Forgive me if I'm a little passionate about this absurd matter of hockey in the desert, but please, let me elaborate.
The Phoenix Coyotes are a team that have never turned a profit since their move from Winnipeg in 1996.
They are predicted to loose another $20 million this upcoming season.
They lost a reported $35 million during the 2008-09 season.
So then, why are they still in the desert?
Gary Bettman's deranged view of how sane, good, and economical hockey business works has gone beyond all comprehensible credit.
The Jobing.com Arena seats 17,799 and based on the fact that the Coyotes averaged a league worst 11,989 per game while drawing more fans when they were on the road (16,986), there comes the questions again: Why are they still in the desert?
Phoenix has a population of 1.5 million people. If you add in the larger metropolitan area of Phoenix and there is the 12th largest American metro area with 4.3 million people.
Bettman sees the potential for hockey to work there because of potential fans.
Potential fans sit down in potential Jobing.com Arena seats to watch hockey.
And how do they do that?
They spend this potential money.
Anyone notice a trend?
This money is only "potential".
After almost 15 years of losing money, "potential" has never left the desert.
This "potential" is bordering on negligence with the business of hockey.
Never before in professional sports has a team, that has lost so much money, and is still in a market that will lose money, been sought to be saved so vigorously by so many people.
It almost makes me wonder what these people are thinking.
I'm not a businessman.
But I know a bad business deal when I see one.
They lost $35 million in 2008-09?
And are going to lose another $20 million this coming season?
Isn't that $55 million in losses in two seasons alone?
For a team that was listed as being worth $138 million in 2009 by Forbes magazine.
Compared that with the NBA's Phoenix Suns, which are worth $429 million.
Or even the MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks, which are worth $379 million.
And yes, even the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, worth a reported $789 million.
If that doesn't give you a good view of what Arizona, and more particularly Phoenix, fans want to watch and care about when it comes to sports, then maybe you should think again.
Competing with three sports teams, who have won championships (Arizona won the 2001 World Series) or have contended for championships (Cardinals lost Super Bowl XLIII to the Pittsburgh Steelers; Suns reached the NBA Finals in 1976 and 1993), the Coyotes lack of success has hurt them.
But it is a lack of knowledge of the game by fans and a lack of caring by the fans as well. Fifteen years of a team in a community would usually mean the team is well engrained in the sports community.
Not so in Phoenix.
Since moving from Winnipeg in 1996, the Coyotes have had even less success than their predecessors.
The deal has gone so far south that once again Bettman begins to tease an already strong fan base in Winnipeg that their beloved Jets are coming back.
Many are resigned to the fact it will never happen, while others are steeped in the hysteria and conspiracy that the Jets will come back and the picture of the Queen will be, once again, raised in the MTS Centre rafters.
But Bettman again plays the man everyone loves to hate.
Especially in Winnipeg.
Especially in Canada.
So ask yourself a simple question, Mr. Bettman:
Do you really think that a team that has never made money—ever—will turn it around and make money instantly?
I don't think so.
If you don't have the interest of the fans and can't compete with other teams, you can't compete in the greater sports market. Period.
And this is why the Phoenix Coyotes will never succeed—on or off the ice.
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