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Daniel

Expansion to Vegas Apparently "Done Deal"

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I'm also not a fan of adding 4 expansion teams, I just don't think there is enough quality to go around. I'd be fine with 2 expansion and 2 relocations.

Not sure how much stock to put into this but from Howard Bloom of Sports Business News:

"NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees"

That's a lot of money and money will always win out. Still not sure how feasible a 34 team league is though.

It's a bit of a paradox, but even though NHL revenue pales in comparison to the NFL, MLB and NBA, it's in a unique position where it can have 32 -34 teams, obviously because the NHL can have so many viable teams in Canada. So I don't have a huge problem with 4 extra teams except that it would throw the conference balance out of wack again.

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Edited by Daniel

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It seems like most of these reports come from reporters I haven't heard from before.  I'll wait for the big guys to report it before I believe it.

 

On the speculation side, I still don't know why I'd ever give permission to a new Toronto team if I was the Maple Leafs.  There would be new revenue generated but a lot of Leafs revenue would be cannibalized, I would think.  I'm sure the league and the Leafs are doing their homework and trying to come up with whatever percentage that would be.

 

I'm not sure Vegas is a great choice either, but maybe it's a worthwhile gamble(OMG! Vegas puns! Imagine the headlines) for the league and would be a splash worth making.

 

On my not really informed level, it seems like Seattle would have a chance to make a really good hockey city.

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Awesome if the Nordiques comes back. Way closer for me to go watch hockey. Well it's still 7 hours away but still closer than anywhere else

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I'm also not a fan of adding 4 expansion teams, I just don't think there is enough quality to go around. I'd be fine with 2 expansion and 2 relocations.

 

Not sure how much stock to put into this but from Howard Bloom of Sports Business News:

"NHL expansion – four teams added by 2017, Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, and Las Vegas $1.4b in expansion fees"

 

That's a lot of money and money will always win out. Still not sure how feasible a 34 team league is though.

 

there isn't, especially with so much talent returning to staying in European leagues.

 

the league doesn't care though. It will gladly sh!t all over its own product to rake in the expansion fees.

 

Another Toronto team would be a blow to the Sabres as well who are playing in a dying city whose population declines by 10% every 10 years. You have Florida and Phoenix who both need to be moved or contracted. I'm not super bullish on the Stars or Predators future either

Edited by '7'

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there isn't, especially with so much talent returning to staying in European leagues.

 

the league doesn't care though. It will gladly sh!t all over its own product to rake in the expansion fees.

 

Another Toronto team would be a blow to the Sabres as well who are playing in a dying city whose population declines by 10% every 10 years. You have Florida and Phoenix who both need to be moved or contracted. I'm not super bullish on the Stars or Predators future either

 

It's possible that the population decline they talk about for Buffalo is a little misleading.  While I don't know one way or another, there's a good chance that the numbers show that it's due primarily to people moving out of Buffalo to surrounding cities and that it won't really effect the total number of fans.  Sort of like how Newark or Detroit had huge population declines, but those people basically moved about the distance of a 20 to 30 minute drive away.  I also don't think adding another team in Toronto will affect the Sabres all that much.  It's a tougher proposition for Americans to root for a Canadian team, especially an expansion team, over a local American one, and vice versa.  The Sabres have a very passionate fan base that will fill the place regularly so long as the team isn't terrible.  If they win the lottery or even get the second pick overall this year, they'll look to be a very good team in the next couple of years.  I mean if the Isles really crap the bed this year, Buffalo might end up being a dynasty.   If anything, you might see a few Canadians becoming Buffalo fans if Buffalo wins the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.   While you see a lot of empty seats at Bills games, that's more the product of a crappy stadium, very cold weather and a team that's been bad for the past 15 years.

 

I don't see Dallas going anywhere despite the bad attendance they've had recently.  Texas is too big a market even if it isn't really a hockey city.  Plus more people are actually playing the sport there, so in the long run I think they'll be okay.   While it might get a little dicey in Nashville, they have a nice following especially when the team is good. 

