December 30, 2005
Driving down Empress yesterday made me do a double-take. A sad site. Debris all over the place. Chunks of brick. Piles of steel I-beams. Loads of memories being smashed by a wrecking ball.
As I pulled over to take some shots of this scene I noticed a woman, must have been in her 40's, doing the same. She had pulled over too. She told me she was sending the pictures to her son who has since moved from Winnipeg. She said that he would be devastated to actually see Winnipeg Arena coming down.
Good times. And better times to come...
December 14, 2005
Red River Kick FM Talk
While the national media whirls around the Penguins topic, our local Red River College had more in-depth topics to discuss relating to the return of the Jets. 92.9 KICK FM invited me to guest on their hour-long sports talk show that airs every Wednesday night. Topics were more than relevant and stayed focused throughout the 30 minutes I was on with the show. Only one question was asked about the past, while the rest aimed at the future and what Winnipeg had to offer over other American hopefuls.
My answer was quite clear. Simply put, Winnipeg's chances are high due to a lack of something for once! Competition within the city limits. Our sports dollar isn't stretched thin already, like many American cities are. The Bombers and Goldeyes do not demand high prices and are, for all intensive purposes, minor league when it comes to cost. They also take place in summer-fall.
That leaves an NHL team to be front page, top priority and below no other sport. They wouldn't have to compete with other sports for ticket sales year-in and year-out. Try telling that to the average family in Pittsburgh or Kansas City or Houston. After a year or so once the hype has worn off, where do you think their money is going to go if they have to choose one sport to support? Steelers...yes. Chiefs..yes. Texans...yes. Or maybe the MLB's Pirates, Royals or Astros. Or the NBA's Rockets.
But NHL hockey? Not likely. Not consistently. Not 17,000 of them. So why need a building that big? Why move to a "market" like that?
It's a WIN(nipeg)-WIN(nipeg) situation for the NHL to move here. Period.
December 12, 2005
Maybe Penguins Can Fly
The first item up for bids in the new NHL could very well be the Pittsburgh Penguins franchise. Though speculation has the team moving to Kansas City or Houston, there is no evidence that those cities would supoprt pro hockey in the long-term. In fact, history has shown that the Scouts of the NHL couldn't draw and the current AHL team in Houston (the Aeros) average 3,500 fans. The Moose nearly double that in a city one-eighth the size. We know what the public's thoughts are...they can be gauged on The Hockey News website in a poll posted this week. Currently Winnipeg has tallied 53% of votes while Kansas City chalked up 4% and Houston 3%. Be sure to submit your vote.
Now we all know that what people think is right and what actually happens are two very different things. Luckily for us, no matter what happens to the Penguins there are still several teams on the brink of relocating.
The key will be what kind of deal is offered and whether current owners wish to retain part ownership (therefore reducing the financial means a Winnipeg group would have to front) or whether they wish to be rid of the franchise altogether. Both scenarios work for Winnipeg and MTS Centre under the right circumstances, but obviously the first scenario is more ideal.
November 23, 2005
"Jets" movie hits Cinematheque
I spent this evening pre-screening an independent movie called "Death By Popcorn: The Tragedy of the Winnipeg Jets". CBC arranged a special viewing as the movie doesn't hit the theatre until Friday (check Cinematheque listing for exact times and dates). If you are looking for a serious retrospective on the Winnipeg Jets or a documentary of some sort, this isn't the film for you. However, if you are looking for an amusing piece packed with humour and the unfortunate, relentless inferiority complex Winnipeggers carry around, then go see the film.
It is an artsy piece that jumps all over the map and includes great footage, not only of Jets interviews and games but also of the tacky commercials and promos of the 1980's. It is a virtual time capsule of Winnipeg from 1979-1996 with rare footage of Burton Cummings getting into Jets gear and skating for the first time in 20 years, Rod Black's corny promo spots, Curt Keilback, Laurie Mustard, Gene Principe, Daren Millard and many more Winnipeg personalities of the time.
The film bases it's title from the infamous popcorn-throwing moment of the 1990 playoffs. It also focuses on the arch-nemesis Edmonton Oilers as thorns in our sides. All-in-all, it is a worthwhile venture, but again, it is not a documentary or a serious look at the past whatsoever. It is merely a dry-humoured poke at an era lost more than almost a decade ago.
As for the campaign's next blitz, many details and joint ventures are being discussed right now. It will take time but I feel the right people are behind some major moves. A February date looks like the best case scenario right now for a large scale rally of sorts. Alot has to happen in the meantime so be patient (there's that word again). It is going to take alot of work and alot of help and support by all of you. Be ready and stay tuned for details in the coming weeks.
In other news, Winnipeg men Magazine has a full page piece on the campaign called "2 Minutes in the Box". Try to grab a copy if you can. Otherwise I'll post it on the site shortly.
October 24, 2005
Some recent "posted" attendances around the league. Always remember to deduct at least 25% from these figures. Some figures were so bad that they didn't even post a number. They were likely posted under 9,000 (meaning 6,500). Here are some that did post a number (realistic figures in parenthesis):
Nashville: 12,058 (9,043)
Atlanta: 12,913 (9,684)
Florida: 11,716 (8,787)
Carolina: 10,968 (8,226)
Washington: 10,760 (8,070)
Anaheim: 13,733 (10,299)
What exactly was that reason for needing an arena that seats 19,000? Why exactly were these better places to put hockey? How exactly did the new CBA help these teams?
Nobody is going. It is that simple. No more people will ever go. It is that simple. It doesn't snow there. It is that simple.
Winnipeg getting 14,800-15,200 every night with fans that care and that ALL PAID is a far better option. It is that simple.
October 23, 2005
Jets Return On Canada's Mind
The newest addition to the awareness of our cause came in the form of an article in the Toronto Star which mentions the Return of the Jets Campaign and includes many quotes from Mark Chipman. It is a large platform for recognition and will help to get Hockey Night in Canada interested in the story. Toronto media take note of Toronto stories...and this story comes out of Toronto. Did I mention Toronto yet?
The country is now well aware of our desire, and more importantly, our suitability to have a team here. Don't worry about the local media. They don't know anything. And they will only report something when it has already become news. That's how it usually goes around here. Only when it becomes national news does it become worthy of local news. Everybody is too busy covering the Moose or whether the Bombers are going to make the playoffs with a 1-84 record to take note of the most important time in recent Winnipeg sports history. Now.
We're in the window right now and many are looking in at us. Man we look good!
October 14, 2005
New Section Up And Running!
The anticipated "Notable Quotes" section is now up and running! The new page (see it on the left) documents relevant quotes relating to the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg, how bad things are down south or just any old comment that strikes you as connected to our cause. You are encouraged to contribute as much as possible whenever you come across one of these quotes. It should be from a recognizable figure (from any and all walks of life) or at least from a credible figure if they are unknown.
Feel free to submit your quotes to me as often as you wish. I know some of you are great at combing the net for "goodies", so keep it up!
On another note, look for the Winter 2006 edition of Winnipeg Men Magazine due out in November. It will feature the campaign and myself on the back page in a section called "2 Minutes In The Box". It should be a great spread and yet another great plug for our cause. Many businesses throughout the city receive this publication. When it is released, I'll fill you in further about details.
Preliminary ideas are circulating regarding a major rally and media blitz for the ROTJ Campaign. This event is going to take alot of careful planning and will need true committment from supporters to be successful. You all wanted to know when you could help and that you'd be there...well the time will come this hockey season! Time to step up and raise your voice. The idea is in the very early stages and much has to be hammered out with regards to timing, strategy and execution. Stay tuned and be ready in the coming months.
October 13, 2005
Brett, Bobby & Coyotes Disrespect Winnipeg
There is no other word for the un-retiring of Bobby Hull's number and his unduction into their "Ring of Fame?" than pure disrespect. Actually, there is another word to describe it...publicity stunt.
