NHL Expansion: No Thanks

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News broke yesterday that the NHL could be expanding by two teams, possibly as early as 2015. Gary Bettman downplayed the news and said the NHL currently has no plans, which is classic Bettman denial and likely sadly means the reports are probably true. 

For the sake of hockey fans, specifically Canadian hockey fans, I hope the reports are wrong.

Canadian hockey fans in Canada are getting ripped off enough as it is.

Last year, according to Forbes magazaine, Canada had six of the top seven most expensive average ticket cost (on the secondary market) in the league. Toronto was first at $368, Chicago ($313) was second followed by Winnipeg ($276), Edmonton ($272), Vancouver ($265), Calgary ($262) and Montreal ($257).

Ottawa fans got a bargain basement price at $137, 15th overall. Here is a quick link to see the prices for all 30 teams. Five of the top-six ticket prices were for NON-playoff teams. Ouch.

To be clear those aren’t the average ticket price. It is hard to get an accurate cost for tickets, because season tickets are lower than single game seats, but on the Oilers site they are currently promoting Power Packs.

POWER-PACK-PRICING2

The prices of those 17 games average out to:

Gold: $264/seat.
Silver: $242/seat.
Executive: $166/seat
Exec. Terrace: $155/seat
Terrace: $119/seat
Colonnade: $88/seat
Gallery/Standing room: $55 seat

I took the average seat cost of three lower bowl sections, then combined the amount of seats in each section, (projection, not 100% exact, but close) 1,734 gold seats, 1,152 silver and 3,148 executive.and cross-referenced it with the exact lower bowl capacity of 6,034 (provided by Northlands) and came up with an average seat cost of $208/seat per game. Season ticket price are cheaper because you buy the entire season, but it is a good indicator of the overall cost.

Any way you slice it, Oiler fans, and fans across the country are paying big money to attend NHL games. And in many cases the fans are helping subsidize the weaker revenue teams in the USA like Florida, Phoenix, Carolina, etc.

The last thing Canadian fans should want is more expansion south of the border. I know Las Vegas sounds sexy, because it is a great place to party, but will fans in Seattle and Las Vegas sell out their rink, or pay top dollar to go to games after year two?

Canadian fans shouldn’t have to foot the bill in hockey markets that don’t work. If the NHL wants a team in Seattle or Las Vegas, then relocate Florida. The Panthers aren’t making money on game nights. The owners make their money by owning the rink and having concerts.

We love hockey, but as a season ticket holder, I don’t need to keep paying a ticket increase when I know a portion of that money is going down south to keep struggling franchises afloat.

From a purely financial reason NHL expansion makes no sense for Canadian hockey fans, unless they league puts the new teams in Canada.

LACK OF TALENT

But even if the scuttlebutt around expansion involved Canadian cities, I’d still be against it. There isn’t enough talent, especially top-end talent, to fill out new rosters.

I, like most of you, have painfully had to sit through the last five season of Oilers hockey. They finished 30th, 30th, 29th, 24th and 28th. They finished this low in the standings for one simple reason; A lack of proven NHL talent.

Here is the list of players who have suited up for the Oilers since the start of the 2009/2010 season:

Player GP Player GP
Sam Gagner 326 Teemu
Hartikainen
52
Jordan Eberle 275 Andy Sutton 52
Ladislav Smid 272 Darcy
Hordichuk
47
Ryan Jones 247 Martin
Marincin
44
Taylor Hall 246 Mike Comrie 43
Shawn Horcoff 236 Mark
Arcobello
42
Jeff Petry 236 Jesse Joensuu 42
Ales Hemsky 231 Fernando
Pisani
40
Tom Gilbert 208 Steve Staios 40
Ryan Smyth 201 Steve
MacIntyre
38
Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins
182 Sheldon
Souray
37
Andrew
Cogliano
164 Mike Brown 35
Magnus
Paajarvi
163 Marc Pouliot 35
Theo Peckham 144 Matt
Hendricks
33
Dustin Penner 144 Ryan O’Marra 31
Ryan Whitney 139 Will Acton 30
Nick Schultz 128 Philip Larsen 30
Justin
Schultz
122 Chris
VandeVelde
28
Jason
Strudwick
115 Ryan Stone 27
Corey Potter 111 Cam Barker 25
Nail Yakupov 111 Mark Fistric 25
Zack Stortini 109 Colten
Teubert
24
Gilbert Brule 106 Mark Fraser 23
Eric Belanger 104 Aaron Johnson 19
Jean-Francois
Jacques
100 Oscar Klefbom 17
Lennart
Petrell
95 Dean Arsene 13
Anton Lander 94 Tyler Pitlick 10
Ben Eager 84 Alex Plante 10
David Perron 78 Jerred
Smithson
10
Ethan Moreau 76 Alexandre
Giroux
8
Kurtis Foster 74 Josh Green 7
Boyd Gordon 74 Steve
Pinizzotto
6
Patrick
O’Sullivan
73 Shawn Belle 5
Andrew
Ference
71 Charles
Linglet
5
Colin Fraser 67 Chris Minard 5
Luke Gazdic 67 Taylor Fedun 4
Linus Omark 66 Brad Hunt 3
Ryan Potulny 64 Philippe
Cornet
2
Jim
Vandermeer
62 Ryan Hamilton 2
Robert
Nilsson
60 Roman Horak 2
Anton Belov 57 Colin
McDonald
2
Taylor
Chorney
57 Richard
Petiot
2
Lubomir
Visnovsky
57 Milan Kytnar 1
Denis
Grebeshkov
54 Johan Motin 1
Liam Reddox 53 Bryan Rodney 1

Some of those players would be hard-pressed to make an expansion team.

