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Phoenix Coyotes file for Chap 11 protection

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Another possible reason why the NHL continues to fail in grasping a national tv contract is because the NHL has never really been about hype, while hype is something national broadcasting station like NBC thrive off of. Hockey coverage has always been very basic: broadcast a simple skybox view of the game, pan left and right, interview a couple players at intermission, a little graphic scoreboard at the time and a commentator who provides nothing more then basic play-by-play. Any attempt to hype up hockey coverage in the past has been met with dismal acceptance from the traditional fan base, the fox puck was a bust, animated scoreboards were a bust, marketing player rivalries have been a bust, flashy all-star games have been a bust, even the alternative 'behind-the-net' camera angle during PPs has seen dismal reception.

To draw a comparison, think of the NFL and how hype operates there. The Superbowl itself is a hype machine. A couple years ago NBC spent some outrageous amount of money to give a panoramic shot of the game. The first down line was a hit, so is almost any new broadcasting feature added. The game on the field stays relatively the same, but it's presentation through the tv is always being hyped with new features. Such a strategy just doesn't seem to work in the NHL.

Sliding a little off topic here...but this is all very true. Hard to see how it will change. The NFL is almost made for TV. Usually lots of scoring, easy to follow the ball. Hockey is the opposite of that. One thing that may help hockey is the increase in HD broadcasting - it is so much better to watch that way, the more it spreads the more folks may catch on. It also helps that youth leagues are spreading. The more kids play it, the more fans will watch and buy tickets 10+ years later. It will take many years to build a fanbase that will support a bigger TV contract. Give us a little time to get there, eh? ;)

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So now the league says they've been running the Coyotes since November? I thought Bettman said the NHL didn't have any hand in the Coyotes operations.

As the plot thickens, it gives me the dickens, reminiscent of Charles. (If anyone knows where that quote comes from, you get a gold star.)

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As much as Bettman loves to talk out of both sides of his mouth, one would have a hard time believing what he says as fact. But if the league was running the team if they were going to give no further financial assistance after February........ who was paying the bills and running them then?

Too many questions, not enough answers.

2 owners, 13 years no profits, 4 first round exits, and any good players they have get traded..... except Shane Doan.

Is it really going to work?

The big question is..... how long is failure tolerated?

I went though this 2 years ago..... and today, I'm still not convinced the NHL is going to stay here.

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He tried to Purchase the Pens as well, which was also a huge media frenzy. And I believe he was interested in Atlanta as well, but talks never went far.

I don't remember Atlanta, but Nashville was one that J.B. tried to purchase. The Preds fans knew he would do everything in his power to move the team to Southern Ontario and they came up with a "Save the Preds" campaign. I think I remember him trying to purchase the Pens as well, along with a few others, like Mark Cuban for instance.

I think just maybe if the 'Yotes can string up a winning season again, fans would come calling back like they did in the 90's. People seem to forget the Coyotes were popular in Phoenix the first few seasons, even with an arena that had badly obstructed views. Guys like Roenick and Keith Tychuck, and Kahabubulin in net made them pretty fun to watch back in those days. I'm thinking back to '99 when they had a 3-1 or 3-2 series lead on I believe the Blues and still lost the series. That kind of "put a spell on them" that still glooms over the franchise to this day.

I keep reading that despite the beautiful building they play in, moving the team out to Glendale was a mistake. Perhaps had the U.S. Airways center been built with the NHL in mind, attendance would be a little bit higher? and not every home game against the Wings, Habs, Leafs, Hawks, etc would have 70% more of their fans in attendance?

Hopefully, they can work something out and stay in Phoenix. Of course, "the real hockey fans" would dissaprove of this message :rolleyes: which brings me to this point, reading other comments on various forums that say things like "hockey down south is a joke" and the menataility of these "real hockey fans" that the "north and Canada markets are God so bow down to them" attitude is quite old and childish and needs to stop.

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Interesting take from the former Ottawa owner that offers a different point of view than you typically hear from up north:

Ex-Sens owner defends NHL stance on Balsillie

By Don CampbellMay 7, 2009Comments (19)

OTTAWA - The burgeoning battle between Jim Balsillie and National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman is as much about the league maintaining its current number of Canadian franchises as it is about adding a seventh in southern Ontario, says a former owner of the Ottawa Senators.

