Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Throwing stones at empty houses

For those trying to make the case hockey in Phoenix can work, I offer the following photographic evidence, courtesy of Heidi Johannson of Edmonton, Alta.

That was the attendance at the Phoenix Coyotes exhibition game played on Sept. 21, in Glendale.

In effort to combat the lack of enthusiasm for the club, the Coyotes have advertised lower bowl seats for $25 US and upper bowl seats for $15 US.

Makes the following seem pretty expensive in comparision:

Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL);

Manitoba Moose (AHL);

Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL);;

University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (NCAA);

University of Michigan Wolverines (NCAA);

University of Regina Cougars men's hockey (CIS);

University of Regina Cougars basketball tickets (CIS);

Victoria Salmon Kings (ECHL);

Bossier-Shreveport Mudbogs (CHL).


Guillaume Desbiens Fan said...

Got some Moose tickets today on ticketmaster. Came out to about $82 for two tickets in the golds. Tickets also selling well for the NHL exhibition game tomorrow night. Should be about 12-13,000 there and might be one of Tampa's best revenue generators all year, as the Phoenix games have been in year's past. I think Chipman realized Winnipegger's were tired of paying for the Coyotes preseason games. The only upsetting thing for me about tomorrow is that Khabby probably won't play.

Keith Borkowsky said...

It goes to show the southern NHL strategy needs to be abandoned ASAP. I would like to have gone to that game. Duty calls.

Tyler King said...

I think the Syracuse Crunch charge more...

DeafNotDumb said...

I am pretty agnostic about the so-called Southern strategy. However it seems to me that picking a picture showing empty seats at a pre-season game played while a bankruptcy judge decides whether the team is going to stay in Phoenix doesn't exactly prove that hockey can't work there. And I would wager it would be tough to sell any of the tickets you link to if the future of the team were in doubt. How many Brandonites would shell out money to buy tickets to a team who's future might be in Thompson?

Again, I'm not saying the Coyotes have a bright and glorious future in Phoenix, just that one out of context picture proves nothing.

sager said...

No, the last 12 seasons, the not having won a playoff round, the high rate of foreclosures in Arizona, the corporate welfare scheme the FOGs (Friends of Glendale) are attempting to put over on taxpayers — that proves everything.

It's totally in context. The team is fucking bankrupt. A lot had to happen for it to reach this point.

Keith Borkowsky said...

What I love about the Internet is the fact that everyone can give their viewpoint.

I do not agree with DeafNotDumb's view the photo is out of context. Why? There's plenty more where that one came from,, featuring many other games, including regular season games. In this case, NHL attendance figures, long believed to be "enhanced" in the same way as some Hollywood starlets, can't hide this fact because the photos don't lie.

I admit I am an advocate of bringing the NHL back to Winnipeg, and if there were any justice, it would be the team that left. It would be 1979 all over again, when the NHL raped the team that left the WHA of its stars through a draft. Starting all over from scratch, albeit with Hawerchuk, Hull (the Golden Jet, not the Golden Brat), and Steen hanging from the rafters in the city they actually played in.

I admit I am picking on Phoenix. They are the ones that told the NHL that it wasn't working in Winnipeg and that they could do a better job of representing the league. They couldn't do it, and won't ever make it work. It makes more sense to put this team in Billings, Montana than it does in Phoenix. Or Boise, Idaho, as at least a multinational corporation, Simplot, is based there.

I admit I am pissed off about the years of NHL lies about the Sunbelt strategy, when the only thing most of the residents know about the game is ice belongs in margaritas. Especially when I witnessed first hand how it ripped the heart out of a city that took a decade to heal.

I am angry with people saying hockey can work in a market that has proven over 12 years that it doesn't care about, or even want, the team.

And I can't let stand a comment about Brandonites not supporting a team when it could move to Thompson when:

A) The WHL would never move a team further east, let alone one 10 hours north of Winnipeg because of the logistics, and;

B) Brandon could have lost it's WHL team had Kelly McCrimmon not bought the franchise and worked to build a solid ticket base even without the benefit of a Memorial Cup.

Even with the team's future in doubt, in an arena that could charitably be called a dump and an eyesore, Winnipeg's attendance figures top Phoenix. No one, not even the NHL when they moved the team, said fan support was the reason the Jets left.

Out of context? Everyone's got an opinion.

Marty Murray Fan said...

Sorry. I hate the argument that Phoenix fans are better than Winnipeg's. Winnipeg knew, 100% for sure, that 1995-96 would be there last season. The attendance at a crappy, outdated arena that preseason was still far superior than this. Also, when word went out that the Jets might be leaving, 35,000 people showed up at a rally to try to save them. This did not happen in Phoenix. If the MTS Centre were built 10 years earlier, the Jets would have remained and we would not be having this conversation.

Also, don't get me started about how the Coyotes missing the playoffs recently had something to do with this. The NHL Jets, despite some great players, were never really, really good.

I wonder which game will attract more people and generate more revenue: the Coyotes NHL home opener on October 10, with $25 lower bowl tickets, or the Manitoba Moose's AHL opener on October the 2nd, with tickets ranging between $18 and $40 (emphasis on AHL).

Anonymous said...

Fine go back to last year the year before there are many many pictures of thousands of empty seats durring the reg season.

Anonymous said...

Wayne Gretzky as everyone knows by know, quit or was forced to quit as the Coyotes head coach.
The irony of this development is that it was Gretzky's arrival in LA over 20 years ago that triggered real hockey interest in that town at long last and in turn convinced the NHL brain trust that hockey could work in the so called "sun belt" cities.
Alas, after Gretzky left the Kings interest in the team began to wane and the anticipated explosion of excitement in these new markets never did materialize.
Look at the other sun belt franchises.
Even after getting to the Cup final and winning teams like Tampa, Florida, Carolina and Anaheim continue to struggle to create an identity in their respective communities.
And Atlanta?
Remember the Flames?
The NHL certainly should have.
Nashville has been an uphill battle and even a relatively northern city like Columbus with no other major pro sport has had its problems.
Only Dallas and Colorado have been successful and even their respective futures could change dramatically if those teams become persistent also-rans.
Yet Bettman is absolutely loathe to any suggestion of relocating any team, no matter how sick and feeble that franchise might be.
Really, the league should be looking at contraction rather than expansion but the league would be too stubborn to admit that some franchises will just never work no matter how much money is poured into them.