From Sports Business Journal this morning, we have a profile and interview with original Nashville Predators, and current Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold. Besides digging into the current state of business in Minnesota and the NHL overall, Leipold shows a savvy for tapping into today’s political climate in order to promote the game:
Do you have any suggestions for the president-elect?
LEIPOLD: I’d like to get him out to some hockey games. I understand he likes basketball, but let’s get him out to some of the Capitals games and see if he can’t be as excited about hockey as he is about basketball.
Over to you, Mr. Leonsis...
Thanks to the folks at SportsBusinessJournal.com for making this article (normally for subscribers only) available to our readers today. It’s always interesting to hear from ownership about the economics of the game, particularly with quotes like this: ”...the value of the asset is getting larger and larger even though your losses may continue. That’s not a normal business model.”
PJ Swenson of the seminal hockey blog Sharkspage features a lengthy, insightful interview with Washington Capitals owner (and hero of the hockey blogosphere) Ted Leonsis, in advance of the Caps-Sharks game this evening. Taste a couple of juicy morsels:
What I said would happen happened. We have to embrace the blogosphere. It is like oxegen[sic], get used to it. It will be the best thing for us. There is no gatekeeper to the coverage. Some of the bloggers write bad things about us all the time, some of them are mad, some of them curse. Alright, that is what makes the internet. Our team is doing well, the business is very strong, the brand is being built. The more the merrier. It is a big tent, come on in.
Our league went through a gut check during the lockout. We proved that you can do something dramatic and end up with a growing, vibrant business. Every newspaper company in the world was writing that the NHL was irrelevant and we were going out of business. Now the tables have turned. It is the newspaper companies that are on their way to oblivion and the NHL is growing.
That second quote is especially interesting. Whenever the league office comes out with positive news related to the business aspects of the NHL, the MSM and most blogs immediately set about explaining away the claims and painting a picture of gloom and doom. Leonsis, on the contrary, continues to make a case that although challenges are out there, the NHL as a business is doing pretty well these days.
Since moving into the Prudential Center last year, the New Jersey Devils have been mired in a dispute with the Newark, New Jersey Housing Authority over millions of dollars in rent. Now, apparently, other parties are claiming that the team isn’t paying their bills:
Councilman Augusto Amador said the city should take action if the Devils refuse to pay an outstanding utility bill. The Devils owe the city $41,625 for installation of sewer lines, according to the Newark Housing Authority, which owns the arena.
“If they continue not to pay, I’m sure we’ll consider ... shutting off the water, just like any normal business entity in the city,” said Amador, a commissioner for the authority. “Enough is enough.”
Besides the rent and utility fees, various contractors and subcontractors are claiming lack of payment, as well as small businesses which were forced to relocate so “The Rock” could be built.
Tip o’ the hat to The Business of Sports for this one.
David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail looks at the plummeting Canadian dollar and its impact on NHL franchises north of the border. I think the Montreal Canadiens president, Pierre Boivin, however, goes a bit too far with the Chicken Little act with this line:
“We’ll have to see what kind of growth the U.S. teams have, but it’s not impossible that NHL revenue will be flat this year,” Boivin said. “Of course we’re concerned by the dollar’s drop. To be competitive, we need a dollar at par.”
The term “at par”, means of course an exchange rate of 1 to 1, a situation which has existed for only a few months in the last several decades. While currency risk is an issue that the NHL could certainly handle better as a league, methinks Mr. Boivin is waxing melodramatic here.
For all those clamoring to get the NHL back on ESPN, consider the following in light of the deal announced this week that adds college football’s Bowl Championship Series to the ESPN/ABC lineup from 2011 to 2014:
With this deal ESPN/ABC will now televise 29 of the 34 match-ups. Check it out for yourself at this year’s bowl television schedule. Go ahead and plug in ESPN for every Fox telecast except the Cotton Bowl. Bowl season monopoly—thy name is ESPN.
That from Deadspin writer Clay Travis.
With all that college football programming in December and early January, when exactly would they find time to feature the NHL, beyond late-night slots on ESPN2? And once pitchers and catchers report for spring training, baseball will rule the airwaves at the self-proclaimed World Wide Leader.
I’ve long thought that a better way for the NHL to creep back into relevance is to get the Blackhawks on WGN, a channel that’s already included in most basic cable packages. The fact that they’re an exciting young team doesn’t hurt, either.
As I understand it the Hawks are on local WGN in the Chicago area, so what would it take to get them on nationally, like the Chicago Bulls?
For all those Montreal Canadiens fans stuffing the ballot box for the NHL All-Star Game, I have an added suggestion. Consider a write-in vote in the Western Conference for J.P. Dumont, a Montreal native who is enjoying a great start with 17 points in 15 games so far. His 15 assists have him tied for 2nd in the league with Sid Crosby.
Je vous remercie de votre vote
Photo Courtesy Paul Nicholson
J.P. has managed to increase his points-per-game rate each season since 2002-3 when he was with Buffalo, and is now the key playmaker in Nashville’s offensive attack.
If you think you’ve seen an unusually high number of late-game comebacks already in this NHL season, this morning’s Tennessean validates your hunch:
According to Elias Sports Bureau, five road teams have already rallied to victory after trailing by three goals, one more time than that happened during the entire 2007-08 season.
Nine teams this season have a winning percentage of .500 or better when allowing the first goal, which is nine more than finished the 2007-08 season in such a position.
A nice piece by John Glennon that also attempts to identify potential causes for this wild & wacky action.
From an NHL press release earlier today:
NEW YORK (November 10, 2008)—New York Rangers forwards Scott Gomez, Chris Drury and Markus Naslund, defenseman Wade Redden and goaltender Henrik Lundqvist show off some of this season’s classic suits and talk about the art of hockey in the December issue of Men’s Journal.
The issue, featuring the seven-page “Suited Up” spread, hits newsstands Tuesday, Nov. 11.
Men’s Journal is a general interest, active lifestyle monthly magazine that focuses on adventure, travel, equipment, sports, fitness, health, style and ideas.
We all know how the fashion show in Slap Shot worked out, I can’t wait to see this…
Care to pony up $25,000, along with 6,999 of your closest friends, to become a part owner of an NHL team? That’s the pitch being made at 7K Hockey, a site which purportedly is offering just such an opportunity to the public as of today. I’m not going to provide a link there, as it looks instead like a credit card scam, trying to hook people with the chance to lock down spots for a $500 deposit (why would a site supposedly looking for investors ask for CC info?), so watch out if this shows up in your email soon. From the site:
7k Hockey is an investment group based out of Vancouver, B.C. It has made 40 percent of its ownership proposal, to acquire a National Hockey League franchise, available to the general public. The 40 percent ownership represents 7000 individual owners. These units become available on Friday, November 7, 2008 at 2. p.m. PST.
I’m sure the current NHL Board of Governors would be thrilled to open the gates for a mob like this! No specifics are included as to who the majority investors might be, and the FAQ features questions such as…
From the New York Times hockey blog, Slap Shot, we have a look at the greatest division in the NHL:
We continue the series of early-season posts from our crew of independent bloggers, following up our partisan survey of the Atlantic and Northeast divisions with the outlook from America’s heartland, that great, pulsing Central Division.
Bloggers covering four of the five Central teams (including two of us here) chime in with thoughts. Due to widespread systemic literacy issues in Chicago, no Blackhawks submission was available.