Some players have gone on to succeed on other NHL teams: Cogliano, Brodziak, Gilbert, Horcoff, Hemsky, Visnovsky, Penner, Lupul, Souray, Staios, Fraser, McDonald and Smid, but most of the players who played for the Oilers during that time, and aren’t here anymore, are no longer in the NHL.

Others retired, Strudwick, and a few had their careers ended due to injury, Pisani, Whitney, but the vast majority of those other players simply weren’t good enough to play on an NHL team that wasn’t a bottom-five team.

Expansion will provide 46 more NHL jobs, but most of the players taking those jobs won’t be productive or NHL calibre players. There simply isn’t enough quality talent to fill two more rosters and make those teams competitive in four or five years.

The Oilers have had five top-seven picks and they still haven’t finished better than 24th. You need more than just a few young stars to be competitive.

I’d much rather see some teams like Florida relocate to Seattle, Las Vegas, Quebec or Toronto than expand to a 32-team league.

Gary, please say no to expansion. We don’t need it.

Recently by Jason Gregor:  

  • Jason Gregor

    As someone that had a minnie pack last year, I feel comfortable saying Oilers games are way too expensive for the on ice product they put out. With the new arena and possible expansive likely meaning those prices will go up, hopefully the Oilers are going to put a better hockey team out there. If not then it will be up to fans to stop financing a bad product.

    It’s a bit crazy from a business perspective that Gary would not want to try and relocate failing teams before expanding. Why not get into a situation where all teams are profitable before diluting the product with an expansion draft?

      • The Soup Fascist

        Well, yes of course. I mean the money they stand to make in a short windfall is ludicrous. But why not have their cake and eat it too? If the expansion is not set to go until 2017, then they could have had a long standing plan in place to relocated even a few financially struggling teams. I give credit to Bettman for seeing relocation as an absolute last ditch effort, but I don’t think he’d need to move too many teams to see a higher sustainable profit in the league. Having two teams in Florida seems redundant. And though I think both of those teams could actually be good this year, having just one there will strengthen and solidify that market. After that, Carolina? Nashville maybe? Just move a few and the entire league would be better for it.

        • G Money

          Yes, you’re correct in that sense. It may be a false comparative to suggest that it’s a choice between expansion and relocation. It may be both.

          What is almost certain is that from a league point of view, whether the decision is “expansion vs relocation” or “expansion vs status quo”, expansion will win.

  • A-Mc

    Normally i think Serious Gord is out to lunch, but i think he’s hitting on some truth here. I can’t put my finger on it well enough to re-communicate it in a way that may be received better by the rest of the people here.

    Even if he was 100% correct, because he’s a bum most other days (no offense lol), no one is listening or willing to consider what he has to say.

    I’m going to re-read everything to see if i can make sense of it.

  • Serious Gord

    As difficult as it may be, the only way to stifle ‘Insincerious Gord’ is to not respond to or otherwise acknowledge his posts.

    It is obvious he craves attention and that is why he makes the contentious comments he does. If he got no rsponse he would probably just go away.

  • A-Mc

    Agreed that we don’t need or want more teams but many owners will only have eyes for the massive expansion fees. I heard that they may be asking 400 million per new franchise. My gut tells me that these owners will have a hard time saying no to an easy pay day.

  • bwar

    To me a two team expansion makes sense. You balance out conferences and divisions and I don’t think the talent pool is that thin that it couldn’t support two more teams. Only real problem to me is that the expansion team will just get garbage players in the expansion draft and will pretty much struggle for 5 years before being able to put out a competitive product.

  • slats432

    As an Oiler fan, when the Canadian economy was in the tank, I wonder how many US writers were asking for the contraction of Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa.

    If the market is there, then expand. If it is not, then don’t.

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    You say: “Gary, please say no to expansion. We don’t need it.”

    He hears: “Gary, please say no to these hundreds of millions of dollars $$$$ that would be given to your employers. The fans have nothing to do with this; they’ll pay regardless.”

  • james_dean

    Maybe they can squeeze the expansion draft just in time to give Las Vegas McDavid and Seattle Eickel.

    The team should either plan on relocation of the struggling franchises, or even better, get rid of two teams all together and have equal divisions and conferences. Plus, better talant distribution.

    Might make hockey even more exciting to watch.

    But then again, we are Oilers fans. And for the last 8 years, its almost more entertaining to watch paint dry.

  • T__Bone88

    Fans of the Oiler’s or any hockey crazy market team are paying top dollar due to demand, not to subsidize the lesser hockey markets. Looking at other North American sports it’s the same way. Some markets pay ridiculous prices for tickets and some pay very little. You can cry foul that tickets are expensive for an Oiler’s game but 20 other people would gladly take that seat and pay that price.

