by PuckStopsHere on 10/10/11 at 01:56 PM ET
This season the Los Angeles Kings are one of the four teams that started the season in Europe. They are different from the other teams that are starting the season overseas because both of the games they played were counted as Los Angeles Kings home games. That means that while most teams play 41 games in their home stadium in a regular season and historically teams that start the season overseas play 40, the Kings will play 39. This is a bit of a disadvantage for Los Angeles. Big parts of home ice advantage come from familiarity with the surroundings and from a friendly crowd. Neither of these exists in Europe. While Los Angeles had two overseas games counted as home ones (instead of the traditional one home game and one away), both of the New York Rangers overseas games count as away games for the team. This shows us the level of negotiation that is involved in league events - even something as simple as four overseas games.
The New York Rangers are a marquee NHL team. They play in the largest media market in North America. Having them involved in the European games is a big draw for European fans. However they were reluctant to give up a home start for their European trip. Fortunately for the NHL there is an owner who gains from sending his team overseas and is willing to give up home starts to placate the Rangers. This owner is Philip Anschutz of the Los Angeles Kings. He owns and has business interests involved in many different hockey arenas and entertainment venues worldwide. They are the operator for the Stockholm Arena in Sweden and they built the O2 Arena in Berlin. These are the arenas where the Los Angeles Kings played their two overseas “home” games.
Philip Anschutz is willing to choose profits from his overseas arena holdings over the best interests of the Los Angeles Kings. This is a minor tradeoff, but a tradeoff nonetheless. If Los Angeles hopes to win their division or compete for the conference title, they need every advantage that they can get. Having two fewer games at home than every other team in the league is a disadvantage. It is a disadvantage that Anschutz is willing to accept because it is good for his other financial holdings. It isn`t good for the NHL when an owner makes financial decisions against the best interests of his team. This happened in a minor way for the Los Angeles Kings at the beginning of the 2011/12 season.
Add a Comment
Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.
Most Recent Blog Posts
About The Puck Stops Here
Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.
Why am I blogging? I want to.
Why are you reading it? ???