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Anschutz Decision Against The Kings

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.

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Comments

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While your article presents a valid theory, it does not logically make sense.  The owner of the Kings also owns the Staples center.  I don’t think Anschutz profited more from the Kings playing in Europe over playing at home, but I do believe in the OPPOSITE.  Anschutz most likely LOST money in having the Kings play two home games on the road because not only did he lose MORE revenue from the Kings playing at Staples, but also incurred even more costs to get the Kings to play over there (travel, hotels, new ice, etc). 

The Kings lost two home games but not only that, the owners also lost money by bringing the Kings over to play in their arenas.

Posted by Ryan from Los Angeles, CA on 10/10/11 at 04:13 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

^^ Maybe direct costs to the team are going to be higher by traveling to Europe than staying at home, but still certainly less for Anschutz than for other team owners, given his ownership of the venues. And of course, he’s showcasing those arenas in relatively high profile sporting events, which I’m sure is only going to help AEG in the long run.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 10/10/11 at 05:23 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

That is the problem.  What is good for AEG hurts the Los Angeles Kings in this case.  The owner is making decisions that hurt his hockey team.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 10/10/11 at 05:55 PM ET

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Owners make decisions all the time that aren’t entirely in the interest of victories. They’re just not all so transparent, or involve such strange circumstances. These teams are businesses. And anyway, LA has become big spenders of late, making their team more competitive. They afford it by making lots of money. Also, I think you downplay the in-play advantages of being the home team: last change, last face-off entry, choice of shootout order, etc. 

“It isn`t good for the NHL when an owner makes financial decisions against the best interests of his team.” I’m not sure I’d presume that applies here.

Posted by freewheeler on 10/10/11 at 06:50 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

The majority of ticket revenue comes to the Kings from season ticket sales.  The price for season tickets likely doesn`t change it there are 39 regular season home dates or 40 or 41.  There is little marginal increase in revenue for holding a 40th or 41st home game under those circumstances.  However, if we hold the game somewhere else then all ticket sales will be a marginal revenue increase.  Even if it makes the team worse by giving up home dates.

Freewheeler.  I think your point is that we are so used to owners making decisions to screw their teams that because Anschutz makes other decisions that don`t screw his team (allowing them to re-sign Doughty or trade for Richards) that makes it OK if he screws the team on this decision.  On this decision he screws his team.  The fact that he doesn`t screw them on all decisions does not make this decision right.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 10/10/11 at 08:19 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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