    Expansion yes will water down the league. I would rather move a Florida Panthers or Carolina Hurricanes but for the NHL to survive they have to be in bigger American cities for the TV deals. Long-term lucrative TV deals are what bring in the revenue more than the gate driven ticket prices, Just ask the NFL.

    • The NHL is still a gate driven league. The NFL’s TV deal is so enormous that not a single fan needs to attend a game and the owners net cash.
      Not so in the NHL…..yet…… thus the equalization payments from strong markets to weak ones. Sadly.

      • Serious Gord

        The nhl is far less gate driven today than it was five or ten years ago. And the trend is to be less and less so. Therefore it is important that the league have a presence even in comically weak markets in order to attract national advertising revenue. The league has tolerated losers for years in the past as part of this need and it will likely tolerate them in the future.

        • Jason Gregor

          You think the miniscule TV audience in Florida is what the NHL needs to get National advertising? Nope.

          If that was the case how come the NFL has a monstrous TV deal, but doesn’t have a team in the 2nd biggest market in the country? They look at overall eyeballs on TV, not the size of one market.

          Atlanta is a huge market, but the NHL left because no one watched hockey. And despite not having Atlanta the NHL recently signed its most lucrative US television deal.

          They don’t need Florida to land a solid TV deal. Try again.

          • Serious Gord

            The nhl left Atlanta because it would not find an owner. If one appeared tomorrow they would be expanding there the day after tomorrow.

            And you are naive to not understand how advertising is sold at the national level – that major media markets need to have a team if it’s possible. Right now there is an owner in FLA and that isn’t likely to change for a couple of years. As noted above many teams in the NBA don’t draw flies – that it is the national advertising that supports them and it is their presence that supports the advertising sales – and it is why the wildly successful at the gate teams tolerate them losing money and being subsidized by the national ad revenue.

            And also that national TV contract is driven by national ad revenue and as you surely must know TV revenues are only part of the media rights equation which is why I refrain from using the “TV revenue” term.

  • Zamboni Driver

    I loved Charles Linglet.*

    Thought he really some potential. Just mishandled by the organization.

    Awesome Fenwick.

    Thinks someone somewhere.

    *Even his mother was not aware this guy played for the Oilers.

  • judgedrude

    It’s fairly obvious what’s going to happen. The Florida teams will move to some north-eastern area, likely Toronto and Quebec City… the alignment of that division makes that crystal clear.

    Secondly, having one conference with 16 teams and another with 14 is clearly a stop gap, so the NHL will add two teams in the western conference. Where is anyone’s guess, but Seattle, Vegas, Portland, KC and Houston are the ones most discussed. If you want to add one to each division, you can bet it won’t be KC and Houston (both Central division teams), or Seattle and Portland (both Pacific), or even one of Seattle and Portland plus Vegas, all of which would be in the Pacific division. Most like it’s one of Seattle/Portland/Vegas and one of KC/Houston.

    That leaves the NHL with 4 divisions of 8 teams, spread out relatively intelligently.

    There’s a method to this madness. On-ice product quality be damned, though.

    • Serious Gord

      There are other markets that could potentially support nhl teams in the future:

      Cleveland, hartford, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, to name a couple of the top of my head,

      And second teams in Vancouver and Montreal (former owner Gillette actually did market studies that proved it would be very successful) and a third in Ontario in the London Guelph Hamilton triangle.

      Expansion is the next step. Relocation – if necessary – will happen later.

  • judgedrude

    It might be nice to have a couple expansion teams in the west (and in the Pacific division particularly–looking at you Seattle) to beat up on as we start climbing our way into the playoffs and beyond.

  • Serious Gord

    And as for the option of relocation versus expansion – both will likely happen in time. If the nhl can expand rather than relocate it should.

    In the nba several teams exist only to support nationwide advertising TV revenues – they have worse gates than almost every team in the nhl.

  • Serious Gord

    Absolutely ridiculous column.

    So Jason you would deny the good people of Quebec City NHL hockey? And the people of eastern Toronto?

    Adding two more Canadian teams increases domestic nhl supply by just under 28%. And the border city of seattle and the vacation city of LV will likely see significant Canadian attendance as well.

    By your logic we should contract EDM and all the other teams added since 67 as that would improve the quality immensely.

    But then such a reduction in supply would drive ticket prices through the roof.

    And let’s also remember that a 28% increase in supply will satiate demand and while it may not reduce prices it definitely will reduce the rate of increase – simple supply/demand dictates that.

    Odd really that you want to see the nhl leave EDM Jason.

    • Buke

      Really? You got THAT from this article? How can somebody who uses satiate correctly in a sentence (congratulations by the way) possibly come to that conclusion?

      I will sit here is stunned silence and let your ignorance resonate.

    • Jason Gregor

      As usual, in your quick rush to point out negatives, you miss key phrases, or the point of the article and end up making no sense.

      From a purely financial reason NHL expansion makes no sense for Canadian hockey fans, unless they league puts the new teams in Canada.

      Pretty sure that says if the NHL expands it should be too Canada first, but I’d rather they relocate bad US franchises instead. Pretty straightforward.

      I’d much rather see some teams like Florida relocate to Seattle, Las Vegas, Quebec or Toronto than expand to a 32-team league.

