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puckhead63

Troubles in Nashville

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Canes are currently 15th in attendance at home this year

As for Nashville - they had higher attendance last year than New Jersey , St Louis , Washington , Chicago , and the Islanders

This Year over all of the ones from last year and add Phoenix and Boston.

Give Nashville some time -NHL should focus more on why The Islanders , Washington , St Louis, Chicago and this Year Boston have such sucky attendance - in so called Traditional Hockey Markets in major Metropolitan areas -

Pretty Disgraceful if you ask me.

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this is the part i don't understand, what is the difference in corporate support and family's?? to me if you have *edit* in the seats then does it really matter who paid for the tickets?? we have had some phenominal attendance figures this season. if corporations aren't interested then that has more to do with the marketing department and they job they do. too often a teams marketing personnel act like order takers and not the salesmen they are suppose to be.

after having a corp suite at 5 county stadium one year i chose not to renew. i did this by simply not sending in any paperwork or calling to request a suite. in a normal business scenario someone should have called and asked why and what could they do. that was three years ago, finally this year i get a call from that organization asking me if i would be interested in renewing and what could they do for me. i think too many in the marketing department are sitting by the phone waiting on it to ring instead of pounding the pavement. the forget this isn't toronto.

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Here is another article about Nashville from Sports Business News.com. Interesting comments from the Carolina Hurricanes.....

Lost in the avalanche of sports business news Thursday and Friday relating to the Los Angeles Galaxy’s signing of David Beckham several reports from Nashville on the future of the NHL’s Nashville Predators. The Predators having a good season on the ice are not having as much fun off the ice. The franchise reportedly is facing serious challenges both in selling tickets and more importantly in reaching Nashville’s corporate base. One of the NHL’s franchises located in the American southeast appears to have an uncertain future in their current home.

When the National Hockey League awarded the City of Nashville a franchise, the Predators ownership group received a very lucrative deal. The city of Nashville paid 31.25% of the $80-million fee to join the league. The city also absorbs operating losses from the arena, despite the fact that the Gaylord Entertainment Center is operated by a subsidiary of the team.

And the City of Nashville is the gift that keeps on giving to the Predators. In the last six months taxpayers agreed to $8 million in renovations to the Gaylord Entertainment Center which included a new state-of-the art taxpayer paid scoreboard. The breakdown according to taxpayer records – a $3.6 million scoreboard, a $2.4 million digital control room and $1.85 million in other facility improvements. The current lease (the one the team may try to break) guarantees that any loses the arena accrues as a direct result of the arena operations are covered by taxpayers. The teams’ lease also allows the Predators to keep a significant portion of the revenue generated by the arena.

"It's a very positive deal for them because they're not placed at any risk associated with the operation of the facility itself," Metro Finance Director David Manning told The Tennessean.

On the surface the Predators are filling more than 80 percent of the Gaylord Entertainment Center the teams’ home. However when the franchise averages over the last four plus seasons (the previous four complete NHL seasons and the 21 home games the Predators have played this year) stands barely above 14,000 fans per game, the challenges the Predators are facing begin to surface.

Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold announced he believed for the franchise to remain economically viable, he had to sell 40 percent of the franchise for as much as $50 million. Given that the City of Nashville paid more than $25 million of the Predators $80 million franchise fee, in essence if Leipold managed to sell 40 percent of the team for $50 million he would own 60 percent of the team for pennies on the dollar.

Last Tuesday, the Predators first in the NHL Central Division and second in the NHL’s Western Conference met the Anaheim Ducks (the team with the best record in the NHL). Two of the NHL’s best teams and less than 12,000 in attendance caught Leipold’s attention.

"Attendance has been an issue for six or seven years," Leipold told The Tennessean.

"I think our players were very disappointed in the attendance when the No. 1 team is playing the No. 2 team in the league."

According to The Tennessean the Predators have an opt-out clause in their 30-year lease with the City of Nashville (the owners of the teams’ arena) if the team isn’t happy with their attendance. If the Predators exercise their out-clause they would be free to move to another city at the end of the 2008-09 season

The Predators out-clause, according to the Tennessean is directly linked towards total ticket sales, not number of tickets sold based on building capacity. The club's lease works like this:

• If attendance slips below 14,000 a game this season, the Predators can signal an interest in exercising their Gaylord Entertainment Center escape clause two months after this hockey season ends.

