December 26, 2006
NHL Brass Believes The Mass?
"Our preferred market is Pittsburgh," says NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.
there are no preferred markets even as cities like
Houston, Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Portland,
Ore., have their names thrown about, but Daly did
allow that "a Canadian market would be a possibility," raising hope that Winnipeg or even Hamilton might get drawn into the lottery
to woo Lemieux, who will soon be free move his
team where he pleases. (Kevin McGran, guelphmercury.com
Clearly the NHL is
showing signs of dual personality. As mentioned earlier,
Bill Daly gives Winnipeg the best shot at true support
from 6th Avenue in New York City. While they seem
to want to do everyting possible to keep the Pens
in Pittsburgh (which, by the way, I commend) there
doesn't seem to be the anti-Canadian element to NHL
thinking, so long as Bill Daly takes the mic. My
initial thoughts, which were so quick to land in
the pages of the Edmonton Journal via a negative spin by Dan Barnes, were that the Pens deal was being tapered to make it nearly impossible for
a potential new owner to bite on the final purchase
of the club because of all of the provisions that
were being forced on the buyer. That still seems
to ring true. However, after the comments by Bill
Daly stated above, one wonders what the true agenda
of the NHL is.
Do they want yet another
large American market that can't gaurantee support
for the game long term and as a result will likely
fail in four years? Or do they want a hockey hotbed
that loves the game unconditionally and as a result
will support the game at full prices for the long
Do they want a city
that puts NFL, MLB, NBA, NCAA and NASCAR far ahead
of hockey and expect to still sell 19,000 seats to
a hockey game every night? Or do they want a city
that would place the NHL first above all other sports
and therefore easily sellout it's brand new 15,000+
seat arena every night?
Time will tell. Luckily
Winnipeg doesn't necessarily have to prey on the
Pens situation, although having that squad of talent
would be a blessing for this city and assure an on-ice
product that would rival the best in the league.
There are other teams that, despite the recent CBA
ajustment and game changes, are bleeding red ink.
Teams that you might find in line at Money Mart soon
for a payday loan are the Nashville Predators, the
Florida Panthers and the Phoenix Coyotes. St. Louis,
Atlanta and Carolina are others that are hinting
to be a wait-and-see situation.
We know the Pens are
a great fit for Winnipeg. Any hockey team is. The
rest of North America knows it too. After viewing
nearly a dozen polls regarding where a team should
relocate to this week from all corners of the industry,
the clear-cut winner was always Winnipeg! Usually
6-8 cities are included in the poll and Winnipeg
comes out with an average of 35% to 55% of the votes
while other cities tally in at 3% to 8% each. That
is an overwhelming victory for our city from people
who don't even live here. Polls were found in The
Hockey News, ESPN.com, CBC.ca, The Minnesota Wild
website and most recently the New York Rangers website
....you name it and Winnipeg was the people's choice.
If so many of us "get
it", wht doesn't the NHL? Maybe Bill Daly does get it. Maybe he realizes that a
7th franchise in Canada can only help the game. There
is nothing wrong with trying to make the game stronger
in the US. That I don't contend. It the extent to
which they are trying that I ponder. It is the places
they are putting teams, the TV networks they are
targeting and the prices they are charging for an
American bottom tier sport that baffles me. Out of
30 teams (T-H-I-R-T-Y) there are only 6 Canadian
team logos. There used to be 7 out of 21 (with Winnipeg
and Quebec City) and later 8 out of 24 (add Ottawa).
With that ratio there should be 10 out of 30. We
have 6 (S-I-X). It is not possible, and there is ample proof, that 24 American markets can all sustain NHL hockey
at the prices it demands, in the climate they reside
in and in the sports market share they are left with
after all other more popular sports have gobbled
up people's disposable income.
I vote Winnipeg and
Hamilton. But be clear....I vote Winnipeg first.
Apparently so do many, many others. Including those
who live in a country with 24 NHL teams.
Agenda Clear: Anywhere But Canada
I am about to embark
on possibly the most frustrating posting I've ever
written. While there isn't necessarily any bad news
for Winnipeg out of this whole Pittsburgh ordeal,
there remains some very frightening observations.
You have to wonder
why the banner doesn't read "Anywhere in Canada". It should, but it doesn't.