Sure, the Coyotes are technically the same organization as the Winnipeg Jets of old but feeling the need to give Brett Hull #9 is not only un-necessary but a slap in the face to the city of Winnipeg. Afterall, we made Bobby the first millionaire hockey player. We also enjoyed only one retired number during the Jets official existence here in Winnipeg. Why take away the one piece of sports history Winnipeg had that stood out in the world of professional sport? How does Bobby Hull have ANYTHING do do with the city of Phoenix? Brett will play there maybe one year. Why does he all of the sudden need to wear #9 after all these years? Here comes the word again...disrespect.
I was personally appalled that this took place without at least a formal letter to the city of Winnipeg. This might sound silly, but really think about it. There is no reason this needed to occur other than to get some press. It is such a waste of meaningful history to Winnipeg just for 15 minutes of attention for a struggling hockey team both on and off the ice. To say I am less than impressed would be an understatement. Shame on those few Winnipeggers that still remain part of the club from the Jets days.
Shame on Bobby and Brett Hull for even considering such an idea. Shame on the Coyotes for going through with it. Shame on Sam Katz if he doesn't formally make our disappointment known.
I'd be surprised if ten or twenty people in Phoenix even care about what any of this means to Winnipeg let alone to themselves. I propose we shouldn't care anymore either. The principle is worse than the act in this case and to that I say...
October 5, 2005
New NHL = Winnipeg Again...Well Duh!
I assured those that were concerned about there not being enough news lately that things would be fine. I told them that we would be back in the spotlight when hockey hit the ice again. Well look at what happened. Before the puck even dropped on the NHL's first night of regular season action in 15 months...what has the headlines? Winnipeg.
Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun spoke with prominent sports business expert Howard Bloom recently and now feels it is finally safe to assume Winnipeg will be back in the NHL not just ever, but very soon. That's a long way from "pipe dream" status.
It is apparently safe, now that the CBA and MTS Centre are behind us, to assume Winnipeg can be back in this league. Guess What? The needed conditions were always going to be met. The CBA and arena were always going to get done since the first day this site launched.
Oh, but we were the crazy ones, remember. Don't feel crazy people, feel great! We knew the headlines before they appeared in the paper. We didn't need to be sports business experts. I realize we aren't as credible as Mr. Blooom but exactly how did Mr. Friesen come to the conclusion that the following was Mr. Bloom's prediction:
Bloom predicts Pittsburgh, Florida, Nashville, Atlanta, Anaheim, even Washington, are all headed for trouble. "I think some of them have already decided," Bloom said. "The teams that were in trouble before the lockout are still in trouble. And they're probably in more trouble than they were."
Now view this website's first post on June 1, 2003:
The new MTS Centre is now completed and has the ability to be the loudest, most intimate building in the NHL and sell-out every night! But only with top caliber hockey. This idea may seem laughable at the moment, but keep in mind the moment will soon be changing.
The NHL will fall into disarray in September 2004, opening the door to the likelihood that salaries will be under more control. There is also the likelihood that American teams will want out or at least suffer less in a real hockey market rather than a poor hockey market with an NFL, MLB, and NBA team that will always overshadow them anyway. Those teams are averaging less fans per game in a much larger population base than the Winnipeg Jets of the past ever did. They are failing.
and posts like this one:
Now that the game appears to be heading back to the ice, we can only wait out the upcoming season to see who still fails as a franchise. Then we move in. There will be several opportunities regardless of more affordable tickets. If people aren't interested, no amount of discount will get them in the stands
The cities he mentions that may relocate soon are none that haven't been uttered hundreds of times throughout this campaign. The point of this tirade of mine is that none of this is new. Of course not. But it is refreshing it to those who have "lost faith" just because there isn't headlines every single day about a white knight riding in a moving a team here. Patience. That is the final step and it will come in due time.
Heck, just listen to Mr. Bloom and Paul Friesen. They just figured it out.
You can check out what Howard Bloom of SportsBusinessNews.com had to say in the Winnipeg Sun 1 and Winnipeg Sun 2. Again, it's nothing new but it adds yet another credible source to this website's ideas.
August 16, 2005
Keep An Eye Out
Some new press clips will be added to the "Press" section shorty. As well, be sure to check out the National Post Sports section on Monday, August 22 . Scotty T will have more to say.
Sometime before Halloween I intend to add a section called Notable Quotes. The section will contain numerous quotes from key people relating to the positive angle of the Jets returning. Be sure to e-mail JetsOwner.com any relevant quote that catches your eye, whether it is from two years ago or two days ago. Send it in!
August 9, 2005
City Buses, Police Cars, Semi-Trailers and Cabs!
What do they have in common? They were all honking for the Jets last Friday during rush hour traffic. With a constant flow of traffic between 3:00 and 6:00pm, Portage & Main proved to be the ideal location to gauge what Winnipeg drivers thought about the return of the NHL to Winnipeg. All they really had to see was the red, white and blue clad supporters and they honked and yelled out their windows (no fender benders reported!). It was incredible but not surprisng at all.
As expected, they media spun the story towards the "only a handful of people" angle. To their credit, they did cover the story at all and they did include quotes that clarified how the "rally" was not meant to show the true support for the cause. Obviously. It was only meant to get a few honks and attention and it succeeded in both of those aspects and some. People from all 4 major offices towers were looking down to see what the traffic noise was about. Just the smiles on drivers/passengers' faces said it all. The fond memories and bright future of the Jets brought joy to their drive home.
It didn't end with regular citizens either. Police turned on their sirens, rigs pulled their foghorns, city buses gave their beep on behalf of their passengers, cabbies gave a toot and even passing cyclists and pedestrians yelled "Go Jets! Bring 'em back!"
What Portage & Main needs is perhaps a healthy dose of horns once every month until the Jets return home. This is an idea that needs some work and planning in order to grow in size and effectiveness. Sponsers, city permission and radio are some of the more key elements to this kind of plan. Certainly several dozen supporters at each of the four corners would be ideal. If it gets bigger, great!
Stay tuned for an idea of this nature to gather steam amongst viewers of this website. This campaign has to begin to become a community effort now. The pressure must come from us...the ticket buyers.
August 3, 2005
Come Make Some White Noise!
The supporters of JetsOwner.com would like to invite all to attend a brief rally at Portage & Main this Friday, August 5th starting at 3:00pm. Be sure to bring signage displaying your views, provided they contain tasteful slogans. Some good ideas might be:
"NEW VISION: JetsOwner.com"
"HONK: if you want the Jets back"
"NHL: One Step Away"
The initial meeting place should be at the NorthEast corner of the intersection (Hy's Steakloft). Should the turnout be substantial, we can disperse people at all four corners!
It looks to be a nice, sunny day so be sure to bring some water and of course wear white or wear Jets apparel!
July 22, 2005
"Rally" Planned For August 5th.
Remember this slogan?...
"New Arena". (Check.) "New NHL". (Check.) "New Vision" (...pending)
On this, the first day of new NHL life, it is fitting to do something here in Winnipeg to celebrate. Who better than the supporters of this campaign!
On behalf of the Return of the Jets Campaign I would like to announce the planning of a rally, of sorts. Supporters of this website plan to wear white and flash signs in support of the return of the NHL to Winnipeg. This "rally" is in no way meant to gather thousands of fans to the streets or gauge the true support for the cause, but rather simply show support in some shape or form.
On Friday, August 5th the plan is to "make some noise" at Portage & Main and possibly outside MTS Centre. This will be carried out in a civilized manner and with no interuption of traffic or hazard to anybody's safety.
Certainly the rally should be taken seriously, but please remember, it is not intended to prove how may people want the NHL back (that would be tens of thousands!)...just a friendly event for those that feel like speaking out.
