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Weak Fan Support A Major Issue

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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J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by dzuunmod on 05/26/11 at 12:47 PM ET

Well-said.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/26/11 at 02:49 PM ET

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So yeah, a lot of people up here take it as an affront against the country when someone moves in on the sport.

I don’t doubt this at all. Those of us who have played and loved hockey our entire lives get it too. What we don’t understand is how we can be denigrated by those that profess to love the game. If you love hockey you want it to grow, succeed, expand and be loved by others. What I think we get instead is this is about Canada, not hockey. If that is the issue, it will be us versus them and we can also play that game. Actually that is one thing the US is very good at, probably better than Canada ever will be.

Posted by timbits on 05/26/11 at 03:10 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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