 

As to whether it would dilute the product too much by overexpansion, I think a good way to think about it is whether the league would be dreading a particular team in a particular market winning the Cup.  The Devils were almost there, but they won enough, and are in a big enough market that the league could live with it.  There would definitely be issues with Phoenix and perhaps Florida, especially if the Dolphins somehow become good again, and if, hypothetically, LeBron stayed in Miami.  Vegas could go either way.  If they end up being among the league elite on the ice, it might create a national buzz, but there very well could be too few locals that would care all that much.  Maybe that's something Bettman has in mind. 

 

If I had to guess, I would say that we're only going to see two expansion teams in the near future and the league is going to take a wait and see attitude with Phoenix and perhaps Florida.  The voters in Glendale are getting even more fed up with the taxpayer subsidies for the Coyotes, and I think the club and/or the city has an out after four years or something like that.  The owners in Florida have made noises about moving as well if fan interest remains stagnant.

 

I also don't see Europe as that much of an issue.  While they might snag a high profile player here or there, more often than not, players make more money in North America than in the SEL or KHL.  90-95 percent of the time, players go back to Europe because they can't hack it in the NHL.  If a two team expansion happened this past summer, you'd very likely have guys like Tedenby and Urbom remaining in North America, as well as a few players, like Bobby Sanguinetti coming back.

Edited by Daniel

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fvck. Just realized that Quebec and Toronto will obviously be in the atlantic division. And that Tampa will join ours.... godamnit.

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It's possible that the population decline they talk about for Buffalo is a little misleading.  While I don't know one way or another, there's a good chance that the numbers show that it's due primarily to people moving out of Buffalo to surrounding cities and that it won't really effect the total number of fans.  Sort of like how Newark or Detroit had huge population declines, but those people basically moved about the distance of a 20 to 30 minute drive away.  I also don't think adding another team in Toronto will affect the Sabres all that much.  It's a tougher proposition for Americans to root for a Canadian team, especially an expansion team, over a local American one, and vice versa.  The Sabres have a very passionate fan base that will fill the place regularly so long as the team isn't terrible.  If they win the lottery or even get the second pick overall this year, they'll look to be a very good team in the next couple of years.  I mean if the Isles really crap the bed this year, Buffalo might end up being a dynasty.   If anything, you might see a few Canadians becoming Buffalo fans if Buffalo wins the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.   While you see a lot of empty seats at Bills games, that's more the product of a crappy stadium, very cold weather and a team that's been bad for the past 15 years.

 

 

Buffalo has and is a very strong hockey city: If you look at ratings for any NHL Playoff game, Stanley Cup, no matter what teams are involved, the Western NY area is consistently towards the top. They love hockey there. And I do agree, another team in Toronto should not terribly hurt the Sabres..they might lose some season ticket holders but that shouldn't be impossible to replace.  Toronto could use a NHL team (do the Leafs count?!)  :P

 

Yes, the exodus from Buffalo and surrounding areas is pronounced over the last several decades, but there are signs of that changing for the better. 

 

About the Sabres winning the lottery: Don't worry, Gary will ensure that does NOT happen.

 

Buffalo is on a great path: Already rich in young talent, and a ton of picks to follow (hopefully two Top 10 picks in 2015 in a stacked draft) I have never been this excited to be a Sabres fan.

 

As for a team in Vegas? Blah...selfishly, living 4 hrs by car from Vegas, it would be fun to have another place to see a NHL team. Just not sure how that would work there.

 

Seattle and Quebec to me make the most sense by a mile.

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there isn't, especially with so much talent returning to staying in European leagues.

 

the league doesn't care though. It will gladly sh!t all over its own product to rake in the expansion fees.

 

Another Toronto team would be a blow to the Sabres as well who are playing in a dying city whose population declines by 10% every 10 years. You have Florida and Phoenix who both need to be moved or contracted. I'm not super bullish on the Stars or Predators future either

 

 

I agree to a point on Nashville...but I see the Stars becoming a power in the West in the not too distant future...but Stars fans appear to be a little bandwagonish but maybe Im wrong.

 

Toronto has 12 Million people in its metro, they can easily support two teams. Buffalo is almost 1.5 hrs from there. Should be ok.