The rally should commence at 3:00pm that day behind the barricades.
July 19, 2005
Portage & Main To Get A Dose Of White
Supporters of this website have indicated that they will hold a rally at Portage & Main on a date soon to be released. The "rally" of sorts will more or less be a chance to voice your desire for an NHL team to land back in Winnipeg. Feel free to bring signs and wear white.
The idea would be to be visible to passers-by around rush hour (3:00-5:00pm) without disrupting their movement or putting anyone in danger. As well, please avoid any confrontations with those who have a difference of opinion. This is a very important rule, as stated in the past, it maintains our credibilty and portrays us as bigger and more mature individuals. Please stay behind the barricades.
If you are interested in helping plan this event and picking a date you are welcome to drop into Boston Pizza Lounge on the corner of Regent & Lagimodiere at 8pm this Wednesday, July 20th. Otherwise stay tuned for details of this event.
July 18, 2005
Global TV "Newsmakers"
A great five-minute piece aired on Global Friday night. "Newsmakers" with Derrick Oliver invited me to come down to Global studios for a segment which focused solely on www.JetsOwner.com and talk about the NHL returning to Winnipeg in light of the new CBA. Exclusives are neaarly as good as live television when it comes to getting a point across. It eliminates the possibilty of editing answers and gives the opportunity to speak your piece in full, meaningful sentences. The questions, which totalled about 15, were excellent and gave me the opportunity to lay out my points in detail. Overall it was a very positive piece. Mr. Oliver allowed me to speak without cutting me short or coming across condesending whatsoever. And why would he...look at what has transpired over the past two years! I made sure to plug the fact that our campaign foresaw these recent events and have gained credibilty as time has gone by.
Can't happen? Won't happen? Too many "ifs"?
How about: Can happen. Will happen. Only one "if" remaining.
The Randy Turners, Power 97s and CJOBs of the journalism realm are quick to forget their stance and lack of foresight only a year ago. Now, it seems they see the light at the end of the tunnel. I certainly welcome the support, we all should. It is just very frustrating to read and listen to a completely different stance from the same people who told us to give up the dream and quit chanting "Go Jets Go" in MTS Centre. They told us to let the Jets rest in peace yet today they agree it is a matter of "when" not "if". Does that saying sound familiar? Randy Turner's latest piece in the Free Press sounds more like a JetsOwner.com news entry than his usual "keep dreaming" angle. Compare that to his January 2004 article. Seems some are now following our lead instead of smirking at it. Glad to see people are coming around. They should have been around from the get-go.
Never underestimate the power of the positive side of the force. Okay, that was a tad cheesy, but nonetheless true.
The picture is finally clear to those who couldn't see. News flash, we've seen it all along and we should be proud of that. See "Press" section for the newest scanned article. Also note the very first scan ever on May 15, 2003. Apparently us pipedreamers can "hold our breathe" for a long time.
July 14, 2005
Media Hot For Winnipeg Talk...Again
Though I'd certainly like for the media to use any of the intelligent answers I have given to their questions, I sure can't complain about the attention to our cause. Today was a very busy day. Four groups from CBC radio and TV came calling as did, Global and CKY . All of them wanted to know exactly what the new NHL meant to the campaign as well as what still needed to occur in order to successfully regain an NHL franchise. I laid all of this out in a concise manner only to be edited down to "it's only a matter of time" comments. Sobeit.
Here are the naysaying comments of the month (they have a smaller and smaller list to gather from!) complete with rebuttals:
- The new CBA will now work for the weak southern franchises. See June 28.
- There aren't any teams for sale. Wrong. There are numerous teams either interested in hearing proposals or on the verge of moving their team. As stated in June of 2003, I believe 4 or 5 teams will be available at various prices. That figure, in my mind, remains unchanged.
- There aren't any buyers in Winnipeg willing to step up. Have no fear, money is here. That money must remain quiet for the time being, but rest assured, when the time is right and the deal makes sense...the deal will be done. If I had any doubts about that I couldn't continue with this campaign. Yet here I am.
- The salary cap is still too high. Remember, the $39 million figure being thrown around as the upper limit is just that...the UPPER LIMIT. The Winnipeg Jets of the future could comfortably spend $29 million while the New York Rangers spend $39 million and still compete at the same level. Let them spend the maximum if they wish. We all know that doesn't win championships. A good hockey front office does. In the league of old (I like to call the Terrible Ten) from 1995-2004, how could anybody compete with the Red Wings payroll of $77 million? That wasn't even on the same planet as 23 teams in the league and it made for far too wide of a gap between team talent depth charts. If a majority of teams spend between $26 and $34 million, we've got ourselves a league with parity again. We also have a league with one more hockey market back in the fold. Winnipeg.
On the plus side (actually everything is on the plus side) reporters seem to be coming around (Randy Turner, Power 97 etc). I guess they couldn't see what we saw before. This really wasn't that hard to imagine really. The arena was being built with better revenue opportunities and modern facilities, the league was headed for trouble and economic reform...why was it so difficult to conclude that Winnipeg could be part of the NHL equation again? Beats me. All I know is we have one step to go and it is way out of our hands and wallets. The right move will prevail.
I couldn't help but feel that the Jet-O-Meter should read "three-quarters" now.
July 13, 2005
All Those "Ifs"
Remember all those "ifs" we were told had to occur before Winnipeg could even think about regaining a franchise? Well, good news. Only one of those "ifs" remain. A buyer and seller.
With the long awaited NHL labour dispute now behind us and a much healthier system in place, we now sit back and wait for a few southern teams to suffer regardless of the new CBA. Then Winnipeg buys a team. It's really that simple. However, it would need league approval (no sweat), a deal in place with MTS Centre (maybe a little tougher) and, of course, the relocation of the AHL's Manitoba Moose (surely there is a plan in place to deal with that matter).
There is little worry that any of that will create any roadblocks for the return of NHL hockey to The Peg. Some team will sell and a group will step up in Winnipeg to relocate them.
Stay tuned for details of the new agreement as they become official (unlike what is being thrown around currently). The major components of the deal will be outlined here on JetsOwner.com shortly.
June 28, 2005
JR and The Golden Jet Send Message
They just like to use different methods, that's for sure. With the pending deal to be struck come July, the NHL and NHLPA are realizing hockey fans have had it right all along. And some players too.
Jeremy Roenick's recent tirade with the media regarding many aspects of the labour dispute hit the nail on the head. Specifically comments like: "now we look like a bunch of idiots", "time to let the fans win" and my favourite "no more ties" seem to hold ground in my mind.
Bobby Hull had some things to say as well. He is sick of the game and the fans suffering while billionaires battle millionaires over profits, or should I say losses. See that article here. The photo of Hull sports a nifty colour background display of Hull wearing the red, white and blue and #9.
Now that the game appears to be heading back to the ice, we can only wait out the upcoming season to see who still fails as a franchise. Then we move in. There will be several opportunities regardless of more affordable tickets. If people aren't interested, no amount of discount will get them in the stands. For example: I am not interested in Moose hockey. I have been offered numerous free tickets. I still do not attend.
Scenario: Walk up to an average citizen (Sam) of Music City, Tennessee and ask him to buy a Predators ticket for $62. Sam says no. Tell him he could sit higher up and only pay $48. He still says no, he doesn't care for "hackey", has only been to a few games since 1997 and actually thought the team was gone now. Now tell him the good news. The team is still here and better yet, the CBA just got re-structured and now he can get that $48 ticket for $33. Sam says "nope", and by the time he realizes that CBA doesn't stand for County Bourbon Awards he has already clicked on NASCAR to watch the race.
Homourous, yes. Completely false, heck no.