So as much as Rod Bryden thinks Jim Balsillie would represent an excellent addition to the group of NHL owners, he also thinks the future of smaller-market Canadian teams is tied to league rules that restrict the relocation of franchises without league approval.

Bryden, who owned the Senators from 1993 through 2003, said Thursday he is keeping close tabs on the feud between Bettman and Research in Motion co-CEO Balsillie, who has made a conditional offer to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and relocate the team to southern Ontario.

The Coyotes are in the hands of a court in Arizona, their owner Jerry Moyes pushing the club into bankruptcy, while the league considers itself the operators of the team and wants to sell the Coyotes to Chicago real estate magnate Jerry Reinsdorf, who also owns Chicago's Major League Baseball White Sox and National Basketball Association Bulls.

Balsillie has put an offer of $212.5 million US on the table, conditional on the team being relocated.

League rules require a two-thirds approval from the board of governors to move a franchise. The court will first have to decide if the bankruptcy is even valid.

Bryden said those rules protect the likes of the Senators, Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames.

"It is wrong for NHL franchises, at least the ones in Canada, to be in the position where an owner can just up and sell to the highest bidder," said Bryden, now president and chief executive officer of Plasco Energy Group, a local firm developing energy production from household waste. "The Ottawa Senators would have been worth more in other places, but the team is important to Ottawa.

"I would say the folks in Ottawa would be very upset if they really thought they could lose their team just because there was someone out there who would provide the highest bid and relocate it.

"Let's just suppose the owner here didn't want to put any more money into the franchise and didn't want to be involved any more. It would be terrible to think that they could up and seek the highest bidder anywhere."

Creditors forced the Senators into bankruptcy back in early 2003 after a last-ditch attempt to bring a new investor on board failed.

The move cost Bryden both the team and then the Corel Centre. Through the bankruptcy, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk was able to purchase the arena for just $27.5 million (the building cost more than $220 million to build and had an appraised value of $155.5 million)_and hockey club for about $100 million.

At the end of the day, the sale price did little to satisfy the list of some 125 creditors, who were owed millions, and Melnyk walked away with the arena for less than 10 cents on each dollar of debt.

The situation in Phoenix differs from the one that took place in Ottawa in that the Coyotes' owner sought bankruptcy protection while the Senators were forced into it.

However, the league is trying to keep the Coyotes in Phoenix just as it did in Ottawa, Buffalo, Nashville and Pittsburgh during difficult times.

Senators ownership and management is withholding comment on the Coyotes' situation. Bryden is not.

He said people should not judge the NHL, assuming it does not want a second team in southern Ontario. Rather, the league should be praised for attempting to maintain existing franchises, Bryden said.

"Instead of people saying the big, bad NHL doesn't want another Canadian franchise, people should be looking at these rules and how they work for the Canadian franchises especially.

"The league gives preference to the communities where the team is very important. The league cares about cities that put their heart and souls into supporting the franchises. It doesn't want teams moving to another city just because that city will provide the highest bid. Ottawa is one of the markets very much protected by these rules.

"That's really what the league is going to court to fight for. If a team is just allowed to go to where the highest bid is, who's next? Edmonton? Calgary?

"Why not buy the Ottawa team and move it to somewhere it may be more valuable? Why not buy the Edmonton team and move it? You can't use bankruptcy to dodge the league rules.

"That said, Jim Balsillie would be a marvellous new owner. He would be a great addition."

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Another possible reason why the NHL continues to fail in grasping a national tv contract is because the NHL has never really been about hype, while hype is something national broadcasting station like NBC thrive off of. Hockey coverage has always been very basic: broadcast a simple skybox view of the game, pan left and right, interview a couple players at intermission, a little graphic scoreboard at the time and a commentator who provides nothing more then basic play-by-play. Any attempt to hype up hockey coverage in the past has been met with dismal acceptance from the traditional fan base, the fox puck was a bust, animated scoreboards were a bust, marketing player rivalries have been a bust, flashy all-star games have been a bust, even the alternative 'behind-the-net' camera angle during PPs has seen dismal reception.