      Read the above slower, then you will understand that I never said ignore Quebec or Toronto. I said relocate, don’t expand.

      Having more NHL teams has no impact on supply and demand in Edmonton. There will still only be 41 home games. People have sold out the rink watching the worst team in the league. When this team improves, even marginally, ticket prices won’t go down. In fact, they went up this year.

      You think in the new NHL arena, which will have 1,661 more seats (increase of 9% capacity) that the seats will cost less? Not happening, but keep believing that.

      Nothing in the article suggests Edmonton will or should leave. Considering they were top-10 in earnings last year I’m certain Gary Bettman won’t be moving the team.

      You never cease to amaze me in how you can come to a conclusion that has absolutely no connection to the article, or was not even mentioned in the article. It truly is a gift.

      • Serious Gord

        The title of your article says “nhl expansion no thanks”

        Expansion means teams in Toronto and QC. Thus you oppose more teams in Canada.

        Preferring relocation is beside the point. If expansion. Gets more teams in canada sooner then we in this market – beneficiaries of nhl expansion not relocation – should wholeheartedly support it.

        With two new Canadian teams the supply of seats in Canada grows by 28% again you Edmonton-centric bias blinds you to the fact that that kind of attitude in the original six cities would mean no oilers. HYPOCRISY.

        • your disagreement with the article is a huge leap of faith in terms of understanding what Jason was saying.

          but i like your style so i’ll further your argument

          so Jason, if you hate expansion so much why do you even watch hockey(my logic being, if you don’t want more hockey teams, you must want less hockey teams, and to expand that thought, you must not want any hockey played)….classic self hating hockey blogger….brutal(i think that is as apt an argument as yours Gord, logically stated)

        • realistically, that 28% increase in the supply of seats in Canada isn’t going to impact anyone in Edmonton unless those seats are in Edmonton, or people from Edmonton go to wherever those seats are. That growth only benefits people in the location of the growth.
          How often do you fly to Florida to watch NHL hockey because the games are sold out in Edmonton, or the product on the ice isn’t worth the cost of a ticket?

          • My question was how often do you go to watch hockey in Florida because you can’t get a ticket in Edmonton. I didn’t ask if decent trade packages exist. Now, please, with all due respect, answer the question.

          • A-Mc

            I can tell you one thing: If the prices in edmonton continue to escalate as they have been and will do again once the new arena opens, Flying to vegas ($150 round trip) and buying tickets ($50-75/ea) will be as affordable as 1 ticket to an oilers game. I could, and would, do mini vegas trips for the cost of going to an oilers game. It would be way more fun for the same $.

          • Jason Gregor

            You mentioned exposing more kids to hockey grows the sport? That only works if the sport is affordable to those kids.

            In Canada registration is down, and kids have been exposed to it forever. Cost is the issue, regardless of whether you have a team in the city or not. Many kids would love to play here, but can’t afford it.

            As for the Oilers being managed bad or diluted talent… The point was that the league in total doesn’t have enough quality players.

            I don’t think anyone has said Oilers have been managed well the past 8 years…

            Also, can you pass us the link to where you can get $150 return flights to Vegas… On behalf of all readers who like to go to Vegas we would appreciate that. Seems to good to be true.

          • A-Mc

            Hockey affordability is a problem across the board, but the fact remains that getting into new markets will still equate to more kids playing your sport. It may be the Have’s as opposed to the Have-nots, but more kids all the same.

            As for the talent dilution, i understand exactly what point you were trying to make and i dont necessarily disagree with you, i just dont agree with using the last 5 years of Oiler Failure as any kind of indication that the league cannot handle expansion. The Oilers suck because they haven’t been managed very well, on that i think we can all agree.

            And yes i will send a link the next time i hear from someone getting a wicked vegas deal. I’ll tweet it to you. But like i said in other posts, the dollar value i listed shouldnt be the point of contention. The point of the post was to illustrate that the value of going to local games is getting so low that it’s now becoming attractive to fans to buy tickets in markets abroad so that they can watch games either A) Cheaper or B) Receive better value for their dollar.

          • Jason Gregor

            The % of people who would fly to go see a game, compared to those who will bite bullet and pay higher price to go to game in Edm is still very much in favour of home game.

            Right now people can fly to Phoenix and get great seats for $25…but Oilers still sell out with high prices. I don’t see Vegas changing that much, if any, if Vegas ever gets a team.

            There is not that many more kids playing hockey in Florida now that actually impacts NHL caliber players. They have had a team for 20 years. It worked in California, but didn’t in Florida, which is why i’d relocate them. Just like Atlanta.

          • A-Mc

            This is old but it did come up in a google search.

            http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2012/05/31/raw-numbers-hockey-participation-up-in-2011-12/

            I will look for something more recent. I did find this excerpt interesting:

            “Playing membership increased by 2.12 percent from 2010-11 (500,579), marking the third consecutive year of positive growth for USA Hockey. Since 2005-06, hockey participation has grown by 15.6% nationwide, which is incredibly positive, considering the economic woes in the United States. People are finding a way to play the game even through tough financial times.

