Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/25/11 at 07:02 PM ET
from Tony Keller of the Edmonton Journal,
Over the past decade, the NHL has become a two-speed league. A small number of teams are making a lot of money -led by the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Rangers, the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks. But on the other side of the divide, and the other side of the border, is a long list of teams generating revenues far below the league average: the Phoenix Coyotes, who will be on a moving truck the minute the city of Glendale stops handing over $25-million cheques, are the leaders of the pack. They’re joined by a growing tally of perennial money losers, such as the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Nashville Predators, the Florida Panthers and the team that is on the verge of moving to Winnipeg, the Atlanta Thrashers.
The NHL’s failing teams, all of them American and almost all in the Sunbelt, suffer from a very simple problem: they don’t have enough fans. And the few fans they have will only show up if ticket prices remain low. This matters because the NHL is an attendance business; the name of the game is putting bums in seats. NHL teams earn almost all of their revenues in their home arena.
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