• Average attendance would have to fall below 14,000 a game again in the 2007-08 season for the team to actually leave by October 2008.

And here’s the kicker – the clause is based on paid attendance and according to what Leipold told The Tennessean, the Predators actual paid attendance is actually just over 13,000 per game (the team gives away 1,500 tickets per game).

Leipold told The Tennessean he believes one or more local owners with influence in the community could "open doors to get businesses involved. We don't have that. We need some local owners."

"Who it is will make a lot of difference. ... A country star, someone along those lines, would get attention, and that would work for at least the short term," said Jim Grinstead, publisher of Revenues From Sports Venues (a Nashville based industry trade magazine). "But it depends on how much they are at the games and how involved they are with the team.

"If you bring in the right folks with the right company, those folks will buy a block of tickets, and that company will set an example for others."

One interesting name that hasn’t been offered, but remains a hockey fan is ‘retired’ country superstar Garth Brooks. Brooks has worked with NHL chantries on several initiatives and would be the perfect music icon that could help build the franchises base.

"Local ownership typically makes a difference, particularly if they've got a relationship with the corporate community and with the civic community that they're able to tap into," Marc Ganis president of Chicago based Sportscorp told The Tennessean.

Mark Bloom, a minority owner of the Nashville Kats of the Arena Football League (who also call the Gaylord Entertainment Center home) believes securing local minority ownership for the Predators will be easier said than done.

"I've lived here for 25 years now and one thing I've noticed is that the most prominent families here are not necessarily too interested in sports ownership," Bloom said. "There are a lot of wealthy families here, but traditionally it seems like they've been more involved in philanthropic things. We've never really had a big sports family."

The NHL’s revenue sharing plan (part of the current CBA) dictates that for the 2007-08 season, the Predators must average 13,200 in paid attendance (almost where the team currently stands in the number of paid admissions) or they will miss out on 25 percent of the total money available to them from the league's revenue-sharing plan.

And in 2008-09, the Predators must average 14,000 in paid attendance or they will miss out on 50 percent of the money available to them from the NHL’s revenue sharing plan. The Predators received more than $10 million in revenue sharing from the NHL at the end of the 2005-06 season, invaluable capital to a team unable to sell more than 13,000 tickets in a gate driven sports league.

A breakdown of the Predators ticket base painted a picture as to what the challenge is. On average most NHL teams believe 60 percent of their ticket base is corporate (businesses) with the remaining 40 percent individuals (fans). The Predators ticket base is 70 percent individuals (fans) and 30 percent corporate (businesses).

“That’s why you see the upper bowl filled and the lower bowl sometimes half empty,†Steve Violetta, executive vice president of business affairs for the Predators told The Nashville City Paper “It is exactly the opposite of other NHL cities.â€

“I’ve had conversations with people in Nashville, but no one was really interested in being part of an ownership group,†Leipold said. “Nashville is a market with significant wealth. It is probably one of the wealthiest cities in America. There are a lot of very wealthy individuals and companies with high net worth’s. We would like to share this with four or five people who each come in for five or 10 percent.â€

“It is not the local ownership that is the problem,†Leipold told the Nashville City Paper. “We need local owners to help us get into the doors of the corporate business community. We have talked on numerous occasions about having local ownership to help with this.â€

Violetta is one of the best in the industry. His background includes working with Roy Malkar to build the Ottawa Senators into one of the strongest NHL business operations and most recently Violetta worked with the San Diego Padres in helping launch Petco Park. In the not too distant future expect Steve Violetta to become president of a major sports franchise.

One of the ideas Violetta tried when he moved from the Padres to the Predators was a sales plan that targeted 250 Nashville based businesses. Of that number, the Predators were able to actually make a 30-minute sales pitch to about 70 of the companies. He said that 10 companies actually bought ticket packages.