            Among the playing membership, the biggest gains were made in the 7-8 age range, which saw an increase of 4.26 percent from 2010-11. USA Hockey’s membership development department’s “Come Play Youth Hockey” initiative is working pretty well so far. One of its main goals is to attract more players aged 8 and younger to promote better long-term growth, due to the higher likelihood of retaining players that start playing at the younger ages. Further proof that it’s working, USA Hockey retained 61,396 players in the age group from the previous year, which surpassed the goal set by the organization coming into the season.

            Additionally, hockey playing membership increased at the adult, 13-14 and 11-12 age groups. Women’s hockey also grew by 1.65 percent, with marked growth among girls aged 14 and younger.

            These are all positive numbers for the game in the United States.”
            […]
            “Top 5 in growth: Arizona: 3,649 to 4,113 (12.7%)
            […]
            North Carolina had a significant 10.1 percent growth spurt in 2011-12. Like Tennessee, NC experienced across-the-board growth in youth hockey. Since the Hurricanes arrived in 1997, hockey participation has grown by 152.9 percent in North Carolina.”
            [http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2013/09/13/hockeys-growth-in-the-united-states-2003-2013/]
            Florida
            2002-03: 8,114
            2008-09: 10,340
            2012-13: 11,924
            Ten-Year Growth: 3,810 (46.9%)
            Five-Year Growth: 1,584 (15.3%)
            Notes: A state hit hard by the recession, Florida never really seemed to waver very much in the last decade. With a minor drop in 2004-05, Florida surged out of the lockout years in the NHL in terms of participation. Its 11,924 players in 2011-12 is an all-time high. The Tampa Bay Lightning have really taken a step forward organizationally and could be a real engine for growth in Florida going forward as well, with Steven Stamkos playing a huge role. Its ownership group is committed to growing the game locally.

            According to this things are slowly progressing. It takes time

          • Serious Gord

            California has had nhl hockey since 1967 – 47 years. And Wayne Gretzky. Maybe Florida hasn’t failed. Maybe it needs more time and more on ice success.

          • A-Mc

            Cut from Here:http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2013/09/13/hockeys-growth-in-the-united-states-2003-2013/

            California
            2002-03: 17,671
            2008-09: 20,370
            2012-13: 24,126
            Ten-Year Growth: 6,455 (36.5%)
            Five-Year Growth: 3,746 (18.38)
            Notes: Wayne Gretzky’s trade to LA helped lay the foundation and a gigantic hockey boom in the early 1990s, but California has continued on a path to becoming a real hockey state over the last decade. It has the seventh highest hockey-playing population in the country as of 2012-13. The 24,126 registered players last season was an all-time record for the state.

            Also worth reading. Re: California Hockey
            http://unitedstatesofhockey.com/2012/05/24/hockeys-growth-in-the-golden-state-where-its-been-where-its-going/
            “Though the ball essentially got rolling when Gretzky came to Cali, it would have been really easy for all of it to tail off in the last decade-plus without him. That wasn’t the case however. The seed was planted and the fans and volunteers at the grassroots level kept the water on.

            Since 1990-91, California’s hockey-playing population has grown by a staggering 361.8 percent.”

          • Serious Gord

            Cost is AN issue regarding dropping hockey enrollment but it is not THE issue if Elliotte Friedman et Al’s findings are correct. According to their surveys, by far and away the biggest issue is politics. Hockey Canada has long had a big problem on its hand regarding the conduct of parents and others regarding favoritism – even getting sued in Ontario (and elsewhere? We don’t know how many out of court settlements there have been) kids and parents outside the cliques eventually give up and leave.

            The talent pool is more than adequate to support the nhl. The supply of players has exploded since 11/9/89 and the training and coaching has vastly improved the level of play. And forty years ago good hockey players often chose careers other than hockey because the pay was so bad. That is not the case today as salary levels are unprecedented. .

          • The Soup Fascist

            B.S. on $150 to Vegas. Unless you are flying on a Wednesday with 2 stops on a seat sale, you are looking at minimum $500 with taxes.

            Please post the airline and times of the $150 roundtrip with taxes flights. I seem to be missing those. I will be forever in your debt.

          • A-Mc

            Flight Center has Vegas on for $249.00 plus $143 Tax = about $ 392 .00 Sept.3-6 with room included at the Quad (old Imperial Palace) with WestJet . Not $150.00 but much lower than $500.00 , and with hotel included .

          • G Money

            Agreed – the days of the cheap Vegas flight are over. However, as a non-E-town-resident fan, I am far more likely to spend the small incremental money to go see them in Vegas than in Edmonton – the flight would be slightly more, but hotels and game tickets would be cheaper.

            I also can’t see 4 expansion teams. There are currently 2 more teams in the East than West – this suggests that the 2 Western options are more legit. OR that someone from the East (e.g. Florida) moves to LV or Seattle, and then you have 2 expansion franchises in the other Western city and likely T.O. over QC City (who would be at a huge disadvantage to other teams due to their tax situation). Either way, 2 expansion teams makes more sense than 4.

          • G Money

            I live in BC on the Washington State border. Tickets from Bellingham WAS (30 min away from me) to Las Vegas ARE $150 round trip. I would go there anyday rather than fly or drive to Etown for the same cost, but most assuredly it would be more expensive.

