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Decisions Gone Bad

I missed this article yesterday, so in case you missed it...

from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,

Of course, hockey’s trough has been a crowded receptacle, as players lapped up money their owners couldn’t afford to spend, while owners gobbled up expansion money from a bunch of cities whose presence was supposed to ensure that dream American TV contract that floats all the other big sports.

We know now that a sport that is not indigenous to two-thirds of U.S. states never gets that mega American TV deal with. Simply placing franchises in football states like Texas, Florida, Tennessee and North Carolina doesn’t get you football money, a misguided fourth-down gamble that will surely be Commissioner Bettman’s legacy.

Today, Gary has his teams in Nashville, Anaheim, Dallas, Florida, Tampa, Carolina, Columbus, Phoenix and San Jose. But he never got the TV deal to go with them.

Worse yet, the only way to make most of those markets tenable is to revenue share.

And isn’t that rich?

The collective financial losses of sunbelt teams over the years will one day surpass their sum total in expansion fees gobbled up by Original 21 owners. Perhaps they have already.

Today, a lockout based on forging an economy in which the Columbus Blue Jackets can make a profit is killing the game.

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Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

Comments

Avatar

The hatred some folks have for American expansion into new markets would be facinating if it weren’t so pathetic. When people react so emotionally, to what is a clearly logical business and marketing strategy to grow the game, it leads to other conclusions. No one really cares this strongly about teams in new markets, unless they feel threatened. So you have to ask why are they threatened? My take is that they fear the loss of control of the game, fear of new players and draft picks coming from huge population center such as California, Texas and Florida, fear of being not able to dictate what “true hockey” means and most of all fear of becoming irrelevant. IF any of these things are true, I hope their fears come true!!!

Posted by timbits on 11/17/12 at 12:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

This drives me crazy.

Gary Bettman did not expand into Phoneix, Dallas, and Carolina.  Those were relocations the NHL BoG approved, initiated by the team owners themselves.  Bettman’s role in relocation is questionable.  In the case of DAL and CAR, those owners were probably moving regardless of any opposition because of how they were rapidly burning bridges in their original markets and how ugly the “divorces” were.  WIN to PHX may be another story, that may have been able to be saved…

Bettman also was not responsible for San Jose or Tampa, who were already *in* the league when he took over in 1993 (SJ came in ‘91, Tampa and Ottawa in ‘92), nor was he responsible for Anaheim or Florida, who were *already approved and on the way* when he took over in 1993 replacing Gil Stein.

But hey, don’t let facts get in the way or anything.

Bettman was hired in 1993.  Go read the Expansion Timeline, read the dates of relocations and entry, and everyone get your facts straight.  There simply is no defense when people continually get the facts wrong, because they’re not hidden and 10 seconds of Googling will tell you:

http://www.detroithockey.net/nhl/timeline.php

Or go read WIkipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Bettman

Bettman is not responsible for much (most?) of the southern expansion.  He’s responsible for ATL and NAS (MIN, CBS as well), and it’s worth noting that when he took over in 1993, it wasn’t until 2000 that the first expansions teams came in that he actually had anything to do with bringing about.  Zeigler was the one who went expansion-crazy (I’m not certain Stein did a dang thing except then corrupt the HHOF process).

I’m no huge Bettman fan or anything, but I am SICK AND TIRED of things getting attributed to him that happened before he even came in and people being too lazy to look up dates.  It’s become a sad joke and a crutch for people who don’t have the knowledge to come up with other reasons to hate Bettman (believe me there are plenty of others).

If you see any “journalists” criticizing Bettman for the NHL’s southern expansion… that journalist is:  a) entirely unknowledgable on the topic, b) has done no actual research, and c) therefore has a worthless, uneducated opinion on the matter and probably should be ignored altogether.  So nice job on outing yourself, Mark Spector…

Posted by Primis on 11/17/12 at 01:36 PM ET

Avatar

The hatred some folks have for American expansion into new markets would be facinating if it weren’t so pathetic. When people react so emotionally, to what is a clearly logical business and marketing strategy to grow the game, it leads to other conclusions.

Yeah, expanding to places that historically don’t give a flying shit about hockey is clearly logical.

The best way to grow a successful business is to expand to where people aren’t interested in your product.

Posted by Garth on 11/17/12 at 10:02 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

I have no problems with Southern expansion and growing the game, but the NHL constantly screws it up.  To be fair, this started with Ziegler, but it’s continued with Bettman.  The NHL proposes expansion, gives a team to whatever ownership group will give them the most up-front money, regardless of the rest of their finances, the stability of the ownership group, or the fitness of the market.  So you have a team with no talent, owned by people who can’t or won’t pay for decent players in markets without any hockey history.  Atlanta was a disaster, any rational person knows that Phoenix has been given more than enough chances, you saw a team like Tampa, that had built a decent base of support, recently won a cup and had a few star players, totally lose it’s momentum, because the league let in hacks like Barrie and Koules.  Or Craig Leipold giving the middle finger to Nashville, and then turning up in Minnesota, with a spot in Bettman’s inner circle.  And of course, almost NHL owners like John Spano and Boots DelBaggio.  Bettman and the BoG make moves into new markets, but it’s always been about collecting expansion fees.  They’ve never shown any long-term vision.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 11/17/12 at 10:59 PM ET

Avatar

I have no problems with Southern expansion and growing the game, but the NHL constantly screws it up.  To be fair, this started with Ziegler, but it’s continued with Bettman.

100% agree with your whole post.

Bettman combines the smarm of Stern, the dictatorial firmness of Goodell and the bumbling incompetence of Selig.

He’s like some shambling Frankenstein of flawed Commissioners.

You’re especially spot-on with the lack of long term vision, too.  That’s how they made (and continue) the stupidity of having so many teams in non-traditional markets and how they wrote that god-awful CBA the last time.

His absence of anything approaching prescience is a part of the reason I’m hoping the NHL is able to get as many of the contractual changes as they can.  If left to his own devices and with any degree of leeway Bettman would, once again, completely bleep up significant details of a new CBA and we’d be right back here in 4-6 years trying to hammer out yet another deal during another lockout because the latest poorly built one fell apart under the weight of reality.

Hell, even if the NHL gets everything they want I put the odds at no better than 70-30 for that they’ll manage to figure out what they need.

Because Bettman’s that bad at his job.  Unfortunately, he’s all we got right now.

It’s like having to depend on Joe Kocur to score a shootout goal, isn’t it?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/17/12 at 11:23 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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