Friday, December 07, 2012

Americans are ruining Canada's national sport

Let's face it hockey is Canada's national sport and the NHL is the premier hockey league.  But the NHL is dominated and controlled by Americans: 80% of franchises are located in the U.S., the NHL headquarters are in New York and the Commissioner is an American.

If it were up to the Canadian owners the current hockey labour dispute would have settle long ago.  They would have settled for the good of the game.  But the best interests of the game differ in the U.S.  The best interests of the game down there is the right economic model.

So why is the right economic model so important?  Well it's because so few American teams make money.  All six Canadian teams made a profit of at least $10 million last season.  Only six American teams or 25% of teams in the U.S. made a profit of $10 million and thirteen American teams lost money.  The Kings would have made it fourteen had they not earned all that playoff revenue by winning the Stanley Cup.

All those American teams are dragging down the NHL and essential make almost any reasonable economic model unworkable.  In Florida, southern California and the Arizona desert, hockey is a novelty and at best a niche sport.  The two LA based teams lose money while Toronto has only one NHL franchise.

Winnipeg which is a cow pasture compared to some of the huge American metropolitan areas was 10th in profit in their first season earning $13.3 million.  They have the smallest arena, well below NHL standards but they also have the 4th highest average ticket prices.  Winnipeg is a hockey town.  Dallas is not.  Miami is not.  Los Angeles is not.  Glendale is not.  Columbus is not.  Nashville is not.  Tampa is not.

The NHL lockout is about trying to save unsustainable American franchises.

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