point out of a playoff spot, too.
  3. Calgary @ Minnesota - 18,568 (Sellout) - Calgary wins 3-2 in OT. Minnesota keeps its Sellout streak against their division rivals along with seeing an entertaining game.
  4. Edmonton @ Vancouver - 18,630 (Sellout) - Canucks win 4-2. If there was ever a night in a non-playoff game where the arena was actually a sellout, this would be the night in Vancouver, as Trevor Linden's # 16 was raised to the rafters.
  5. NYR @ Los Angeles - 17,166 - Rangers win 3-2 in OT. The Kings lead the league with 22 home games already, and broke 17K for only the 6th time this season, last night being the first time in 9 games. No doubt a little help from the blueshirts I picked out in the crowd.
- Last night's average: 17,388 - Columbus killed the average, but still a solid showing. Not that often you get three OT games in one night too (without a Shootout, I mean).
- Sellouts: 3 - out of 5, can't complain.

More in a bit. Rob.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TV Ratings and "Visiting Canadian Team Attedances"

First, I come bearing an article that is two weeks old today that I somehow missed. Read it here

Three things caught my eye.
  1. The New York Rangers and the Los Angeles Kings, the two largest NHL TV markets, are outperforming themselves from last year by 33 %. Cool beans.
  2. Buffalo leads the way with an 8.9 local rating, followed by Pittsburgh with a 5.7 - This helps make my theory true that although I do live in Central New York State, there is really nothing, and I mean nothing, to do in Western New York.
  3. I would love to see some Canadian figures besides HNIC. I understand everyone and their family watches it on Saturday nights, for christ sake I hang out with a bunch of idiots who like basketball and they even watch it with me on Saturday nights. If anyone has a link or info on that, please send it along (that is, if anyone is reading this by now).
Moving on, I've been keeping my eye on a thread on HF Boards called "Visiting Canadian Team Attendances" ... The thread basically turned into "well I hate drunk visiting fans who have too much fun and get punched in the face..." So today I did something about it (you da man Rob!), here's what I said:
I don't understand why this is even an issue. In weak markets you'll see a fluctuation because of a certain team or player coming into town, but in moderate to strong markets it shouldn't be about that. The fact of the matter is more Canadians would be willing to spend money on tickets if, for sake of example, there were 15 US teams and 15 Canadian teams.

The Average US home attendance is 16,638.71 (totaled up home averages from

The Average Canadian home attendance (out of curiosity, because obviously with only 6 teams its going to be higher no matter what) is 19,033.67 (

Granted, some US clubs have come a long way (Chicago recently dethroned Montreal for #1 in attendance this year), but the least of their worries are poor attendance numbers from visiting Canadian teams.
Yeah, I quote myself from time to time, I hold my opinion in high esteem (kidding). Now obviously, like I said, the averages isn't going to be fair because n (number of teams) is only 6 for Canada, while the US has 24 clubs. But my thought in all of this is relocation. In my humble opinion, I would say that a team in Hamilton, Winnipeg, or Quebec City could at least pull the US Average, but my bet would be the over. But that's just me, and that is without talk of financing a new stadium.

Alright, enough is enough. I'm starving. Maybe more later, I dunno.


NHL Salaries indicating trouble?

James Mirtle points out an article by Mark Spector of, who explains that even though the NHL already holds back an astonishing 13.5 % of players salaries for (if needed) revenue sharing purposes, it may not be enough to cover some of the leagues troubles for this year. Therefore, Spector says, the percentage may increase in the future.

Mirtle says it best here:
If at the end of the season that's the chunk that's missing on a $56.7-million salary cap, it means teams are actually paying only $49-million in player salaries. A $7-million player like Thomas Vanek will make only $6-million this season, Sidney Crosby's $8.7-million deal is worth $7.5-million and the league minimum players fall from $475,000 to $411,000.

No, no one will be crying poor, but that's the difference we're talking about, and that's also likely the ballpark we should be thinking about (a) potential free agent salaries and (b) next year's cap.

I think this is an indication that, although Bettman has said in earlier reports the economy hasn't really had a hard hit on the sport thus far, that hammer will come down soon enough. We will all soon find out.

But hey, at least attendance is rising... right?