In addition, team revenue is set to determine the salary cap range of a franchise. What interest do the players now have in these southern teams if they know that playing there will see struggling at the gate and, as a result, a tighter owner's wallet? Winnipeg at least has the ability to generate money in a system that will now only allow super rich teams to spend only a little more money. Winnipeg will not have trouble at the gate. The gate will be bottlenecked! If Winnipeg generates revenue that sets their cap at $32 million but choose to only spend $29, we can still complete against Toronto who chooses to max out their cap at $37 million. That's just two bad signings away from equal ground. The last ten years has been outrageous. If a team spent $29 million, they could not hold their own against the $77 million Red Wings or the $71 million Avalanche.
So you see, times should be getting significantly better for Portage Avenue very soon. If you're an aspiring entrepreneur, I'd look into some of that vacant Exchange District property real quick.
June 10, 2005
Notice the Jet-O-Meter
I have my reasons. But we're two-thirds there my friends. Lets just wait for the NHL to announce a more economical structure. Then we let the pieces fall into place.
June 2, 2005
Linkage Just What We Need
Ric Ocasik said it best when he yelled "that could be just what I needed...". "I" meaning Winnipeg and "that" meaning linkage.
If a new CBA includes players' salaries directly linked to league revenue, we are sitting pretty. Think about it, the "super seven" franchises want to spend money. They are more than able to. The higher league revenues are, the more the year-to-year salary cap will be thus allowing them to spend more on their team.
What interest would they have with eight lousy-market teams pulling in sub-par revenue (if any) while posting 5,000-8,000 in attendance figures? Absolutely none. They need 23 other healthy rivals and the revenues that come with them. The MTS Centre could pull in triple the revenue than most teams have in the past 10 years. This is what the owners will want under that system. The players too! The better all 30 teams are doing, the more they get paid in the long run.
The bottom line here is that everyone involved would want nothing to do with the teams from Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, Tampa Bay, Raleigh and Phoenix. Those teams will do nothing for the league or its players, especially under this kind of system. Those teams never generated the TV interest they were supposed to in the US and they will never enjoy a consistent fan base.
As for other revenue, the NHL's last major TV payday is now gone (ie. ESPN) and they need to win that back. That leaves CBC and TSN as the sole sources of TV revenue and those stations are Canadian. And who would Calgarians rather see play the Flames...the 'Canes or the new Winnipeg Jets? Or how about those in T.O.....Leafs vs. Thrashers or Leafs vs. Jets? A no-brainer indeed.
June 1, 2005
JetsOwner Turns Two!
It seems quick but this website is already two years old! Though we are at a plateau right now, the Return of the Jets Campaign has received much attention and we should all be proud of how much noise we've made. Just have a look at the newspaper clippings alone under "Press".
The fact is, no matter how "dead" the topic seems right now, the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg is still hot in everyone's minds. The shape the NHL is currently in is the reason there is a lack of publicity right now. Remember, we all wanted this stoppage and it will end up paying off. Hey, we've already gone nine years without the Jets...what's one more?
Happy Birthday JetsOwner.com. Our third birthday should be huge...
May 28, 2005
54% Of Nothing Is Nothing
I sure hope the new CBA entails salaries linked to revenue because the NHL just lost it's last sliver of the sports pie. ESPN is set to pull the plug on their TV deal with the NHL for $60 million, which was only half of what they enjoyed in previous years to begin with. If salaries are linked to league revenues, which they should be, the players are going to rue the day they ever gave up $42.5 million for each locker room of guys.
Whether this is a scare tactic to get the two sides to settle something or not, the fact remains that ESPN will have the power to re-bargain for about a $30 million package at best should they decide to carry any games at all. Nothing like Colorado vs. the NY Rangers on Sunday at 2pm, or Philadelphia vs. Tampa Bay.
I still get a kick out of people who can still, with a straight face, tell me that the Jets coming back is a pipe dream. Where is the basis for a comment like that?
The stage is being set folks, we just need to turn on the amps, do a sound check and hook up the lights.
Note: You all know what Wednesday is right?...
May 19, 2005
Moose in May
Hockey in May period. People are so happy they can actually go to a hockey game right now and be able to "feel" it. It's true, the MTS Centre is full to the rafters right now with the Moose playing well into the AHL playoffs. While it is certainly not the same atmosphere of a Jets WhiteOut, it is none-the-less nice to see. 15,000 fans in one building for something other than a concert is great. And before anyone cries that this is not good because it will give people the notion that we are satisfied with the Moose, take a step back and relax.
The Moose, and more importantly Winnipeg, are in the national papers and sports news right now. We are the ones currently enjoying any form of hockey and filling our brand new arena while doing so. This only bides well for our already stellar reputation as the best hockey fans on earth. No need to panic. Everybody in Winnipeg has the NHL on their minds. Maybe not fresh in their minds, but don't doubt for a minute that they are content with the AHL. The second the NHL becomes functionable again, everyone will be thinking about the big league.
For now, enjoy the hype and attention to our city.
April 30, 2005
Mr. Lauren Robb has launched a newer look to his website found under "Jets History" on the left menu of this screen. The new site has changed names and now has the address: www.WinnipegJetsOnline.com. Be sure to check it out and give feedback if you'd like. Lauren is always open to suggestions.
April 22, 2005
Kansas City? Houston? I Just Don't See It
I've noticed the constant talk of Kansas City and Houston being candidates for NHL relocation and to tell you the truth, it makes me laugh. The idea that the NHL would further their mistakes by putting teams in the same kind of failed markets as Raleigh, Nashville and Miami is ridiculosity at its extreme. Yes, I made that word up. Kind of like a crazy Police album I guess. (you 80's kids will get that one).
Okay, according to modern folklore, Kansas and Houston have majestic new buildings that out-weigh MTS Centre. But who says out-weighing has any merit anymore? Where is the proof that 19,000 seats equal more revenue except at playoff time? Send me to the next Kansas City NHL game and tell me I won't be able to have my pick of 7,000 empty seats. So what if that building has 400 bars and 300 restaurants. I'd prefer to not pay the inflated prices and walk across the street to 'Ol Calcutta Steakhouse for a T-Bone and a Danzig T-Shirt. The point is, what is the obsession with gi-normous (another make-believe word) arenas if they really have no effect on your hockey experience? I'd like to hear the reviews of hundreds of visiting players when they repeatedly can't hear themselves think in our building. The noise will be pearcing.
The game for us now is simply waiting. Waiting to see what deal the two sides are willing to cut. A floating cap seems fine as long as it has strict linkage involved. That way, it will always be a percentage of league revenues....which for the next few years will be dismal at best. Make no mistake, "ice hockey" will have a tough time making a comeback in the south. Many people have enjoyed their extra $6000 this year and may get used to having that instead of going to NHL games. As for us...well...we're just itching to throw money at the first person who says they are a Jets ticket agent.
One day soon, we can all collectively smirk at the entire hockey world with a healthy dose of smugness. Then, we'll celebrate our 5-3 victory over the Leafs.
Keep up the talk!
ps - Happy Birthday Mars!
April 5, 2005
CKNW Vancouver Audio Vault
The 23 minute interview on CKNW 980 in Vancouver can be heard here in their audio vault archive. Please slide forward to the 33:00 minute mark of the file.
April 4, 2005
The segment on CKNW 980 in BC will re-air tonight at 11:30pm Winnipeg time. Check it out. Things are quiet right now but they will pick up again like they always do.
No more whining about MTS Centre. The building is fine. Once again, it could have been better and it could have not existed at all! I don't find anything wrong with seating and I've been to many buildings. A few washroom changes and full services in the upper deck (which is hardly used right now remember) and things will look much better. Remember...the AHL is in there right now.
March 23, 2005
A Little Love From BC
For those of you on the west coast, you can catch coverage of the campaign on CKNW 980 during Dan Russell's Sports Talk tonight (between 9-12pm PT or 11pm-2am CT). Everyone else can click on their website and listen live via their streamed audio link.
