Thursday, December 11, 2008

The NHL's economic mess somehow links to Kevin Bacon

Google "Gary Bettman" and "Chip Diller" and you only get one match. That has to change.

The NHL commissioner really is the Omega House pledge from National Lampoon's Animal House, 30 years older, screaming "Remain calm! All is well!" as everything degenerates into a gong show.

Bettman as Diller has to stick. Doug Farraway on The FAN 590 had a guest this afternoon, a writer from Forbes magazine this afternoon, say flat-out that hockey is the sport that stands to be hit the hardest by the global economic slowdown. Bettman, as one writer surmised yesterday, is basically carrying on like all the sponsors have paid up for this season, so there's no problem.

None of you need any reminder what pro sports is in for now that the golden age is over.

Sorry for not getting the Forbes writer's name. He was on just before Farraway interviewed a gentleman who just published a children's book about Wendel Clark, and frankly, that was more within my range of understanding.

Seriously, Bettman is Chip Diller.

The Financial Golden Age of Sports 1996 – 2008 (David Houle, Evolution Shift)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bang on. The polyanna types who say "We just need to get those US teams into Canada, where we support hockey", don't understand two things a) We really don't support hockey all that well (like say Americans support football at ALL LEVELS or the world supports soccer). And b) the entire success of the NHL has and will always require that large US cities with large corporate support (welfare) subsidize these teams. We only have a few of those cities. The NHL will probably contract a few teams, lower salaries and maybe even move a division to Europe.

Kitchener? Winnipeg? Quebec? Won't work. The NBA article was interesting, and yes, the Expos could have been salvaged (they had the stadium funding and Seattle was a similar "dead team walking"), but Montreal has been losing the big corporate money for years, so how long would it have lasted (and I was a HUGE fan).

Big corporations often try to get out of poor economics by aquiring other businesses, but it won't work. No different in sports, you have leagues where only a handful of teams break even (NHL, MLS, MLB?), and they keep the party rolling with expansion and outrageous franchise fees, and they end up with even more red ink in more locations.

They'll blame low attendance, but it always comes down to an unrealistic business plan. They've come to the point where they need it ALL: big corporate support, unrealistically high attendance at ALL games, higher and higher ticket prices and big TV money. And if they don't get it ALL, they fail. And sooner or later, one or more of these factors slip, and that's where we are.