Last Nights Events

9 Games last night, lets see how they drew.
  1. Washington @ NYI - 11,655 - Caps win 5-4 in OT. Evgeni Malkin in an interview posted yesterday, "You won't believe it, but Islanders are the most difficult..." (Puck Daddy)
  2. Colorado @ Philadelphia - 19,219 - Philly wins 5-2. Philly has only dropped below 19,000 spectators once this season thus far. Sunday, November 2nd, when the Edmonton Oilers visited. They still pulled 18,227, as the Oilers rank 27th in Avg. Road Attendance (ESPN)
  3. Montreal @ Carolina - 16,434 - Canes win 3-2. The retired Habs fanatics must have somewhat of a hold in Raleigh, as the Canes broke 16K for the first time since their second home game (sellout, 15 games below 16K).
  4. New Jersey @ Toronto - 19,315 (Sellout) - Leafs win 3-2 in a SO. Not surprising, the leafs have yet to dip below 19K this season for any game. What is kind of surprising is that this team is supposed to be in full-on rebuilding mode, but is playing .500 hockey and is only 3 points from a playoff spot.
  5. Atlanta @ Ottawa - 18,746 - Atlanta with a 3 goal 3rd to win 4-1. At just a glance, Ottawa may be the most inconsistent draw in the league night in and night out. With that said, they are still averaging around 18,800. (ESPN)
  6. Calgary @ St. Louis - 16,426 - Calgary wins 6-3. Before the last 2 home games for the Blues (including this one), they had sold out 10 out of 13 games. Not bad for another rebuilding club in last place. Calgary and San Jose (game before Calgary) are two top clubs in the west too, so I might have to look into St. Louis.
  7. Phoenix @ Dallas - 15,387 - Dallas 2-1 in OT. Hmm, they are only 2 spots below their average this year; I'm sure being in 2nd to last doesn't help in Texas though. (ESPN)
  8. Chicago @ Edmonton - 16,839 (Sellout) - Chicago wins 9-2. I'm sure half of that were left for the end of the game after a 5 goal 2nd by the Hawks. Edmonton has had the least home games thus far of anyone with only 11. And although Rexall Place fits just over 17,000, they never announce higher than 16,839. That doesn't exactly help the league average, but nonetheless Edmonton is a a fairly stable market. (Wikipedia - Seating capacity)
  9. Finally, NYR @ Anaheim - where 16,921 showed up to see my Rangers beat my brother's Ducks 3-1. A handful of blueshirts in the crowd, so there was a slight boost from the Manhattan bunch coming out west. What I really like about the Ducks is their TV broadcast. I watched that on Center Ice instead of MSG last night, they do solid interviews and the camera work is generally better than most.
So that's that. A quick review:
- Last nights Average: 16,771 - Ehhh, I guess I'll take it for being a Tuesday night and some of the games in weak markets.
- Total Sellouts: 2

That's it for now, check back later as I'm not going snowboarding so I'm sure I'll have something.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Arena in Edmonton, First thoughts on the spreadsheet...

At a luncheon Tuesday in Edmonton, Gary Bettman called for a new Arena in downtown Edmonton to replace Rexall Place as the new home for the Oilers. Commish Bettman said:
It is imperative that the Oilers have a new building and the plans for a downtown building, I think, are vital not just for the future of this franchise, but for the city...
Rexall was built in 1974, making it the oldest in Canada, and in 2007 the cost for refurbishing the arena is reported to be at 250 Million Dollars. Yikes.

The major roadblock to moving downtown for the Oilers is the public backlash against using taxpayer money in an rough economy. The Oilers owner, Daryl Katz, has pledged 100 Million Dollars to building a new downtown arena, but that obviously won't get the job done.

Personally, I don't disagree with the public here. Rexall place is constantly packed and access to it from Edmonton is apparently pretty easy. I don't see anything happening with this until more money comes out of Katz's pocket.

Shifting gears, some quick hits about the spreadsheet I posted earlier:
- Largest Crowd thus far? 22,690 - Saturday, October 25th, Detroit @ Chicago. Good preview for the Classic? Hows a 6-5 SO win for the Hawks sound?
- Smallest Crowd thus far? 10,184 - Monday, November 3rd, Columbus @ NYI. Well, at least it didn't dip below 10K... Could have been a fairly entertaining game for those who showed, as the Isles won 4-3 in OT.
- Home game 6 for the league seemed to struggle, as it has been the only complete home game row that hasn't been above 500,000 fans.
- NYR leads the way with 18 sellouts (yeah, OK), tightly followed by MTL with 17 and MIN with 16. Montreal is the true leader, in my opinion.
- Finally 6 teams have yet to have a reported sellout, drum roll ... Columbus, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Ottawa, and Phoenix. A bit surprised to see Ottawa in there. I mean, c'mon, even Atlanta sold out there home opener.