March 20, 2005
Juno Cup Jerseys Look Familiar
When the 34th annual Juno awards hit MTS Centre and Winnipeg next week there will be no shortage of the memory of the Winnipeg Jets. The Juno festivities include a charity hockey game between former NHLers and current musicians. They call it the Juno Cup. This isn't the interesting part though. The interesting part is the choice of jerseys for both teams. The Juno website confirms where the hearts of Manitoba's hockey fans lay. Both teams have chosen 1990s style Jets jerseys (home and away) for their uniforms with a Juno Cup logo as the crest. This will further display to the nation that the Jets still represent Winnipeg more accurately than the Moose do, even though absent for nine years now.
March 3, 2005
Hindsight Is Always 20/20...So Was Foresight
I hate to rub it in, but we told them so. One day in 1994 Barry Shenkarow came back from owners meetings by which he was briefed on the new ten-year CBA that had been reached. He knew that day that the immediate future of the Winnipeg Jets looked bleak. A year later they were purchased, stolen if you prefer, from us.
You might be saying "yadda, yadda, old news". And indeed you'd have a point, but the fact remains that Winnipeg knew all along that this new vision the NHL was after was destined to fail. How many of us shook our heads and wondered what they were thinking. The idea of securing a larger television contract wasn't the problem. It was how they intended on gaining that windfall that was all backwards. Instead of making sure the game was economically healthy where it was and growing the game steadily, they chose to fast-track everything by expanding to 7 unconvential cities (refer to a map of the Sunbelt) and relocating to two others. The only successful new teams in the past 15 years are San Jose, Columbus, Denver and Dallas. That leaves many mistakes.
The expansion money dried up fast, the US networks only subscribed to the final month of regular play and a handful of playoffs and salaries spiralled out of control due to a poor CBA and an era of revolution in the costs of sports.
True, Winnipeg may never have been meant to witness this horrible era of hockey and it is likely best we didn't. A group of 44 smart businessmen couldn't conclude that Winnipeg was ready for the next 10 years of hockey and they were right. The numbers never made sense and that is why they let the Jets go. But the NHL forced the decision. It was never meant to get to that point. But it did.
And why? There should have never been a crossroads. There should have never been many things. And now the NHL understands what Winnipeg was talking about back then. They understand how perplexed we were at the direction of the league. They now understand that suits and ESPN can't make a sport compete with the NFL, NBA or NASCAR simply by making sure it exists in Raleigh, Nashville, Miami and Phoenix. A sport depends on fans and if they aren't in the stands, they won't be watching on TV either.
Sadly, it is the players that have to fix this now. A few irresponsible owners have created this mess. They are the ones that made NHL players believe they are of the same salary calibre as the other big US sports. Now for 15 years they have been bred to believe that. A new player in the NHL was 4 years old when salaries began to spin out of control. He has known nothing else other than the fact that he will get over $1 million if he plays in the NHL. The ironic part is that he would still get that under the latest owners proposal. But alas, they believe they are worth market value. Guess what, market value isn't squat anymore. The NHL is virtually worthless in 18 of its current cities.
You know my father always told me he never had a problem with the best player on the Jets making 10 times what he made. Afterall, it is difficult to get there and stay there. In 1991 Thomas Steen made about $400,000 a season. That was about six times what my dad made at that time. Fair enough. Only 5 years later Keith Tkachuk made $7,000,000 a season. That was 100 times what my dad made at that time. Today you have to multiply that player by 4 or 5 to have a decent team. Fans have to pay much more for tickets. The whole thing has gotten out of whack and here we are.
Saying we told you so. Waiting with open arms to take our ex back.
Time to get it right, NHL. You can't afford not to.
Time to head back to the "Snowbelt". We'll watch.
February 28, 2005
Manitoba Business Magazine Runs Spot
The ad for corporate Manitoba to come forth with their pledge to support NHL again hit offices all over the province last week. No matter what the response, it will be a success considering not many companies will want to reveal their financial plans, especially to little 'ol me. In addition, many feel they are stepping on the Manitoba Moose by doing so. The results via mail are already over 30, with nearly every one positive to some level of support, whether it be a luxury suite or club seats. Also remember to assume that the 90+ companies currently supporting the Moose will also support the NHL even at higher prices. At worst some may have to downgrade to club seating from split suites.
The 46 suites and 900 club seats that need filling at MTSC will no doubt be accounted for. Click on the ad to enlarge.
February 22, 2005
New York Times Covers The Peg
Whether you care about the Moose or not you can't deny the great publicity the team has generated this season due to our new arena, the fact that there is no NHL hockey and yes, their first place record. While that first place record is heavily due to the fact that NHL isn't stealing top prospects every week it is hard to ignore the positive reflection AHL attendance has given Winnipeg. While we all know this likely won't last it is none-the-less a great indicator of how hockey crazy we are to be able to draw 9,000 fans to watch AHL hockey and get 90 companies to support the team through luxury seating and advertising.
This publicity can only help paint an NHL picture and the largest daily paper in North America just helped millions of people view that picture.
The New York Times published an article yesterday that ephasized the changes Winnipeg has undergone to make the NHL more feasible and how great our fans are here. Yes, it speaks of our support of the Manitoba Moose, but remember this only helps our cause. Any city remotely interested in a former rival's farm team can only be considered fans at any cost. The article mentions how hungry we are for the NHL again, once it makes sense economically. It makes it clear, at the end of the piece, that Mark Chipman is no enemy to the majority of Manitobans who want to see the Winnipeg Jets resurrected. It speaks of our constant "Go Jets Go" chants at Moose games and hints at how Winnipeg is where the NHL truly belongs. There are many hidden messages in this article and they all translate into how Winnipeg is the hockey hot-bed of North America right now. We are prime for the picking...the picking of a beaten-up southern franchise that needs a new home.
The NHL has taken note. You can be sure of that. Once the dust settles, Winnipeg will be the one sitting on the sofa, looking at our watch and saying "what took you so long". We told 'em so. Too bad it took 9 years without our Jets to prove it.
Also check out the National Post under "Press" very soon for Scott Taylor's latest installment of "The View From Winnipeg" which appears every Monday. Seems my anger aimed at irresponsible journalism is now nationally known.
Note: you may need to register to view NYT article
February 19, 2005
I'm Fuming Over The Media!
I realize this NHL moment is bitter-sweet for our cause but I just have to get this off my chest. Bear with me. Here goes...
Over the past six months (or 6 years for that matter) the mis-trust, lack of vision and overall disregard for common sense has infected the National Hockey League on both sides. Without getting into a Leo Tolstoy length discussion, the scariest aspect of this whole school-yard fiasco is how contagious the behavior seems to be. As the NHL and NHLPA continue in their quest to embarrass our national sport, the media seems to be on its own course to dis-credit itself as a respected source of information. For instance, when did it become protocol to be able to pass anything off as “the truth” by simply citing “a source”. When did it become acceptable to print something that plays with the emotions of millions of people and then face no accountability when that information is proven to be a blatant lie.
The Hockey News, one of the most popular journals of our fine sport, just successfully pulled off a way to get their publication in the spotlight by claiming the NHL and NHLPA had a “deal in principle for a $45 million salary cap”. Don’t know the writer, don’t know the source, but heaven knows they had baited 100,000s of fans and tortured their emotions. The claim spread like wildfire and infected every major media outlet in North America.
It seemed ridiculous that the league would settle for something higher than what they cancelled the season over. It seemed ridiculous that more than eight owners (yes, an NHL majority) would agree to such a number when they likely disagreed with $42.5 million cap as it is. It seemed ridiculous that the league would attempt to undergo the logistical nightmare of having to sign over 100 free agents, hold training camps, play exhibition, play a regular season and play four rounds of Stanley Cup playoffs. Add to this having to free up all 30 rinks that have since been given to rights to book rap concerts and the circus (both of which would bring in more net money than hockey by the way). Well of course it was ridiculous, but then again, so is the National Hockey League.