          • A-Mc

            I would like to link you to something that exists right now but i dont see anything. $150 is more the exception than the norm, but it has and does happen.

            I was listing that to illustrate a point. I could put 200-300 in there and it’d still be a valid comment. The point is that its getting to be so expensive in some markets that it’s literally cheaper (Or cost Competitive) to buy tickets in other markets, and fly there for games. Sure you’ll likely spend a little more money to fly to a city to watch a game, but then it can also be treated like a vacation instead of just a night of hockey.

            The value is shifting to markets abroad.

            PS: whats’ wrong with flying out on wednesdays, or having 2 stops? Cheap is Cheap, no matter what the circumstances.

          • Serious Gord

            Yeah cheap is cheap when you spend one night of your trip in the airport departures level instead of a hotel and when you package it you get a 2 star way way off the strip and need to sleep in your clothes and a potato gun under your pillow!

            I’d rather buck up and take a direct flight and stay in a 4 to 5 star and go less times. Every bit of the trip, not just the game, is part of my overall experience.

            Otherwise if cost was the whole deal, the standing room tickets would be first to go up around here and 118th ave would be as busy as Whyte. Not happenin..

          • A-Mc

            Props for making me LOL.

            I would prefer to fly 1st class, stay in a luxury 5 star hotel and be pampered every step of the way. But the fact remains that $ conscious people often have no problem taking red eyes, suffering lay overs, and sleeping in Hostels. Hostels aren’t for me, but im sure we all know folks who have stayed or regularly stay in them.

            I guess my point is that an el cheapo deal might not work for you but it could work for someone else. A trip down to vegas to watch a Game (+ take part in other activities) doesn’t have to be expensive or luxurious to have a good time.

            Hell i used flying as an example, but i know crazy people who would drive down and consider the road trip the best part. That’s not my cup of tea, i tell ya what /HankHill.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I fly there a lot and have not seen anything even close to that but to be fair if there is a direct flight I take it.

            The problem is flights to and from Vegas are typically cheapest Tuesdays and Wednesdays. If the game is on a Friday and you fly down on a Wednesday and home on a Tuesday to get the cheapest fair – tell me how much you are “saving” – especially in Vegas with time to kill.

            In the name of research, I randomly picked midweek November tickets to a theoretical Thursday night game through Expedia. Booking 3 months ahead on a milk run, leaving on a Wednesday and flying back on a Tuesday to get the absolute cheapest flight it is $391. Plus 6 nights of hotel. The same week if I fly out on Thursday and return on a Sunday the cheapest flight is $543.

            I don’t want to argue – if fact, I hope against hope you are correct. Just please post the next $150, hell even $300 return YEG to LAS fight you find. I will be on it like Miley Cyrus on a spliff at a frat party.

          • Serious Gord

            Bingo.

            A few months ago on Toronto radio a caller described how he bought four seasons tickets to Florida for excellent seats and flew down there just to watch leafs games and then sold the remainder for peanuts (except Mtl and some of the other eastern teams) and still spent far less than he would have going to watch the leafs at the ACC.

        • Jason Gregor

          I said they could relocate teams to Canada. Just don’t expand there. And this isn’t 1979. Is the NHL expanding from WHA teams? The talent pool was deep enough to bring in quality players. It isn’t now.

          It is why I said relocate to Canada. Read slower.

          And who cares if the supply of seats in Canada grows by 28%. You think a new team in Quebec means ticket prices in Edmonton will go down? Hilariously inane.

          • Serious Gord

            Actually at the margins LV seattle and Toronto will reduce demand for tickets in EDM. Those three locations will host the oil and oil fans can see them there rather than tolerate the dreadful experience that is provided by rexall and the oil (and provide some competitive pressure in that regard too).

            PHX and anaheim et al provide nhl product that us consumed by oilers fans on vacation already. Three new cities that have significant numbers of Edmonton visitors will do the same. That’s why Florida and Tampa are in the same conference as Toronto.

            An d there is also the shaming aspect. No doubt a second team on TO for example will dampen demand for leafs tickets. That said both teams will be perpetual sellouts. But the rate of ticket increases will decline as will the cost of concession goods. A similar thing happened in the mlb a few years ago when comparisons were made between ticket and concessions in Toronto and other markets – the result was changes were made to both in Toronto.

          • toprightcorner

            your a moron. If I go to vegas the last thing i would do is go see a hockey game, you see the clubs, the show , the restaurants and to gamble.

            Arixona has the highest number of Canadian snowbirds that stay for an average of 5 months a year and how are their attendance records.

            There will be no devout fans of vegas in vegas, minimal merchandise sales an all around bad team to grow fans of the game. 90% of tickets will be corporate and perks and giveaways at casinos.

            Since the math you do doesn’t have any true valuable correlation to the actual success of teams. So you keep a team in Florida that loses about $15 mil a year and expand a team to Quebec that makes $20 million a year you know have 2 teams combines making $5 mill.

            Or

            You take FLA an their $15 mill losses and move it to Quebec where they make $20 mill. So would you rather have 2 teams making a combined $5 mill or 1 team making $20 mill.

            Team talent suffers greatly makes for a worse product which would actually negatively affect ticket sales and TV viewing satisfaction which would then reduce the audience and reduce the value of the next television deal. TV deals are based on eyeballs on a program, who in Vegas are going to spend they evening watching hockey on TV.