“We sent them a pretty nice direct mail piece,†Violetta said. “We sent them each a DVD player with a portable DVD already loaded. Each one had batteries in it. They were all charged up. All they had to do was press play.â€

When one of the industries best and certainly a marquee NHL executive like Steve Violetta managed to only connect with less than 5 percent of a highly targeted market in a well organized campaign its easy to understand the concerns Leipold has about the Predators future in Nashville.

"We were not disappointed in how many we got in to see, but we really weren't happy with the number of people we were able to close," Violetta told The Tennessean Monday.

Violetta and his sales staff followed up their initial campaign by producing 10,000 additional DVD’s (this time without the DVD players included). The 10,000 DVD’s was a case of throwing more good money after a failed idea.

“Part of the challenge of this market is that the Predators have only been around nine years and the Titans have only been around eight years,†Violetta said in The Nashville City Paper. “So there is not a huge history here about how to use pro sports team tickets to drive your business. When you compound the short life span of the franchise with the fact that hockey is not native to the area it makes it very difficult to get the interest of businesses.â€

While the teams overall attendance is around the targeted figure, Violetta is like a salmon swimming upstream. The Predators had 4,000 corporate accounts when the team arrived nine years ago; the number has shrunk to 1,800. Its going backwards not forwards, a dangerous trend for any sports franchise. During the teams first season the teams’ corporate season ticket base accounted for 70 percent of the teams total season ticket base (8,500), today it stands at 2,600 among the lowest corporate ticket bases among NHL franchises. When Nashville was awarded an expansion franchise a condition was the selling of 12,000 season tickets. How little that seems to matter nine years later when the franchise in the not too distant future could be fighting a battle to save its existence. The key isn’t selling the 12,000 tickets in year one, but selling the tickets in year nine.

One of the keys to how the Predators sold the needed 12,000 season tickets nine years ago how proactive the business community was. A task force was organized that helped arrange one-on-one meetings between Predators sales personal and Nashville based businesses.

"It was a very well-organized campaign," said John Stein, Tennessee president of Bank of America.

But season ticket sales according to published reports began to slide as soon as the Predators took the ice. By the 2000-2001 season, the team's third, season-ticket sales fell just below 10,000. In 2003-2004, the team sold 6,532 season tickets.

"Hockey is not a native sport here," Stein said. "I think because of the cultural element of their geography, it's going to be a challenge in many seasons."

The NHL for its part keeps on insisting the NHL can work in the American southeast. One of the shining examples Gary Bettman and company like to use is the Carolina Hurricanes. How convenient an example to make – the team that won last year’s Stanley Cup. However upon closer inspection attendance figures aren’t what they appear to be in Raleigh.

"The boost that we've seen in our attendance … is more due to individual families and fans," said Jason Karmanos, the Hurricanes vice president and assistant general manager. "The corporate support, quite frankly, is lagging."

Assume for argument sake the Predators legitimately challenge for the Stanley Cup. In the best of scenarios the Predators follow the path the Tampa Bay Lightening and the Carolina Hurricanes managed to accomplish – warm weather NHL franchises winning the Stanley Cup. A Stanley Cup would push Predators season ticket sales past 12,000 but unless there is a dramatic change in the attitude towards the Nashville Predators from Nashville’s business community in the not too distant future the National Hockey League will be forced to look at another franchise searching for warmer hockey weather – one where tickets can be sold.

Just wanted to post the link but my PC is acting up

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Nashville isn't going to Hartford, sorry.

Did I post anywhere that the pred's were going to Hartford or even seeing them moveat all . Just thought it was interesting, a team with a great record is doing so poorly with attendance. Maybe you can pick an arguement another time though....thanks, anyway

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Canes are currently 15th in attendance at home this year

As for Nashville - they had higher attendance last year than New Jersey , St Louis , Washington , Chicago , and the Islanders

This Year over all of the ones from last year and add Phoenix and Boston.

Give Nashville some time -NHL should focus more on why The Islanders , Washington , St Louis, Chicago and this Year Boston have such sucky attendance - in so called Traditional Hockey Markets in major Metropolitan areas -

Pretty Disgraceful if you ask me.

agreed...Islanders and the caps and all the others you mentioned are doing poorly. Understand though there will be some ups and downs. Naashville is a new team though, you would think there would be a buzz around the city and the turnout would be great. Guess you can look at it two ways though

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Nashville isn't going to Hartford, sorry.