It is just too bad that our media outlets have stooped the level of flat-out lying to gain notoriety and hurting the process at the same time. If you don’t have a source, pass it off as you’re opinion, but don’t play with the hearts and souls of others just to be famous for 24 hours. The Hockey News owes an explanation for its actions. So do many other media. How embarrassing. How fitting.
What I have learned over the past year is that you can lose your job for scrambling legitimate quotes off the wire but completely making up a quote gets you recognition and the satisfaction of knowing you had people dooped for 24 hours. Good job Hockey News. Can’t wait to read next week’s edition where you’ll be claiming that the NHL is expanding to Baton Rouge and Albuquerque.
It is a blessing Winnipeg hasn’t been around to witness the NHL over the past 9 years so we don’t have to get sucked into the lunacy of the sport and the media that so recklessly covers it. Indeed a new version of War and Peace is being written. When they get to the ‘peace’ part be sure to let me know....because that’s the point at which Winnipeg wants to start reading.
February 17, 2005
Tune in 92 CITI FM Friday morning between 7:00-8:30am for discussion on Winnipeg's chances of regaining an NHL team with myself and Scott Taylor of the National Post.
Here is the Canadian Press coverage of our cause via Sportsnet or TSN.
Stay tuned for more to come...
February 16, 2005
Remember All Those "Ifs"?
It was a busy day taking calls from the Canadian Press, CKY, CBC, Global and The Sun. All the media outlets wanted to know if this was a "happy day" for the campaign. While the answer wasn't quite as simple as 'yes' or 'no', I told them it certainly was a day that had been on the campaign's calender for a long time. When I stated the NHL would "fall into disarray", I meant it. Basically the media was wondering if this is a step further towards regaining an NHL team for Winnipeg. That answer was much simpler to reply. Yes.
In fact, I told them, Winnipeg could make the NHL drool right about now. Right about now the realization is setting in that the troubled southern franchises are like a weak solider...they won't survive this battle. I also stated that Winnipeg is feeling a "we told 'ya so" attitude towards what is happening in the NHL right now. We always wondered in the early 90s where the league was heading exactly. We wondered how they figured to survive in so many non-hockey markets. And yet we, as a city and hockey-loving community, had to endure the pain of losing our team for the sake of this master plan the NHL had embarked on. Plus, what are we missing? Why would we be upset by this? Afterall we saw this coming from miles away. We. Winnipeg. Hockey. We have been without hockey for 9 years. What does the cancellation of this season mean to us? We haven't adopted Phoenix or Vancouver as our team. Heck, we haven't even adopted our current hockey team. So why would we care? The only difference any of this makes to us is that it brings us one step closer to bringing hockey home to where it belongs and ending this nightmare I call 1995-2005.
Next is the issue of the players. They are going to have to swallow a much bigger pill come 10 months from now when they are being offered a fraction of what they could have taken today. $42 million is an outstanding pot of money to be divided amongst atheletes that play a game that is ranked 10th in the United States (where there are 24 teams) and looks to fall below 15th by 2006. When they have no choice but to take a $35 million cap in a year, things will indeed look brighter for Winnipeg. I wouldn't even rule out that we might already have a team by that point, on paper.
The fact is, all of the "ifs" that are so negatively stated by naysayers are falling into place just nicely.
IF #1 - A Modern Arena
In case somebody missed it, it is on the corner of Portage & Donald
IF #2 - Economic Restructuring (CBA)
Currently in progress and destined to result in a substantial decrease in costs
IF #3 - Corporate and Fan Support
Winnipeg has the greatest hockey-loving fans in the world and we can sell-out 15,000 seats on a regular basis. Contrary to popular belief, we do have money to spend. The AHL draws 9000 fans and is inferior hockey, albeit cheaper. As for the corporate community, proof of their support is trickling into Return of the Jets Campaign headquarters as we speak. In addition, the Manitoba Moose (remember, that inferior hockey) currently has 90 companies supporting them. I wonder if they would still be interested in keeping their seats for the highest calibre of hockey, albeit more expensive?
IF #4 - An Owner
Have no fear, the is money here.
Nobody has stated exactly what these "ifs" are. They just love to say there is nine of them.
"The Plan" moves forward people. We are far past being the "loonies" and "pipe dreamers" we were once considered to be. Maybe I can finally shed a layer of skin.
February 12, 2005
Edmonton hosts Jets Party Today and Tonight!
Some fellow Peggers are throwing some Jets love from Alberta by hosting an event that is to begin with a game of classic shinny, followed by a social at night. Details are as follows:
Shinny Game - $2.00
Saturday, February 12 @ 2:00 PM
North Glenora Community League
13535 109A Avenue
Social Eveing - Free!
Saturday, February 12 @ 8:00 PM
The Canadian Brewhouse – 11062 156th Street
All you Edmontonians that frequent this website be sure to get out and have a blast with other fellow Jets fans!
A special thanks to Jeff Palson for making this all happen. Good job!
February 9, 2005
JetsOwner.com to Throw Love to Fundrive
In an unprecedented move, JetsOwner.com News is devoting a post to an un-related topic. Well, not really un-related. University of Winnipeg radio CKUW is holding its annual Fundrive 2005 February 11-18th. The event raises money for the non-profit and volunteer-driven radio station.
Why on JetsOwner.com News? The answer is simple. The Return of the Jets Campaign has enjoyed 20 months of complimentary bandwidth and webspace through one of the premier shows on CKUW...you may have guessed it...Beer For Breakfast (10am Saturday mornings). Host Broose Tulloch's show website www.beerforbreakfast.org has provided this campaign with virtually unlimited webspace at no charge or hastle since its inception on June 1, 2003.
If you listen to CKUW, are a U of W student or a JetsOwner.com supporter, give some thought to coming by on Saturday February 12th to throw a Fin the station's way. This news post is the least I can do for the free platform we've been given.
Back on a related note, be sure to check out TSN at 6:30pm CST for the classic Game 4 of the 1990 series between the Jets and Oilers.
"Ellett shot...he scores!"- Don Wittman.
Also nice to see the National Post cover the campaign again this past Monday. Look for the article under "Press" very soon.
February 6, 2005
Super Bowl? or Should I Say Super Poll!
Thanks to everyone for the support at the "Bring 'em Back" social. The place was full and a great night was had by all! It was also nice to see CBC National there most of the night. Each and every attendee have now personally supported the corporate phase. How well it works remains to be seen. I will discuss that further at a later time.
Until then be sure to take part in the new Super Poll found at the left under "Poll". It asks a variety of questions relating to the return of NHL hockey to Winnipeg. Pass it along to everyone you know!
February 1, 2005
Vintage Jets Footage
The "Bring 'em Back" social night is now pleased to announce that supporters won't even have to worry about voting for what games to view this Friday. That is because, via a top supporter, the campaign has obtained a DVD highlight package! Yes, The WhiteOut Years: 1987-1996 will be viewed for a majority of the evening and includes over 3 hours of classic Winnipeg WhiteOut game footage high-lighting all of the goals and best saves. The WhiteOut Years consists of the following:
Jets vs. Flames - Game 4 - 1987
Jets vs. Flames - Game 6 - 1987
Jets vs. Oilers - Game 4 - 1990
Jets vs. Canucks - Game 3 - 1992
Jets vs. Canucks - Game 3 - 1993
Jets vs. Kings - Final Regular Season Game - 1996
Jets vs. Red Wings - Game 3 - 1996
In addition, The New Boss: Teemu Selanne will be viewed along with other video.