            You failed in your initial intent to be a smart ass and make Gregor look stupid and ever since then the perception of you IQ from others as dropped dramatically.

          • Serious Gord

            You are naive to think that fla and the other southern teams are just about the gate. It’s much more about national presence for the purposes of driving advertising revenue.

            Sure LV will be a lot about corp perks – just as it is in EDM and Toronto. The vast majority of seasons tickets are corporately owned. And those seats spend lots on concessions. LV succeeding is a long way from guaranteed and a lot of what is driving it is the need for a tenant in a new arena – as it was back in the day in FLa and PHX and Tampa to name just a few.

          • Wax Man Riley

            Building the tv market in the US is huge for the NHL, just like it is for he NFL.

            The thing is, the NHL is a gate-driven league. Florida has failed building the brand in the US. Anaheim looks to have worked out. LA has definite cache. San Jose has a following. Dallas is still working on it, nashville has a following too. Florida has failed though. Tampa bay is struggling too. The NHL will gain more financially with another team in Canada.

          • Serious Gord

            Well someone in fla is still writing checks and I don’t think they think it has failed. Lots of local non-gate issues – tenancy etc. – that help out. And there are other places where hockey failed the first time round and then has flourished – denver for example. Winning would go a long way towards changing the outlook. Yzerman isn’t there out of the goodness of his heart either.

            Time will tell, but it’s not “failed” yet.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            your a moron.

            ___________________________________________________________________________

            Oh my. That certainly didn’t pack the punch you thought it would, eh.

          • A-Mc

            Thank you for inspiring me to make my first ever post.

            You’re not actually making the argument that Oilers fans that are so unhappy with the hockey product on their home ice would not only be unwilling to merely boycott attending games in their own city, rather they would FLY to another city (Vegas, Seattle, Toronto#2) to watch the team that they can’t stand to watch at home? Just to make a point and provide “competitive pressure”…?

            Wow, you must know some well-heeled people who like to blow huge cash just to make meaningless points.

            I honestly fail to see how hockey expansion in any other market will impact demand locally in a hockey-crazy market. You are confusingly using both macro and micro economics at the same time to very eloquently NOT make your point.

          • Serious Gord

            “At the margins..” Guess you missed that in my post.

            And are you saying people from EDM don’t take in oilers games in PHX and elsewhere while wintering or vacationing there? That none of them would have bought tickets in EDM if they didn’t have those venues as options?

            And they aren’t blowing “huge cash” certainly not as “huge” as if they had tried to buy the same quality seat in EDM rather than PHX.

          • Jason Gregor

            Funny…I think you missed most of Gregor’s post, literally and deductively.

            I’m 100% aware that people take in games while wintering, but to suggest that it would apply “competitive pressure” in the home market is inane. If people attending games in PHX does not already have any impact on home demand, please turn the lights on for me, because I’m still in the dark as to how it would decrease in any appreciable way with expansion.

            If it is only “at the margins” which I did not miss by the way, what actual financial impact does this make to the local team? Pointless.

            The people taking in a game or two in another city do not impact the financial bottom line of the Oilers in any appreciable way. Sure, you could make the case that it is cheaper for the traveller for that one instance, but I hardly think the team cares about lost revenue from a small minority of people doing a one-off hockey game vacation.

            If you’re wintering in PHX/Vegas/Wherever and taking in multiple games, guess what…you’re not negatively impacting the Oilers bottom line, you’re supporting PHX’s cashflow and thus supporting the league. But hardly at the expense of the Oilers, because as I said, the local market is hockey mad and just because you might have more supply at a Macro level, it has absolutely no bearing on demand at the Micro level.

          • Serious Gord

            You must have missed my other posts on this thread that did pointedly address Jason’s article. The post which you refer is very much about a side issue.

          • Serious Gord

            Last thing first.

            I am a hockey fan first, a Canadian hockey fan second and an Edmonton market fan third. You are clearly the inverse o f that.

            Thus I think it is a great thing if we can increase the number of Canadians getting to watch live NHL hockey by 28%. And that does not include added benefits of the re-creation of one of the great rivalries in hockey history and the potential to create a new one.

            And the expansion in the nhl to EDM et al caused massive dilution and deterioration of the quality of player. The early impact was wide open hockey, the longer one was the stifling of the game and the clutch and grab. In EDM the early impact made for great entertaining hockey, but in other markets it was embarrassingly bad hockey. You overlook that.

            Opposing expansion as a means of adding teams in Canada is to tell the people of those markets that expansion was okay for Edmonton but not okay for them. A Selfish and hypocritical position.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Yes. If only the people of Quebec City were given the opportunity – just one chance – to have an NHL team, it would be marvelous. It is so unfair that they have been overlooked for so long and deprived of the chance to ever have an NHL team ….

            …..what? …..when? ….Aubut?

            er ….talk among yourselves. Sorry.

          • Serious Gord

            Convenient glossing over of what the circumstances were that precipitated the loss of the Quebec franchise and the near loss of Calgary and Edmonton. Making fun of quebecs loss ignores how close run it was that EDM lost the oil. Thanks to Gary bettman and others EDM and cgy didn’t lose their teams and it looks very likely that Quebec will get theirs back in the next couple of years.