To draw a comparison, think of the NFL and how hype operates there. The Superbowl itself is a hype machine. A couple years ago NBC spent some outrageous amount of money to give a panoramic shot of the game. The first down line was a hit, so is almost any new broadcasting feature added. The game on the field stays relatively the same, but it's presentation through the tv is always being hyped with new features. Such a strategy just doesn't seem to work in the NHL.

Great points, Hoyle. They leave me to wonder about the hockey learning curve for new fans and while I'm a bit mystified thinking about it, I think I can throw perhaps another good theory as to why the league is struggling to grow.

When my girlfriend and I started dating in '05, I took her to her first hockey game ever, and she had watched very little (if any, I can't recall) on TV prior. She immediately picked up on the game and understood the basics of the game by 9:30 that night (in regards the lines on the ice, the trapezoid, offside, icing, penalties, etc). So she immediately gained interest in hockey and said that in 20+ years of watching football, she felt like she learned more about hockey in that one game than she did after all those years of watching football, college and pro.

Having said that, it took her quite a while longer to understand and appreciate the more intricate facets of the game (matchups, flushing guys out, controlling the NZ, forcing turnovers, the importance of "good sticks" in your own zone, when a good time for a fight is, cycling, screens, setting up one-timers, 2-1-2, etc etc etc). Now, she can sense it a few seconds ahead of a big scoring chance because she's had time to learn more about the game. Only having her as a reference, it seems to me like the learning curve is very steep to start off with, but then levels off almost parallel the x-axis. So, my theory is it's easy for people to get into the game initially, but then struggle to learn past that. If you don't have someone sitting by you pointing out all the little things that go on, I can see how people can lose interest.

As much as Bettman loves to talk out of both sides of his mouth, one would have a hard time believing what he says as fact. But if the league was running the team if they were going to give no further financial assistance after February........ who was paying the bills and running them then?

Too many questions, not enough answers.

2 owners, 13 years no profits, 4 first round exits, and any good players they have get traded..... except Shane Doan.

Is it really going to work?

The big question is..... how long is failure tolerated?

I went though this 2 years ago..... and today, I'm still not convinced the NHL is going to stay here.

One word: marketing. The Preds' biggest competitor is the Titans. If the Canes can manage to grow like they have in just over a decade in the heart of the college basketball universe, the Preds can do it against an NFL team. I hope you guys keep your team and I believe you will if they can just spread the word. A lot of that lays on the hands of the fans too though. Hockey newbs need someone to explain the game to them. I've personally known 4 people who had very little exposure to hockey before I took them to their first game, and 3 of them became instant fans. The fourth has no interest in sports period, so no real loss there. Love your name btw ;) Good luck to your Preds next year.

I'll stop rambling now since I've gone way off topic.

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This brings up the long term issue, but I'm really just referring to this case. Balsillie's working for his own best interest, not the league's. He wants the ego stroke of thousands of Canadians referring to him as a god (http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/blog/puck_daddy/post/Winnipeg-fan-smiles-at-the-demise-of-Coyotes-Be;_ylt=Au2oofLeksQ_iFe6pyV.Hk5_ppJ4?urn=nhl,161957' target="_blank">yes, really - at least one[/post]). His odds of getting away with this are near zero.

Everyone has their own self-interest involved and while it may look like Balsillie is just thinking of himself, the broader picture would suggest otherwise. With the economy the way it is, the city of Hamilton could possibly see some drastic overhaul. Traditionally it has always been a steel town (Steelco and Dofasco). Steelco has pretty much gone under and Dofasco is starting to go through hard times as well. A lot of jobs have been lost and for the first time the city is seriously contemplating an industry shift. All it takes is a man with a lot of money and a vision to revitalize the downtown, which appears to be Balsillie's goal seeing that he has controlled a lot of rights over the city's entertainment square. Adding a pro hockey team would only kickstart this change in a major way. As for the rest of the league, a move from Phoenix to Hamilton would do two things. One it would remove one of the biggest revenue sharing receivers in the league, thus lightening the load on CBA's "bailout" system. Two it would provide the league with another team that would more than likely add further resources to the revenue sharing pot making it easier to keep the remaining financially struggling markets afloat.