Did I post anywhere that the pred's were going to Hartford or even seeing them moveat all . Just thought it was interesting, a team with a great record is doing so poorly with attendance. Maybe you can pick an arguement another time though....thanks, anyway

No you didn't come out and say it but most all of your posts are of a "move a team to hartford" or "the southeast doesn't need the NHL" type nature.

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The Lightening?

As in, the Tampa Bay Gradually-Growing-Less-Dark?

Yet more hockey-won't-succeed-in-the-South tripe. The only reason they focus on the potential attendance issues for a new Southern team, as opposed to the definite attendance issues for established Northern teams, is because we keep winning Cups. And this year there's an excellent chance for Atlanta, Carolina, or Nashville to do it again. That must really burn.

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Nashville isn't going to Hartford, sorry.

Did I post anywhere that the pred's were going to Hartford or even seeing them moveat all . Just thought it was interesting, a team with a great record is doing so poorly with attendance. Maybe you can pick an arguement another time though....thanks, anyway

I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, but its not really surprising that Nashville is having some problems with attendance. They have poor marketing, and don't know how to market to the local people. They decided do their cooperate marketing by mail, instead of talking to people individually.

The fact that cooperate sales are low in both regions isn't bad to me, besides this isn't Toronto, so why do they expect sales to be so high in that demograph, because other 'hockey markets' do? They have to win the fans first then worry about the big cheeses. If the regular guys are in, then word spreads imo.

FW, we all know you want a team there, and I understand, so heres to the Hartford Predators! :lol:

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The only reason they focus on the potential attendance issues for a new Southern team, as opposed to the definite attendance issues for established Northern teams, is because we keep winning Cups. And this year there's an excellent chance for Atlanta, Carolina, or Nashville to do it again. That must really burn.

:roll: It has nothing to do with that....

We all know that if you put Nashville's roster in Chicago, Boston, or New York (isles) attendance would be through the roof. The NHL isn't concerned with tradition markets like Chicago, Boston and the Islanders, because the problem is obvious.....All three teams have experienced mismanagement for the past 10 years. This is something Hurricane fans should be able to identify with after the mismanagement experienced during 12,000 attendance rating of the 03-04 seasons. Boston has less of an excuse then Chicago and New York, because the Bruins were first in league for a couple seasons.....but after the way they handled Thornton, I wouldn't be too impressed with my team either.

New Jersey is a unique case and needs to be dealt with. The problem in NJ isn't that people aren't interested in hockey, it's that they're not interested in Devil's games. New York is a Huge market, but everyone in the surrounding area are already Ranger fans. This is a reality, and it's one of the main reasons why Hamilton will never get a team....simply because Everyone in Hamilton are already Leaf fans.

If Nashville can't fill the arena with one of the best teams in the league, it doesn't look good no matter what way you slice it.

And corporate sponsors and supporters are vital to any team.....Families don't fill luxury boxes at games, corporations do. You'd probably be correct to say that family tickets bring in larger revenue then luxury box revenue, but luxury box sales can make the difference between spending 40 million or 36 million on your team's roster.

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The Lightening?

As in, the Tampa Bay Gradually-Growing-Less-Dark?

Yet more hockey-won't-succeed-in-the-South tripe. The only reason they focus on the potential attendance issues for a new Southern team, as opposed to the definite attendance issues for established Northern teams, is because we keep winning Cups. And this year there's an excellent chance for Atlanta, Carolina, or Nashville to do it again. That must really burn.

:roll: :roll: :roll: probaly one of the less thought out posts ive ever read. The reason they focus on Southern attendance issues is well theres southern attendance issues. It's as simple as that when nashville (2nd place in the league as of today) cant fill there tiny arena i believe its 2nd smallest to the lslanders. there are issues up in some northern cities as well but these franchises are also older compared to the southern one's.