The bumper stickers are limited so get there early! A limit of four stickers per person will be enforced as to allow everyone the opportunity to get some. Due to the limited quantity, you will be able to buy a single sticker for $3.00 as well as 2 for $5.00. They are HUGE stickers that measure 3.5 x 11 inches!
Tickets to win the Jets prize pack are unlimited!
Samples of the Corporate mail-out package will be on display as well as a proof of the ad that will be found in the upcoming issue of Manitoba Business Magazine. All of your support throughout the night will help pay for this phase of the campaign and possibly even provide a surplus to be used towards future campaign costs such as more advertising.
Campaign cards will be on all of the tables. Feel free to ask me for more should you want to hand any out at an up-coming event of your own.
There will be drink specials throughout the night that will be announced as they begin.
Bring your families, girlfriends/boyfriends, and buddies...the music will be pumping all night long!
Most importantly....wear your Jets or "Wear White on Bring 'em Back Night!" - see you all there!
January 29, 2005
Social Night Details
I have had a swarm of e-mails generously stating that people would be more than willing to donate lump sums of money if a box was set up at the event. The campaign is pleased to announce that there is now going to be a possible reward for doing so. A Jets prize pack will be awarded to one lucky person whose auction ticket is drawn. The prize pack will include a vintage Jets jersey, Jets T-shirt and Jets cap (a $205 retail value!). Tickets will sell 1 for $5.00 or 3 for $10.00. So now instead of merely donating $20.00, you'll at least get six chances to win this great prize pack!
In addition there will be JetsOwner.com bumper stickers for sale at the event. Put them on your car, your guitar case or your school books! Wherever! They will be available 2 for $5.00. Help spread the word and show your support with these great campaign stickers!
Many costs have to be covered through the funds raised at this event. It will cover the expenses of the corporate phase that was just launched. Colour posters, postage, envelopes, digital colour printing and colour magazine advertising being the main costs so far. Then there is the costs of putting on this event. If goals are exceeded, then the more abaility we'll have for future advertising etc.
The polls show the following Jets footage in the lead:
Jets vs. Red Wings Game 3 - 1996
Jets vs. Oilers Game 4 - 1990
The New Boss - Teemu Selanne promo Video
It is very important that you spread the word as far as possible. And remember to wear your Jets!
Check out this Poll from The Globe and Mail. Thanks Richard G. for the heads-up! Click here to vote (at top right).
January 25, 2005
Already Getting Responses!
On the day the Top 100 hard copy packages are due to be sent out, the online portion of the corporate survey is already seeing responses from local businesses. On top of that, The Winnipeg Sun covered the story as did CBC Radio this morning. The National Post first broke the story yesterday.
A nice shot of one of the two social posters can be seen in The Sun today along with the documents that were sent out to the Top 100 companies in Manitoba. I urge anybody who knows the head of a Manitoba company to spread the word of the online corporate survey.
January 24, 2005
Big Phase Launch: The Corporate Answer
After months of convincing the media and public that the climate would soon be right for a Jets return, a huge cloud still hovers over the idea. The naysayers maintain that even if the fan support is here, the corporate support is not. This, of course, is complete nonsense.
Gauging the corporate community's level of interest had always been on the campaign's agenda but timing was everything. I believe the time is now. We wait no longer.
By February 1st every CEO or President from the "Top 100 Businesses in Manitoba" (Manitoba Business Magazine) will have received a package in the mail that includes a cover letter and brief survey that indicates what their level of support would be for the NHL in MTS Centre, if any. Their choices include:
Split Luxury Suite
4 Club Seats (full or half season)
2 Clubs Seats (full or half season)
Then, they simply return it via a self-addressed and stamped envelope that is provided. Simple as that. Luckily, if a company doesn't fall under the "Top 100" category it can still take part just as easily.
The Return of the Jets Campaign is proud to launch a whole new section of www.JetsOwner.com called "Corporate Support" (found at top left). On this page companies can view or download the cover letter and fill out the survey online! They simply fill out their information and "level of commitment" and click submit. Again, as easy as that. Also found on this brand new page is the hypothetical breakdown of what ticket packages might look like in MTS Centre. Companies can browse the figures and then judge their level of financial means for annual ticket subcriptions.
It is time to put this corporate myth to rest. There are upwards of 90 companies in this province that currently support the Manitoba Moose. Are we to believe that these same 90 companies would have no interest in the NHL, even at higher prices?
Read today's National Post and tomorrow's Winnipeg Sun for coverage of the campaign. In addition, the February issue of Manitoba Business Magazine will include a full-colour campaign ad to inform corporate Manitoba that their input and support is needed. It will reach up to 40,000 members of the business community. And remember, there are still those companies whose corporate headquarters are out-of-province. They too are likely to step up and support the NHL in Winnipeg again. What a cinderella story we would be across Canada.
Also check out new "Rants" and "Press" in their respective links.
January 23, 2005
One Jet Party...Coming Up!
Be sure to get everyone out for Friday February 4th at The Pyramid. The evening will pay for the next big phase, which will be completely revealed Monday morning to coincide with the National Post's coverage of the campaign. A busy few weeks will preceed the social night. Come to think of it, it's been non-stop since the holidays getting this put together. It is important to support the cause by showing up on February 4th. The aim is for the door charge to cover expenses for this next phase. I am hoping to have stickers to sell at the event to help raise money as well. Stay tuned for that possibility.
Posters are up all over U of M and U of W and Red River will get its dose early next week. Also listen for radio spots that are running on FREQ 107. As mentioned, pick up the National Post on Monday for coast-to-coast coverage by our staunch supporter, Scott Taylor.
January 19, 2005
The Cost of NHL Hockey at MTS Centre
Here is a new and improved look at what ticket ranges might look like at MTS Centre for the NHL. These ranges would generate more-than-adequate revenue, among other sources, and would work for everyone in Winnipeg. There is a ticket range and game package for everyone including a monthly plan to disperse payment evenly over 12 months. MTS TV also brings in some decent revenue and is included below the ticket packages.
All in all, with 50 luxury suites at $140,000 each, 44 sell-outs and a moderate TV subscription base, these ranges bring in upwards of $55 million annually. And that doesn't include concessions, merchandise and other sources of revenue. Even after the costs of operating I don't see a problem with the Winnipeg Jets existing again, especially with a new, healthier economic system in place. Depending on what the new CBA looks like, these hypothetical prices may even come down.
Notice how the average seat isn't $120! Come to think of it, a $120 seat doesn't exist. Go figure.
What could you swing?
January 18, 2005
A Letter From Buffalo
Everyone take a deep breath and don't panic about comments in the Winnipeg Sun. Kevin Donnelly has always squashed the NHL notion, on the flipside Calgary and Edmonton have nowhere near 50 suites and the ones they do have are nowhere close to the sightlines of MTS Centre and this campaign has never EVER been about getting involved with the current NHL. The current NHL doesn't make any sense for nearly every team. Oh, except maybe the might Maple Leafs whom we were compared to? Does anyone compare to the lunacy in LeafLand?
After 20 months, this campaign still gets misconceived by so many. It has ALWAYS been about waiting for southern franchises to "start teetering and put the for sale sign up" as a result of a "protracted labour dispute".
The fact is, we are already falling to Winnipeg-style negativity while MTS Centre is barely 3 months old. The building is cozy but it works in a new system. That is all that matters. And yes, we can generate more-than-adequate revenue at $140,000 per suite and $3750 per club seat. There are many ways to succeed. One of them, however, is certainly not by buying into comments by one pair of tourists. Comments that, by the way, were fragmented and taken out of context. Here is the official take by guys from thesportsroadtrip.com. They called upon me to clarify their FULL comments to The Sun and to be clear on a few other issues. Turns out they have solutions to the problems they pointed out. They just never got published. Here it is, uncut and uncensored:
I'm sure you have seen the column in today's Winnipeg Sun. I spoke yesterday with writer Ross Romaniuk about the MTS Centre and the dream of NHL returning to Winnipeg.
