by Mike Chen on 05/17/09 at 02:10 AM ET
When I sent Jim Balsillie’s spokesman the question about how a Hamilton team might affect the Buffalo market, they declined to directly answer. However, Jeff Klein of the New York Times gave it a good thorough look:
But the Sabres are always in a very precarious financial position, given Buffalo’s shrinking size and awful economy. The Sabres (company name Niagara Frontier Hockey, L.P.) depend on the roughly 15 percent of their business that comes from the Niagara Peninsula, all the way up the Golden Horseshoe to Hamilton. Never mind that after almost 40 years most of the Canadians who attend Sabres games do not root for Buffalo; the main thing is that they’re helping to fill the HSBC Arena.
It would take an enormous indemnification payment to the Sabres to make them give up as much as 15 percent of their annual business — an amount that Balsillie is trying to get out of paying by trying to strike down the N.H.L. territory rules in a Phoenix court. Unless the Sabres — who were themselves being operated by the league and at risk of folding before Golisano bought them in 2003 — get that kind of big money, they will never approve a Coyotes move to Hamilton that could easily drive them out of business.
Anyone interested in the situation—or if you’re a fan of the Buffalo Sabres—should read the entire thing here.
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