Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 11/18/11 at 02:49 PM ET
from Corey Erdman of The Score,
W. Brett Wilson is known to Canadians as “the man with the golden heart,” famous for his time on the hit CBC show Dragon’s Den, where he likely dished out more money than any other mogul on the investment reality show. This week, he forked over even more, nabbing a 5% investment in the Nashville Predators….
CE: Most people would look at Nashville and say “this isn’t a hockey market, why would you invest in that?” How would you respond to people who say that?
BW: Well I don’t know what it takes to be a hockey market if Orlando and Tampa and Southern California can be defined as a hockey market, then anywhere can be a hockey market. It’s a matter of selling it. If you ever attend a Nashville game—and I did, I go to about half a dozen games a year—the fanbase there is extraordinarily passionate. I’ve been to games in about ten different stadiums now, and I would say they rank as high as any team in terms of the passion.
The problem Nashville had was that the passion wasn’t shared by enough people. You know, they were running 11-12,000 people in the seats quite regularly, but this past year, under the new ownership group, there was a new ownership, there was a new level of commitment to the team. As long as there was a “we’re gonna move if it doesn’t work,” that’s not a real good way of parenting. “We’re gonna spank you if you don’t eat your supper.” It was a punishment-based push, and it really became a reward-based push.
When the new ownership group came in, they said, we’re here to stay, we’re here to be a competitor, we’re going to make it interesting. And all of the sudden, slowly but surely, people started coming out. This past season, we sold out 16 games, which is more than the previous two seasons in total.
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