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T

We all know that if you put Nashville's roster in Chicago' date=' Boston, or New York (isles) attendance would be through the roof. The NHL isn't concerned with tradition markets like Chicago, Boston and the Islanders, because the problem is obvious.....All three teams have experienced mismanagement for the past 10 years. This is something Hurricane fans should be able to identify with after the mismanagement experienced during 12,000 attendance rating of the 03-04 seasons.

New Jersey is a unique case and needs to be dealt with. The problem in NJ isn't that people aren't interested in hockey, it's that they're not interested in Devil's games. New York is a Huge market, but everyone in the surrounding area are already Ranger fans. This is a reality, and it's one of the main reasons why Hamilton will never get a team....simply because Everyone in Hamilton are already Leaf fans.

If Nashville can't fill the arena with one of the best teams in the league, it doesn't look good no matter what way you slice it.

And corporate sponsors and supporters are vital to any team.....Families don't fill luxury boxes at games, corporations do. You'd probably be correct to say that family tickets bring in larger revenue then luxury box revenue, but luxury box sales can make the difference between spending 40 million or 36 million on your team's roster.[/quote']

Hoyle most of your posts are well thought out - The only part of this answer you are wrong about is the Islanders their attendance had been weak since the late 80's - Being able to walk up and buy Playoff tickets at the gate in early 90's - I know I was a STH - even the attendance figures are off as the corporate seats sold are often empty.

I am not saying that Nashville will definietly succeed but it does need to put a contender on the ice more than a year or two before we decide.

Also Chicago Attendance has been so Miserable for so long I am not sure it should be a Hockey market at all. Most cities would suffer with poor teams -Canadien teams in Hockey are an exception as are NCAA Basketball teams are here in NC.

I wouldnt say that the Canes have no Corporate support as I have been to many games that were "sellouts" that blocks of empty seats were visible in the lower bowl- can only be explained by them being sold to a corp.

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I'm not well versed with the Islanders franchise.....is it possible they have to deal with the same Ranger Fans problem the Devils do?

I still think Chicago's problem is mismanagement....For an original six team, they haven't seen the playoffs in over a decade I don't think.

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yes, butts in the seats are butts in the seats but to caniac97's thoughts, I think there is a big difference between corporate and families/individuals. businesses can probably write off the expenses and smooze their customers and hopefully reward employees for hard/great work but for us little people, its discretionary income we are spending. between the 18 games or so went went to and the playoffs last year, we spent about $4,000. thats a decent chunk of change. I'd be a lot richer(moneywise) without hockey but the experiences and friends we've made by going are wonderful! just my 2 cents worth.

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Corporate sponsors pay to put adds on the boards. Last years Canes/Habs series....there were a lot of Canadian advertisements on the RBC boards.... this is probably what JR is referring too.

I don't know enough about the inner workings of corporate sponsorship, I just know that it is very important for team revenue. I'll leave it at that.

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The Canes Boards are pretty well full up with Advertisement , Plus they have Harris Teeter (supermarket) involved with giveaways , John Deere is a sponsor with the Olympia s (zamboni) painted . Chevy is painted under the ice.

While up north sponsors probably pay more for the advertisement in this valuable real estate - I dont think this is what the younger Karmanos was referring to - He was talking filling up the VIP Ledge which is always empty along with the boxes.

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:roll: :roll: :roll: probaly one of the less thought out posts ive ever read. The reason they focus on Southern attendance issues is well theres southern attendance issues. It's as simple as that when nashville (2nd place in the league as of today) cant fill there tiny arena i believe its 2nd smallest to the lslanders. there are issues up in some northern cities as well but these franchises are also older compared to the southern one's.

Funny, I dont remember writing that. I guess I get to argue with myself.

The worst attendance this year is St. Louis. The next is the Islanders. Then the Blackhawks. Capitals. The 1st place Devils. The Bruins. THEN you get to the newer markets in Phoenix and Nashville. Pittsburgh is in this same range, and they are practically giving away half the arena each night to do that well.

I'd really like to see the articles written by that same source about how much hockey is struggling to attract fans in those markets.

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^^ id like to see the articles that say people are focusing on southern attnedance because they win cups like you said in your first statement.