I also wanted to mention that I get all reported attendances from and all the Rink Capacities from each arena's Wikipedia page. Yeah, sorry, I'm lazy.


The Main Spreadsheet

You can download it here

Yes, its safe. I just wanted to show any readers what I'm working with and where I'll make most of my analysis' from.

Check back for some first thoughts, I'm just not sure when as I might be going snowboarding tomorrow.


Meeting Over Brunch

Some tidbits from last night/couple of days:

- Cool interview between NBC Produce Sam Flood and Puck Daddy editor Greg Wyshynski from Monday here, as they talk about NBC's plan for camera-work at the 2009 Winter Classic. Note the emphasis on wide-range shots and the return of the "airplane" camera.

- Found this tidbit in the NHL Winter Classic portal of, which says NBC plans on having 50 camera's at the Classic, along with the NHL expecting over 41,000 spectators.

- Only 2 games last night.
  1. Colorado @ Detroit - Reported 19,154 at Joe Louis Arena ( - Looks like that rilvary is far from dead.
  2. San Jose @ Los Angeles - Reported 16,005 at the Staples Center ( - Guess it could have been worse...
That's all I got for now, check back later - Rob

Update, 3:05 PM: The National Post of Toronto says that Hockey gives the fan the most bang for their buck.

Wow, what a shocker. Their rankings:
  1. Hockey - 60 minutes
  2. Basketball - 48 minutes
  3. Soccer - 90 minutes - ranked lower for most likely a very small window of time actually spent in the penalty area
  4. Canadian Football - around 15 minutes
  5. American Football - only 12 minutes (that one made me chuckle)
  6. PGA Golf - 8 minutes
  7. MLB - only 5-10 minutes. wow.
Decent list in my opinion. Americans hate soccer and don't get hockey because they are "boring" yet the MLB and NFL give the least amount of true action. Ugh.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pens New Arena Name: Consol Energy Arena

"For more than 140 years, CONSOL Energy has been a part of the tri-state
region's history. We are proud to help write a new chapter in Pittsburgh's
history by sponsoring this wonderful new facility."-- Brett Harvey,
president and chief executive officer of CONSOL Energy

Aww, isn't that cute. The Pittsburgh Penguins and CONSOL Energy announced a 21-year naming rights deal to the Pittsburgh Arena scheduled to be set for the 2010/2011 NHL season. Who is CONSOL? Why they one of America's largest Coal mining companies (

The good about this? 21 year deal, a local energy group that seems to be improving (or so says the green up arrow on the wikipedia page), and I'm sure the Pens didn't let the company exactly steal these rights (figures not out yet).

The Bad? CONSOL's stock is down (whose isn't tho, Rob?, and the name doesn't seem right. But, as a Ranger fan, anything is better than Mellon Arena.

Beautiful, right?

Check back tommorow, I've started one of my super-duper spreadsheets due to my pure excitement of starting this blog (lil' bit o sarcasm). Tell your friends, if you have any.

Hello, if you are reading this, I'm shocked.

Hello to anyone who has happened to stumble upon this.

Welcome to Puck Money, where an aspiring undergrad business student will attempt to make his opinion heard on the happenings in the business of the hockey world, with most of the focus on the NHL. I'll also attempt to use my high school excel skills to make some sweet graphs to show how attendance fluctuates and that more people actually go to a Phoenix Coyotes game than a New York Islanders game.

When I'm watching most games, my first thought after looking at the scoreboard is something along the lines of the attendance, and I start to look at the crowd. Hockey has given a lot to me, and every time I go to a game I have a ball. Hockey games, especially the NHL, are one of the most fun events one can go to without depleting the bank account. Hockey doesn't do well on TV for a number of reasons, but one of the smaller ones is that hockey is just plain better when you're at the game; whether you're front row or resting your back on the stadium wall in the 300's.

What to expect? Well, I'm not completely sure as of right now. Probably daily attendance reports from the last night. Notable news articles from the NHL regarding their business. Expect some TV stuff focusing on ad's and marketing ploys. I just want to see for myself what works best and what doesn't in the business of hockey. So I'm open for suggestions.

More to come either tonight or tomorrow morning.