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Two Sides Headed Towards Destruction

from Kevin Allen of USA TODAY,

If there was any doubt that NHL owners and players are headed down a path toward mutually assured destruction, the doubt will be erased when the league cancels the New Year's Day Winter Classic game scheduled for Ann Arbor's Big House.

The Winter Classic has become the most important event on the league's annual calendar because it brings visibility to the NHL from beyond its usual sphere of influence.

continued

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

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http://www.sbnation.com/nhl/2012/1/3/2679561/winter-classic-2012-tv-ratings-flyers-rangers

“The 2012 Winter Classic pulled the worst TV ratings in the event’s five-year history, despite an exciting game featuring the New York Rangers three-goal comeback to beat the host Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 at Citizens Bank Park on Monday.”

“• 2008: Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo: 2.6
• 2009: Detroit vs. Chicago: 2.9
• 2010: Philadelphia vs. Boston: 2.6
• 2011: Washington vs. Pittsburgh: 2.8
• 2012: NY Rangers vs. Philadelphia: 2.4”

Yes, I’m sure an event which has never cracked a Nielsen 3.0, when missed, will destroy the NHL.

Is anyone even capable of looking at this issue without dissolving into helpless, stupid hyperbole?

Here’s a decent point of comparison.  A show on CW with the name ‘Arrow’, which I admittedly have never seen but I presume is about Green Arrow, got a 2.1 last week.

A show on the CW network.

‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ absolutely OBLITERATED anything the WC has ever been able to do with a 4.5 last week.  That bleeping show has been on for 30 years.

I love watching hockey.  It is my favorite sport to watch on TV by a narrow margin (the NFL on TV is fantastic), and it is my favorite sport to attend by a country mile (NBA is a distant second).

Do you know what that makes me (insert lame jokes from the unwashed masses here)?  It makes me an almost insignificant minority of television viewers, that’s what.

Generally speaking, nobody cares about the NHL.  Their spotlight ‘hey look how awesome we are isn’t our sport grand’ centerpiece barely beats out piece of crap kiddie show garbage on third tier networks with some douche named Stephen Amell as the headliner.  Yes, I looked that up.

Christ, it’s like all these writers covering this are in a race to see who can hyperventilate themselves unconscious the soonest.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/01/12 at 02:17 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I finally agree with an HD post ^^^^
Ooofff…. what has become of me. Hahahaha…..

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/01/12 at 02:27 PM ET

Heaton's avatar

Why are you putting the ratings on a pedestal?  It’s much more than that.

Posted by Heaton on 11/01/12 at 02:27 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

just for the even 125.00 minimum, 115k + seats, assuming the better the seat the more expensive the ticket.  You’re looking at what, 14m if every seat was priced at the minimum.  Then concessions.  You also have the alum games.  Merch that’d get sold, parking revenues.

This is a significant event, significant money.  Crazy they’d be willing to give up 25% of how far apart the two sides are, just to spite the other side and get rid of any “leverage” so the players will have to take the worst possible deal for themselves.  Mind boggling.

Not to mention all the pissed off people who’ve already paid for tickets who aren’t going to be getting their processing fees back, what 20-40.00?  And cancelling it way before they had to?  They’re actually going to alienate some gung-ho hockey fans this time.  My .02

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 11/01/12 at 02:46 PM ET

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Why are you putting the ratings on a pedestal?  It’s much more than that.

Like what, exactly?  50 million bucks split between 30 teams?  Come on.

The WCs big impact is exposure.  Other than the playoffs the NHL very rarely penetrates the national consciousness in the USA.  Usually only when someone gets half-killed out on the ice or there is a mammoth brawl.  That’s all ESPN shows, and ESPN is all people watch.

The reason ratings are relevant is that it’s only exposure if people actually watch the bleeping game.  If barely more people watch a centerpiece event than watch Stephen Amell and Katie Cassidy kiss while he wears tights (yes, I also looked up her name and now I know two more things about that stupid show than I did before), I just don’t think the absence of that kind of event has much of an impact.

Just like I’m sure if that stupid ‘Arrow’ show disappeared for a year it wouldn’t draw appreciably less then than what it does now.

Why?  Because there is always a 2.1ish market for god awful shows on tiny networks roughly based on comic book characters.  Just like there will always be a 1.ish market for the NHL on TV and a 2.ish market for ‘centerpiece’ games whose entire point is just doing the same thing as before, but outside.  Wee!

It’s a different subject, although related.  The WC is just a gimmick.  Watching that game isn’t any more likely to draw people to hockey than watching any other game during the year   Hell, the only reason it even draws above a 2 is because it’s the only NHL game on TV that day.  If you had the Winter Classic going off while their were 10 other NHL games on the thing wouldn’t crack 1.5, I bet.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/01/12 at 02:54 PM ET

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This is a significant event, significant money. 

Now split it in half.  Then divide it by 30.

Still significant?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/01/12 at 02:55 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

This is a significant event, significant money. 

Now split it in half.  Then divide it by 30.

Still significant?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/01/12 at 03:55 PM E

Yes, because EVERY single dime STILL counts toward the bottom line. Ownership mentality. You’d feel the same if it were your business.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 11/01/12 at 03:00 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

mutually assured destruction

Nice story. Tell it to Reader’s Digest.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 11/01/12 at 03:52 PM ET

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2.9 is insignficant when compared to a show about Green Oliver Queen with a bow drawing 2.1, but that rating is also a record for the most watched NHL regular season game since 1975.

So yes, you can say that the NHL draws pathetically low, but the Winter Classic is still their biggest draw. Not to mention the cable series which gives the NHL a little bit of marketing credit by being associated with the HBO brand as well. When you’ve got next to nothing, can you afford to throw anything away?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/01/12 at 04:04 PM ET

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Yes, because EVERY single dime STILL counts toward the bottom line. Ownership mentality. You’d feel the same if it were your business.

No, I wouldn’t.  If it costs you $.11 to make $.10, what’s the point of making the dime?  And that aside, assuming the WC makes the NHL 100 mil (which is an outrageously high assumption, but whatever), when you split it in half and divide it by 30 you have 1.67 million bucks.  If you split it 43-57 and then do the same you have 1.43 mil.

So we’re talking about 1.43-1.67 mil per team (which is way high).  We’re talking about the gate revenue of two home games for a team with mediocre attendance.

At most.  I bet the actual numbers end up being less than the gate of a single home game.

So yes, you can say that the NHL draws pathetically low, but the Winter Classic is still their biggest draw.

I agree with that.  What I disagree with is Allen’s suggestion that missing the WC is ‘destruction’ for the NHL any more than missing a regular season game would be.

The WC is a profitmaker for the NHL.  So are the playoffs.  For the most part the regular season is not.  This is why I’ve said the WC and the playoffs are the two points of financial leverage the NHLPA has.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/01/12 at 04:19 PM ET

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1.43-1.67 mil per team (which is way high).  or conversely if we take league revenue and cost, each team makes about $4 million in profit. This would be a full 25% of every team’s profit. Nothing to dismiss.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/02/12 at 08:16 AM 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.

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