Sounds like your idea of a debate is 'I know you are, but what am I?'. :twisted:

We've seen one article focusing on a Southern team supposedly having trouble with attendance, even though as we all agree there are Northern teams who are worse at getting people in the stands. If there isn't an anti-Southern bias in evidence.. it shouldn't be hard to find articles about the teams lower on the attendance rung than Nashville by the same source.

I did find one article, though. 'The Genius of Karmanos: Improve Your Attendance and Win A Cup By Moving Your Team To Raleigh.' Excellent read.

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I think the problem is that many of the adults in these regions did not grow up playing hockey. They have to incourage, finance, and promote youth hockey in ALL regions, which I believe they are trying to in some degree. In Raleigh, its a very fast growing youth sport, I can't speak for the other regions.

Another problem, children in families that cannot afford the thousands of dollars for league fees, equipment, and other expenses. Its easy to pick up a basketball and dribble it down to the court, but you can't just lace up some skates and go play pick me up hockey down here.

Promoting players, getting involved in the community, getting the faces out in the press, telling their stories, its all a part of marketing, and thats up to the owners, and their staff. That will go a long way as well to help.

Location. Florida panthers arena needs to be in miami, not whatever suburb its in. Like downtown, right there in the middle of everything.

I am not really sure about Nashville and its gaylord arena... maybe re-naming it would go a long way...

Raleigh, there is plenty of promtion of the team's stars, commercials, papers, internet, community services... Winning the cup helps. TB is also a great example, their attendence has been very consistant as well, though not sure about the boxs.

My take on it is this: suites generate a lot of money, and if its so important, and its not selling, then do what you have to do to sell it. Lower the price, have give-a-ways, discounts, whatever. These guys are professional business men, and they really have no excuse for not selling it.

I am glad that its not like toronto here, where it cost 4k for lower bowl seats, and if thats the way the nhl wants it, or considers to be sucessful, then oh well, I will pass.

Carolina Panthers have gotten that way, where its super expensive, and half the time the coorperates don't show up. It's not just that the panthers season wasn't that good. Fact is, most of them don't show up unless they are courting business. It is a disservice to the fans, and really doesn't make me want to go to any of their games in person anymore.

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Caniac.....

Your argument is based on a conspiracy theory that all sporting news media outlets have a collective hidden agenda to foil the NHL's attempt to put hockey in the south. There are a couple of factors you need to look at here...

*If Nashville's roster was playing in Boston, Chicago, New York (isle), St Louis....would their attendance still be dismal, or would a first place team fill the stadium up?

*If St Louis roster was playing for Nashville, would attendance be even weaker?

If Nashville can't even put out 15,000 with a strong successful team that is something that needs to be talked about. Especially under the new CBA with strict revenue sharing. When owners from financially stable markets see that Nashville can't put fans in the seats with a good team, alarm bells immediately go off. This is because under the new revenue sharing format....weak markets translate into additional expenses for lucrative markets.

Now it's obvious St Louis, Boston, etc....are going to translate into the same sort of expenses for owners of teams in lucrative markets....but at least they are assured that Boston and St Louis can put out big attendance with successful teams. Nashville can't even provide that assurance.

The issue here has more to do with money then any conspiracy theory against southern hockey. Just look at the source of the article provided at the beginning of this thread, it's by a Sports business magazine.

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The Lightening?

As in, the Tampa Bay Gradually-Growing-Less-Dark?

Yet more hockey-won't-succeed-in-the-South tripe. The only reason they focus on the potential attendance issues for a new Southern team, as opposed to the definite attendance issues for established Northern teams, is because we keep winning Cups. And this year there's an excellent chance for Atlanta, Carolina, or Nashville to do it again. That must really burn.

what? i asked you to show me why people up north think that we hate the teams down south because you win cups. thats probaly the most farfetched theory ive ever heard of. it's certainly not that. lets count montreal has 23 cups. the entire southeast division 2. i dont know where the imaginery dislike came from. it's not that i dislike them (southern teams) it's just that I would rather see them in canada than nashville pretty much dust off their team every nite like they do.

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