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I agree to a point on Nashville...but I see the Stars becoming a power in the West in the not too distant future...but Stars fans appear to be a little bandwagonish but maybe Im wrong.

Toronto has 12 Million people in its metro, they can easily support two teams. Buffalo is almost 1.5 hrs from there. Should be ok.

The problem is there is going to be too many teams if they somehow expand to 34, there would defintely be more divisional games because there's no way they are adding more games to the schedule.

Florida is a lost cause, I know the team has stunk the majority of their time there but Florida as a whole is an awful major league sports state.

I would just move Florida to Vegas and move Phoenix to Seattle and move Nashville to the Atlantic division so that there are 15 teams in each conference again and call it a day.

Then down the line if other teams like Dallas or Nashville struggle then maybe move one of them to Portland. I know Quebec City wants a team but I hate that city and their annoying fans so I hope they don't get a team.

Edited by Satans Hockey

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I agree to a point on Nashville...but I see the Stars becoming a power in the West in the not too distant future...but Stars fans appear to be a little bandwagonish but maybe Im wrong.

 

Toronto has 12 Million people in its metro, they can easily support two teams. Buffalo is almost 1.5 hrs from there. Should be ok.

 

Dallas fans have always been rather bandwagonish except for the Cowboys. People love a winner though so while the Stars were winning they were popular.

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I don't think a Las Vegas franchise is viable - I mean, it's viable in the same way that Phoenix is viable.  The league will collect the expansion fees, then pay out revenue sharing in exchange for the salary cap and floor being slightly lower.  I do think the NHL has enough talent for expansion, especially if those teams can lure back some of the guys who have gone overseas, although some reports are that there are fewer youths playing in Canada, which may ultimately impact the talent level.  I don't have many worries about the countries who are already hockey countries continuing to produce players, though, and there are some like Switzerland and Germany who could produce more in the coming years.

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The problem is there is going to be too many teams if they somehow expand to 34, there would defintely be more divisional games because there's no way they are adding more games to the schedule.

Florida is a lost cause, I know the team has stunk the majority of their time there but Florida as a whole is an awful major league sports state.

I would just move Florida to Vegas and move Phoenix to Seattle and move Nashville to the Atlantic division so that there are 15 teams in each conference again and call it a day.

Then down the line if other teams like Dallas or Nashville struggle then maybe move one of them to Portland. I know Quebec City wants a team but I hate that city and their annoying fans so I hope they don't get a team.

 

 

I do understand what you mean about moving franchises etc...I guess I've become sensitive to that topic given my favorite NFL team the Buffalo Bills is for sale and the thought of them moving would crush me as a sports fan so I can't want that to happen...feels like bad karma. 

 

LOL @ annoying fans...I'd say the Quebec as a province fits that pretty well haha

 

About having too many teams: I thought that when San Jose and Tampa Bay were added to the league...at first it might seem like too much but after awhile we get used to it and the talent pool will expand.

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I don't think a Las Vegas franchise is viable - I mean, it's viable in the same way that Phoenix is viable.  The league will collect the expansion fees, then pay out revenue sharing in exchange for the salary cap and floor being slightly lower.  I do think the NHL has enough talent for expansion, especially if those teams can lure back some of the guys who have gone overseas, although some reports are that there are fewer youths playing in Canada, which may ultimately impact the talent level.  I don't have many worries about the countries who are already hockey countries continuing to produce players, though, and there are some like Switzerland and Germany who could produce more in the coming years.

 

 

Phoenix to me can still work: They needed a better locale and just a winning consistent product to get started: Population pool in the Phoenix area is much bigger then Vegas. Consider this too about Vegas: TONS of service jobs with the casinos etc..lots of oddball hours people work there. Locals won't flock to the NHL area there...the outsiders out of town will and I am sure that is exactly what the NHL is banking on. A MAJOR risk, considering when you drive on the outskirts of Vegas you still see unfinished construction projects etc...Vegas took a major blow in 2008 and is nowhere near fully recovered.