I guess I'm looking at this more from a regular guy/hockey fan perspective, not from a what's best for the league perspective. What's best for the league is a moot argument here, there are many other considerations than simply revenue generation. The owners decide this, and Bettman serves at the will of the owners. I don't disagree with most of your statement, except that Balsillie's efforts are definitely not appealing - the ends don't justify the means.

None of us really know what the BoG thinks about Balsillie's actions, but we can possibly conclude one thing, their opinion is not unanimous. It appears that some owners see Balsillie as a maverick trying to push his way into the league, while other owners are wondering why a man with such large amounts of money to throw away isn't already in the league. This debacle is just as personal to Bettman as it is to Balsillie.

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Interesting take from the former Ottawa owner that offers a different point of view than you typically hear from up north:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Sens+owner+defends+stance+Balsillie/1574198/story.html' target="_blank">http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Sports/Sens+o...4198/story.html[/post]

Where were these protection rules when Quebec City, Winnipeg and Hartford were be sold?

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Everyone has their own self-interest involved and while it may look like Balsillie is just thinking of himself, the broader picture would suggest otherwise. With the economy the way it is, the city of Hamilton could possibly see some drastic overhaul. Traditionally it has always been a steel town (Steelco and Dofasco). Steelco has pretty much gone under and Dofasco is starting to go through hard times as well. A lot of jobs have been lost and for the first time the city is seriously contemplating an industry shift. All it takes is a man with a lot of money and a vision to revitalize the downtown, which appears to be Balsillie's goal seeing that he has controlled a lot of rights over the city's entertainment square. Adding a pro hockey team would only kickstart this change in a major way. As for the rest of the league, a move from Phoenix to Hamilton would do two things. One it would remove one of the biggest revenue sharing receivers in the league, thus lightening the load on CBA's "bailout" system. Two it would provide the league with another team that would more than likely add further resources to the revenue sharing pot making it easier to keep the remaining financially struggling markets afloat.

None of us really know what the BoG thinks about Balsillie's actions, but we can possibly conclude one thing, their opinion is not unanimous. It appears that some owners see Balsillie as a maverick trying to push his way into the league, while other owners are wondering why a man with such large amounts of money to throw away isn't already in the league. This debacle is just as personal to Bettman as it is to Balsillie.

Hamilton is also in the crossroads of Buffalo and Toronto. 20-25% of the Sabres direct revenue comes from Southern Ontario. The Sabres and are still looking at decreased revenues and an attack on an area that has traditionally been their major and only realistic secondary market.

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Where were these protection rules when Quebec City, Winnipeg and Hartford were be sold?

Obviously they weren't in effect then. There were also a bunch of others that didn't move in that period that came close to it, like Edmonton, too. But maybe, just maybe these policies came in response from those very cases of franchises being moved or almost having been moved? Subsequently Buffalo, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and even Ottawa have been saved from being bought and moved away. Too little too late for the previous three, but that isn't to say that maybe it is what was needed.

Part of the point I think he's trying to make too is that if Balsillie gets his way you might see a couple of teams move back up to Canada now, but that it then sets a precedent where once the US economy comes back (which it will) you may see a few rich Americans turn around and buy some of the Canadian franchises and move them back down again in the very same way to some new US markets.

Personally, I hate seeing any fanbase lose their team, and that's actually one of the things I didn't like about the Canes moving here from Hartford. Shortly beforehand I had just lost one of my favorite teams, albeit temporarily (the Cleveland Browns). I would have much preferred to have gotten an expansion team, but being a hockey fan first and foremost I'll take what I can get. But hey, I'm not against Phoenix moving if that's what the league decides to do, either, or especially against a team that can be put into a market in Canada where the team can succeed. I just feel he makes a good point that you want to look beyond simply the emotions of moving a team or how well the team may succeed and more at some of the unintended consequences that may come with it.

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Hamilton is also in the crossroads of Buffalo and Toronto. 20-25% of the Sabres direct revenue comes from Southern Ontario. The Sabres and are still looking at decreased revenues and an attack on an area that has traditionally been their major and only realistic secondary market.