My quotes have inspired a couple really nasty e-mails, apparently coming from your readership. So let me make a few points to you.
Since returning from Manitoba, we have been doing nothing but gushing about your city to everyone who will listen. The clean streets, a nice and vibrant downtown, the wonderful new arena. We had chills when we stepped into the old arena to take pictures and saw the "Thanks For The Memories" inscription painted on the far wall. We knew we were standing in a special and hallowed place.
As fans of the sport, we feel strongly that big league hockey deserves to be in places like Winnipeg. Even more so than Tampa, Raleigh or Atlanta and the geographic center of a new NHL would be better served if it straddled the 49th parallel rather than the middle of the Ozarks.
The MTS Centre in its current form cannot house an NHL franchise in the league's current form. No way, no how. There aren't enough premium seating options, spaces, and amenities to fund such an undertaking. It is sad, but it is true.
Hey, my first love is baseball, and I was cheering on our Buffalo Bisons owner, Bob Rich, as he attended the MLB meetings back in 1990 waving his checkbook, demanding an expansion team for Buffalo. We had a beautiful new ballpark, 1MM+ attendance for triple A baseball, more than some Major League teams, and the argument was clear to me at least that we belong in the ranks of MLB cities.
Fifteen years later I look back and realize how crazy that notion was... baseball salaries are insane, the newest generation of MLB ballparks blow away anything we could have offered with our stadium in Buffalo, and had we even survived, Buffalo would have been among the ranks of financial basket cases such as the Devil Rays and the departed Expos. Had baseball become an enterprise with restrained budgets, cost certainty and revenue sharing, Buffalo would have been an excellent MLB candidate. But in a league driven by TV markets, corporate patronage and mega regional sports networks, our cause was doomed.
Can Winnipeg support NHL hockey? Absolutely! Can the MTS Centre house an NHL team? For sure! But I believe your best chances lie in a protracted labor dispute, where the southern franchises start teetering and put the for sale sign up. Already happening in Carolina, where fans are demanding their deposits back (what few fans they have). As this thing drags on, the entire pie will continue to shrink, and all of a sudden, that smaller piece of pie fits nicely into Winnipeg's hands.
Then as far as the arena is concerned... the place is too small!!! They wedged a would be NHL sized venue into one tiny city block. BUT... the good news is that you guys could creatively make more public spaces for the arena in adjoining buildings by clever use of your skywalks. I look at that old theatre all boarded up across the street from the arena, and I could see a private club restaurant and lounge for premium seat holders in that building, connected via underground concourse into the seating bowl. We shared ideas like this and more with Ross Romaniuk... too bad it didnt make the article.
On another matter, I saw on your board some comments on the state of the Buffalo Sabres franchise. Just so you know, the Sabres aren't going anywhere. Tom Golisano bought the team last year from the bankrupt and disgraced Adelphia Cable people. He wrote a check and paid cash for the team. He is a billionaire, owner of Paychex in Rochester, just recently relinquished his CEO duties at Paychex so he could spend more time with the team. He seems to be relishing his role as an NHL owner and is the toast of the town around here and is raising his profile in the community in philanthrpic endeavors, etc. Having an owner like that is a Godsend without him the Sabres would have already been gone. Anyways, the team is staying put, Golisano has the deep pockets to ride this thing out and isn't about to part with his new toy.
Please share my takes with your readers on your boards. And please, know, Pete Farrell and I love your city, support your cause, and wish you all the best. We also give you this standing offer... if and when the day comes when the NHL Buffalo Sabres come play the NHL Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre, dinner is on us, because we will be there!!!
January 15, 2005
Next Phase Coming Together
The "Bring 'em Back" Social Night is coming along nicely and a poll will go up soon regarding what games to view during the event. Posters will go up at U of M, U of W and Red River College next week along with radio spots on FREQ 107 FM. The National Post will also cover the campaign on January 24th.
All door proceeds will go towards the costs of the next big phase of the campaign. A new important page will be up on JetsOwner.com starting on February 1st. I will reveal details shortly. Among some of the costs associated with this next phase is hundreds of stamps, envelopes, custom colour printing, large colour posters, magazine advertising spots, bumper stickers, and various social fees. And it's only January 15th!
January 11, 2005
Nice to see people coming around to the idea of the NHL returning to Winnipeg. Everywhere you look there is an article about the support we give to hockey and incredible fans we have. There always seems to be a mention of how Winnipeg was considered the weak link in the league 10 years ago but that, on the contrary, we are the strongest link that can mend the NHL and other teams in it. We provide the die-hards and we provide the front page news day-in and day-out. They all see now...which makes our job that much easier. Make room for more!
January 10, 2005
The Infamous Sign
The sign that brought new believers to JetsOwner.com was finally tracked down. Be sure to listen to FREQ 107 for ads for the "Bring 'em Back Social Night" soon. Also, keep sending your pics to Lauren Robb on the Jets History section of this website.
Funny how more media are getting on board now that it is safe to do so. A stampede of Winnipeggers go down to Grand Forks and all of the sudden we have believers that the NHL can return to Winnipeg. What about 20 months ago when JetsOwner.com predicted this landscape? Oh, I forgot, we were just loonies living in a pipe dream. We showed them, now lets keep them on board. See what I am talking about with this Ted Wyman article in today's Winnipeg Sun.
January 8, 2005
Party Time Again!
By popular demand another JetsOwner.com social event has been confirmed! The Bring 'em Back Social Night will take place on Friday, February 4th at The Pyramid Cabaret. The night will consist of viewing the most popular choices of Jets games on a 20x16 foot big screen that will be front and center stage. A dance floor and great music will fill in the rest of the evening. Bring your pom poms! Bring your whole crew! And most importantly...bring your best Jets look!
Details are unfolding for other aspects of the evening such as shirt sales, bumper stickers and possible retail Jets gear. There will be rotating drink specials all night long on featured products. Listen for ads on FREQ 107 FM in the coming weeks. $10 tickets are simply purchased at the door, which opens at 8pm, and will cover expenses and support the next phase of the campaign.
The next phase? A huge undertaking that will take work but hopefully put an end to a negative consensus our critics have made so popular. Stay tuned for those plans.
January 5, 2005
Another Social Event
Due to overwhelming demand, the Return of the Jets Campaign is pleased to confirm that another JetsOwner.com social will take place again at The Pyramid Cabaret. Likely at the end of this month, the event will feature a 16x20 foot big screen showing classics to be decided by way of fan poll. No live entertainment is scheduled this time around. Instead, music and a dance floor will be included. This will allow the screen to be on the stage, front and center. Stay tuned for the exact date to be confirmed and keep a lookout in the National Post and local papers for coverage. The event will be promoted by FREQ 107 FM, always in support of our cause.
January 4, 2005
Gold for Team Canada, Gold for Campaign
Way to go Team Canada for destroying Team Russia in the World Junior finals.
Way to go campaign suporters for getting the message across the border. I have received many e-mails indicating that people saw this website on a sign in Ralph Engelstad Arena or on TSN (see Rant of the Day). In addition, Jets jerseys were seen each and every night throughout the tournament along with the sounds of "Go Jets Go" chants. We truly showed that we are the heart and soul of our national pastime. It's time to return the game to Winnipeg. The best of the best belong here.
January 1, 2005
Scotty Goes National
For those of you wondering where Scott Taylor is and whether or not he is still an advocate of our cause...the answer is you bet he is. In fact, he is more so than ever and will launch the word on a national scale starting in the new year with the National Post. He will be covering Winnipeg issues for the national daily paper.
I don't know about you but I'd say having coast-to-coast coverage from a supporter beats whatever negativity a local AM radio station can stir up.
Happy New Year everyone. Our cause is about to heat up yet again.