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I do understand what you mean about moving franchises etc...I guess I've become sensitive to that topic given my favorite NFL team the Buffalo Bills is for sale and the thought of them moving would crush me as a sports fan so I can't want that to happen...feels like bad karma.

LOL @ annoying fans...I'd say the Quebec as a province fits that pretty well haha

About having too many teams: I thought that when San Jose and Tampa Bay were added to the league...at first it might seem like too much but after awhile we get used to it and the talent pool will expand.

The major difference is though people actually go to Bills games, even when they stink, plus they have a long history. Florida, Phoenix, Nashville and Dallas all have relatively short history with Dallas being the only one with any major success.

I'm not worried about the talent pool, 32 teams could easily work I just think 34 would be absurd. The NFL doesn't even have 34 teams.

All I want is balanced conferences. It was absolute bullsh!t that 8 out of 16 teams make it in the east and 8 out of 14 make it in the West.

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Phoenix to me can still work: They needed a better locale and just a winning consistent product to get started: Population pool in the Phoenix and rea is much bigger then Vegas. Consider this too about Vegas: TONS of service jobs with the casinos etc..lots of oddball hours people work there. Locals won't flock to the NHL area there...the outsiders out of town will and I am sure that is exactly what the NHL is banking on. A MAJOR risk, considering when you drive on the outskirts of Vegas you still see unfinished construction projects etc...Vegas took a major blow in 2008 and is nowhere near fully recovered.

It's a shame that arena where Phoenix use to play wasn't built for hockey from the start. I think in a proper arena downtown Phoenix they wouldn't have had as many issues but none of that matters anymore.

It's going to be interesting to see how the Islanders do in Brooklyn from an arena perspective because Phoenix originally had all the same arena issues as well. Clearly the Islanders have a bigger fan base but obstructed seats are still going to be a huge issue

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the Isles is still going to be a dicey situation. A lot of those seats are either ridiculously obstructed, slightly obstructed, or situated in an area where if you will always be bothered by heads in front of you...people moving up or down. For instance if you're in the upper deck than a lot of action to the near boards will be a pain to see. If the Isles move their and don't win, it will get ugly.

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It's a shame that arena where Phoenix use to play wasn't built for hockey from the start. I think in a proper arena downtown Phoenix they wouldn't have had as many issues but none of that matters anymore.

It's going to be interesting to see how the Islanders do in Brooklyn from an arena perspective because Phoenix originally had all the same arena issues as well. Clearly the Islanders have a bigger fan base but obstructed seats are still going to be a huge issue

 

The Jets were mindlessly hotshotted into Phoenix though. That franchise should've never left Winnipeg, but the NHL was just too enamored with the growing southern/western populations and thought more people = more hockey fans. Once this initial hype and newness wore off the Coyotes were dead. They've been a dead franchise for a decade or more. 

 

Vegas will be the same. Once the newness wears off they will be treated like a Vegas stage show that's run its course and is no longer popular. Only those shows are moved down the bill or cancelled...what is going to be done with this team?

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I can dig 32 teams but 34 is just too many. Vegas and Seattle would be perfect so the conferences balance out and the diffusion of NHL caliber players won't be as bad if it was a 4 team expansion. If Quebec Kansas City and god forbid Hamilton wants a team it should be through relocation of Arizona and possibly Florida.

Edited by Zubie#8

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The Jets were mindlessly hotshotted into Phoenix though. That franchise should've never left Winnipeg, but the NHL was just too enamored with the growing southern/western populations and thought more people = more hockey fans. Once this initial hype and newness wore off the Coyotes were dead. They've been a dead franchise for a decade or more. 

 

Vegas will be the same. Once the newness wears off they will be treated like a Vegas stage show that's run its course and is no longer popular. Only those shows are moved down the bill or cancelled...what is going to be done with this team?

 

That franchise never should've left Winnipeg?  Winnipeg was dead on its feet - they sold Teemu Selanne 3 years after he came to town.  Who was going to buy the team in Winnipeg?  It's a small city that isn't growing, and with the exchange rate where it was, no one wanted to buy the team and keep it in Winnipeg.  Now they got minor league hockey and a new arena and supported those things well and with the exchange rate where it is they're back to being an NHL city, but they are still not spending a ton of money.  