Every time the Sabres indirectly block a move to Hamilton there's a reduction in fan support for the Sabres in Southern Ontario anyways. Whether or not Hamilton gets a team the Sabres are going to take a hit.

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Obviously they weren't in effect then. There were also a bunch of others that didn't move in that period that came close to it, like Edmonton, too. But maybe, just maybe these policies came in response from those very cases of franchises being moved or almost having been moved? Subsequently Buffalo, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and even Ottawa have been saved from being bought and moved away. Too little too late for the previous three, but that isn't to say that maybe it is what was needed.

Part of the point I think he's trying to make too is that if Balsillie gets his way you might see a couple of teams move back up to Canada now, but that it then sets a precedent where once the US economy comes back (which it will) you may see a few rich Americans turn around and buy some of the Canadian franchises and move them back down again in the very same way to some new US markets.

Personally, I hate seeing any fanbase lose their team, and that's actually one of the things I didn't like about the Canes moving here from Hartford. Shortly beforehand I had just lost one of my favorite teams, albeit temporarily (the Cleveland Browns). I would have much preferred to have gotten an expansion team, but being a hockey fan first and foremost I'll take what I can get. But hey, I'm not against Phoenix moving if that's what the league decides to do, either, or especially against a team that can be put into a market in Canada where the team can succeed. I just feel he makes a good point that you want to look beyond simply the emotions of moving a team or how well the team may succeed and more at some of the unintended consequences that may come with it.

This argument is a bit of a tough sell, because what many people seem to be forgetting is that the Yotes are on the verge of moving because the team has lost 70M in the past two years with very little signs of attendance growth. We can speculate all we want about the reasons, but in the end the numbers don't lie. If moving the team to Glendale was such a bad move why didn't the NHL and Bettman himself prevent the move? If it's "so obvious" that Glendale was a mistake and seeing that Bettman claims to have full athority over where a team can be, why didn't he do something then? If it's so obvious that Jerry Moyes was such a "horrible" owner why did the NHL let him become majority owner of the Coyotes? If we've learned anything about Bettman it's that he has no problem black listing businessmen out of the BoG.

Bettman has done an excellent job at making himself out to be a selfless white knight here to save struggling markets from losing their teams, but deep down he has his own private agenda as well: to make hockey a nationally recognized sport across America. There's a stark contrast between the teams Bettman has saved, and the ones he hasn't that transcends any debate over nationalism or entitlement to the game. The Jets, Nordiques, North Stars, and Whalers all shared something in common; none of them were Bettman's creation nor would their removal impede on his vision. It's not that Bettman had any disdain for these teams, it's that saving them would serve no purpose in his vision of the NHL and subsequently be a waste of time and resources. When Winnipeg moved to Phoenix no one was questioning Bettman's credibility as commissioner because the survival of the Jets had no baring on it (same with Hartford, Quebec City, and Minnesota). The issue with most of those teams had to do with the inability to quickly build new arenas and/or bridge business ties with major local sponsors to generate the revenue needed to compete with rapidly growing player salaries. Why were player salaries rising? Because Bettman was taking the NHL to a corporate level (youtube old NHL games from the 80s and notice how white the boards still were). The corporatization of the NHL also turned the league into a competition of "Who has the richest friends?". Cities like Winnipeg, and Quebec City didn't have many rich friends to offer, so If the owners of these teams wanted to move, it made reasonable "business" sense to Bettman. Sure many people hated Bettman, but no one was questioning the credibility of the future he envisioned for the NHL. However letting a historic monumental team like Edmonton move would have certainly raised a lot of eyebrows, the same could be said about Pittsburgh.

Now let's look at the teams Bettman HAS saved. Ottawa, Nashville, Florida, Atlanta, and now an attempt to save Phoenix from relocation. All of these teams have something in common as well; they were all brought into the league by Gary Bettman. If any one of these teams were to relocate it would immediately throw Bettman's credibility into question: "is he the right man for the job?", "is his vision viable?". Buffalo is probably the one team that stands outside everything, although it does conveniently represent the plug that prevents owners from exploring Southern Ontario further.

The bottom line I see is....

If a team wants to move because of a lack in corporate resources Bettman is OK with it, but if a team wants to move because of a lack in fan support he's not OK with it.

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