          • The Soup Fascist

            Not making fun at all.

            The fact is that now it is a much more lucrative time to have an NHL team than it was when the Can$ was worth less and the Niques pulled out.

            The fact also is that the the Oilers did NOT lose their team, thanks primarily to the EIG who stepped up (and Bettman who recognized the market’s potential). Bettman’s vision was business related, not altruistic. Let’s be clear about that.

            It is also reasonable to suppose that things may not always be as rosy as it is now to own a Canadian team. Could Quebec City (should they get a team) and even Winnipeg, as small markets, with less robust economies – and in the case of Winnipeg, a revenue restricted building – possibly face the same fate if the C$ takes a plunge or interest rates jump up? I am not hoping for it, but it is a possibility. Let’s see how Ottawa fairs with a team of muckers this year and an owner who is unwilling to spend $.

            Quebec would still be among the smallest markets, with a recovering economy, with a less anglo-welcoming environment than Montreal or Ottawa, and would be unlikely to be making money hand over fist. Whether you want to hear it or not, those realities will still exist for Nordiques v2.0.

          • Serious Gord

            I agree on all counts. EDM was not lost in large part because it found owners.

            QC lost theirs in part because of the owner(s). Had the shoe been on the other foot EDM could have been the city without a franchise prepared to take either a relocated team or an expansion team.

            And yes Edmonton currently is a stronger market than QC. If oil drops to 50 bucks for a decade then the opposite would be the case.

          • is it better to add new teams in canada that will prop up failing teams in Florida, or is is better to simply move those teams from non-sustaining markets to a city that will have enough interest to fill the arena?
            Would you prefer to see expansion in Canada, or would you prefer to see 2 teams relocated there from non-hockey markets?

          • Serious Gord

            That is an argument worth having. No doubt it is one that has been engaged in at the NHLs offices. But that is not what Jason is arguing.

            I prefer whatever gets two new teams in Canada on a sustainable footing. If it can be done via expansion I would prefer that because it helps to grow the game. My second choice – and bettmans and the NHLs second choice – is relocation.

    • Serious Gord

      If you have good markets without teams, you move teams to those markets from bad ones.

      That’s not the same as “contract the league starting with Edmonton”.

      Did you read the article?

      • Serious Gord

        I did read the article – the argument that Cdns pay too much and that expansion dilutes quality run against themselves. The only way to get prices down or moderate the increase is to expand supply which in a product like hockey means a reduction in quality.

        You can’t have it both ways.

        And if the nhl thinks it can expand rather than relocate – and in light of national advertising and expansion fees vs relocation fees it probably very much does.

        And for a sports radio host working in a market that has a team because do expansion to now oppose expansion for purely selfish reasons is the definition of hypocrisy.

    • The Soup Fascist

      * Readies himself for “putting words in my mouth” blast that will almost certainly and justifiably come from JG.

      **Hold on just making popcorn.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Wow. Please show the quote where Gregor says the NHL should not be in Edmonton. While you are at it, I missed where he suggested a 6-team league is the way to go.

          There are times I think you look to provide facts to prove a position you believe in. That is great. There are other times you make stuff up you don’t really believe – just for the sake of being controversial.

          I strongly believe this is the latter. No one could truly be that dense.

          • Serious Gord

            If ones argument that expansion is a bad idea because it weakens the product – that is Jason’s logic – then taken to its end ALL expansion teams should be gotten rid of.

            Including EDM.

            Imagine how fantastic the quality of hockey would be where only one fifth of the players currently in the NHL would be in the league of six teams. But then the people in Jason’s market would have to fly to Toronto and pay god knows what for a ticket to see it live.

          • The Soup Fascist

            I am not sure it is an all or nothing proposition, Gord.

            Expansion for any business is typically an indication of success – and necessity for survival – assuming it is not done in a haphazard manner and without understanding the implications.

            The NHL had to expand from 6 to 12 teams and from 12 to 21 teams and so on, to survive; and Jason was pointing out that the health of the business needs to be considered before taking the next step. The “all or nothing” option you have presented is ridiculous.

            But I will admit when I am wrong. Apparently you are that dense.

          • Serious Gord

            If you want to argue that expansion is a bad business decision by the nHL, I’m more than willing to entertain that.

            But that is NOT what Jason is arguing. His is purely a self-centered one – dilution of product quality regardless of the fact that that likely means QC and Toronto don’t get teams for sometime yet. And it is all the more galling when he does it while living in a market that has an EXPANSION team. One that was part of an era that caused massive and sudden dilution of talent and a dreadful drop in the quality of the game in many respects while also creating a very exciting game in others.

  • The Soup Fascist

    While I understand your concern for a watered down product, a 32-team league is inevitable.

    Given the requisite expansion fees and desired “balance” between conferences it is happening – no matter what the fans want or what is ultimately good for the product.

    32 teams by 2017 including Seattle and Las Vegas.

    Because, Gary wants it.

  • The Soup Fascist

    Great article Gregor. That list of Oilers is painful to read, but it illustrates how many bad NHL players would fill out expansion rosters.

    I’m with you. I’d much rather see relocation than expansion.