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That franchise never should've left Winnipeg?  Winnipeg was dead on its feet - they sold Teemu Selanne 3 years after he came to town.  Who was going to buy the team in Winnipeg?  It's a small city that isn't growing, and with the exchange rate where it was, no one wanted to buy the team and keep it in Winnipeg.  Now they got minor league hockey and a new arena and supported those things well and with the exchange rate where it is they're back to being an NHL city, but they are still not spending a ton of money.  

 

Well why didn't the NHL carry Winnipeg on its back like they have been doing for Phoenix for seemingly forever. They crawl through a river of sh!t for Phoenix but a bump in the road in Winnipeg and they're packing up the trucks. The NHL didn't do a good enough job actually taking the time to seek out an owner, or a group of owners. Winnipeg was never given a fair shake. But now it's thriving and phoenix is a joke.

 

Selanne wasn't just a financial decision, but a hockey decision. He suffered a knee injury and wasn't the same goal scorer in 1996 as he was in 1992. 

 

Winnipegs population has grown since 1996.

Edited by '7'

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Well why didn't the NHL carry Winnipeg on its back like they have been doing for Phoenix for seemingly forever. They crawl through a river of sh!t for Phoenix but a bump in the road in Winnipeg and they're packing up the trucks. The NHL didn't do a good enough job actually taking the time to seek out an owner, or a group of owners. Winnipeg was never given a fair shake. But now it's thriving and phoenix is a joke.

Selanne wasn't just a financial decision, but a hockey decision. He suffered a knee injury and wasn't the same goal scorer in 1996 as he was in 1992.

Winnipegs population has grown since 1996.

I think the NHL trying to make it work in Phoenix is only because that new arena is only 10 years old and it looks bad on the league if they didn't at least try to make it work. Now if they end up moving the team at least they can say they tried everything possible.

I know they have been drawing well but Winnipeg is a horrid city, I'm actually still really surprised the league allowed a team to go back there. I would have put them almost anywhere else.

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Vegas would be awful in terms of attendance, fan support, media. The Las Vegas market isnt even large to begin with either. The growth rate it has seen is now slowing down. Then there are all the risky intangibles that come with a pro team in Vegas. Makes no sense when there are more options for expansion/relocation.

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Well why didn't the NHL carry Winnipeg on its back like they have been doing for Phoenix for seemingly forever. They crawl through a river of sh!t for Phoenix but a bump in the road in Winnipeg and they're packing up the trucks. The NHL didn't do a good enough job actually taking the time to seek out an owner, or a group of owners. Winnipeg was never given a fair shake. But now it's thriving and phoenix is a joke.

 

Selanne wasn't just a financial decision, but a hockey decision. He suffered a knee injury and wasn't the same goal scorer in 1996 as he was in 1992. 

 

Winnipegs population has grown since 1996.

 

It's hard to remember it now that virtually every Canadian team, save perhaps the Senators, seems to be able print money.  At that time, the Canadian economy was in the dumps.  It doesn't take the evil doings of American capitalists or the commissioner to get two teams to leave for greener pastures, and one to a place that had already lost a hockey team.  Hell, even the OIlers were in the red when the team was winning, to the point that the amount of debt that Pocklington had to take out to keep the team afloat made Vanderbeek's debt look like a 30 year fixed rate mortgage on a $200,000 house. 

 

Bettman's insistence on keeping the Coyotes in Arizona is a bit puzzling.  He didn't really put up that much of a fight with Atlanta.  It might have had something to do with the fact that the buyer for Phoenix was someone who tried to strong arm the league into putting a team where he wanted to and that the rest of the owners hated. 

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I too am skeptical of this working out, if it is in fact a done deal.  I agree with many here that Seattle and Quebec City would make more sense, maybe even Kansas City.  However, I don't understand why so many people think 30 or even 32 is a reasonable amount of teams, but 34 is too many.  Seems kind of arbitrary.  There probably used to be people who though 20 was too many.

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