Saturday, May 31, 2008

6 divided into 100 gives you 31 per cent

It's the new math and it's done on the strength of the Canadian Loonie.

An internal report from the NHL that has been leaked to an interested hockey world finds that the six Canadian hockey franchises in the 30 team NHL loop are providing a good portion of the leagues health.

The Toronto Star first reported the amazing numbers that show that Canada accounts for a good portion of the NHL's success (such as it is) and that if you took out those Canadian numbers the NHL would most likely be the Edsel of pro sports franchises.

On gate receipts alone, Canada's teams and hockey barns accounted for 31 percent of revenues of 1.1 billion dollars, doing their best to try and add some black ink to the hue of red that seems to be prevalent south of the border.

In a league driven by ticket revenues and Canadian television ratings, the band of six outposts above the 49th parallel seem to be the glue that holds Mr. Bettman's enterprise together.

It's a financial conundrum that leaves many to wonder why the NHL Commissioner is so adamant to keep such less than hockey mad locations as Phoenix, Nashville and Atlanta, among others chasing dollars that don't seem to be there to chase.

11 of the 24 American based teams lost money or were considered revenue neutral, leaving one would think a large pool of potential relocation subjects facing some troubled fiancial times in their hometowns, eager to inquire about the likes of Hamilton, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Saskatoon, Halifax or Tuktyuktuk..

While the NHL isn't particularly inclined to discuss the financial red ink flowing from the southern missions, NHLPA president Mike Kelly seems to be able to read the balance sheets with a bit of clarity calling for more teams to be placed in Canada.

His may be a voice destined to yell into the Northern wilderness with many a Canadian booster, left to ponder what may be, without any form of indication that their efforts are bound to be successful let alone welcome.

In the last number of years Gary Bettman seems to have done all that one man could do to scupper any attempts to move franchises to where there may actually be hockey fans, an unusual strategy of business that might explain the brink of recession that North America faces these days. Perhaps the NHL is but a small example of a larger business malaise,where the customer doesn't know best and it seems that losing money is more acceptable under the big picture, than accessing markets more than ready to support your business offerings.

The NHL these days is providing a concept of supply and demand that seems to have all the factors backwards, they're ignoring their largest base of fans and customers (and would be investors), while trying to build a business model in areas where the demand for their product seems non existent and the potential for profit situation seems bleak if not hopeless.

For a bunch of supposedly business savvy suits, it all seems like a very strange way to run a business.

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