With the recent developments
out of Pittsburgh it has become clear that the NHL
will do everything in its power to retain US franchises
or, at the very least, steer them towards other US
markets for relocation. Can anyone blame Jim Balsillie
for backing out of the Pens deal once he learned
the NHL had slipped in last minute provisions that
would make him adhere to Plans B, C and D, or however
many other small printing they had in mind to keep
the team in the Steel City? It seems Mr. Balsillie
knew what he was doing all along. That was to back
out once it became clear that the Isle Of Capri gaming
license would be rejected so he could re-offer a
low-ball figure for the Pens being that there is now no free arena thrown into the mix. Smart.
And indeed good for
the perceived values of these NHL clubs to come back
down to earth. The Pens without an arena are knowhere
near worth $175 million. The All-Star team isn't
worth that much. With no one watching in the United
States, in the seats or on TV, how can it be worth
Gary Bettman has single-handedly
destroyed a fat cheque for Mario Lemieux, for the
second time, by putting these last minute clauses
in that would require a new owner to virtually keep
the Pens in Pittsburgh even if the city blew up.
Was the intention to ruin the deal? No. The intention
was quite simply to assure that this team wouldn't
end up in Kitchener-Waterloo or Winnipeg for that
matter because those locations have a postal code
and not a zip code. The NHL cringes at the thought
of the Atlanta Thrashers having to play the K-W Kodiaks
or the Winnipeg Jets, destroying the ageless struggle
to make people love hockey in non-traditional markets.
Nevermind that we have rabid fans, no other sport to compete with hockey's market share and sold-out buildings night after
night. We just aren't in the US where many buildings
remain at least half empty, the sport is considered
niche and there are half a dozen sports or more that
eat into the sports market share leaving hockey somewhere
between Ultimate Fighting Challenge and the Senior's
What I want to know,
as rhetorical as it may be, is where this kind of
clause was for Winnipeg? Where was the NHL saying
that any new owner in 1995 would have to keep the
team in Winnipeg should a new arena be constructed?
And remember, all three levels of government came
together on a 16,800 seat building at The Forks.
Oh, I forgot, The Forks address has a postal code
not a zip code.
This country, and
especially Winnipeg, should be outraged at the amount
of backing the NHL is giving an American city and
how clearly it is sending the message that it wants
to continue this hopeless dream of making hockey
thrive down south. I am happy for the fans in Pittsburgh.
They must be, or better be, ecstatic that the NHL
is protecting their interests so extensively. Good
Luckily I beleive
we won't have to endure Gary Bettman at the helm
much longer. I strongly believe that Bill Daly will
take over as The Commish and he has a better understanding
of the importance of a strong presense in Canada.
I hope you all enjoy
the new feature on JetsOwner.com called "Got Fans?". It aims to post the top 5 worst attendances each week in the NHL and show the
world what is really going on. It also reveals the
fact that it is even worse than reported being that
the figures shown reflect the number of "tickets distributed" and not people in the seats. The Manitoba Moose should launch 6,000 tickets
off the roof of the CanWest Global Building each
gameday and declare that they draw 15,000 to each
game. Afterall, the tickets would be distributed,
And take note of one
thing.....every figure that will ever appear in that
top 5 worst list will always represent a building
with a zip code.....not a postal code.
Bloom: Real State of the League Address
leader Howard Bloom, who recently cited Winnipeg
as the No. 1 place for hockey to relocate to, more
recently had this to say in his blog. (note: the link is from this website's chat board because there
are figures inlcuded with the article....thanks "canadian99")
Also, keep an eye
out for a new feature on JetsOwner.com. I think you
will all love it. It should be up and running by
Be sure to check out
the campaign e-Store for the perfect gift idea for
a supporter on your Christmas list!
Just some "posted" attendance
figures from this past week alone:
Leafs at Bruins 13,407
(original six rivalry!)
Canadiens at Islanders - 9,551
Coyotes at Blackhawks - 9,078
Senators at Capitals - 10,926
Canadiens at Devils - 10,986
Senators at Islanders - 8,741
Panthers at Penguins - 12,511
Predators at Coyotes - 11,735
Predators at Blues - 5,410 (not a typo!)
For the 63rd time...how
exactly is MTS Centre too small?!? And they plan
to raise the salary cap?! Based on what?
The six Canadian teams?
Because there's no way it can be based on league
revenue. Things have gotten worse...way worse.
No more excuses that
baseball teams are in the playoffs or football is
starting. None of those excuses hold ground anyway
becuase, even if true, it only goes to prove that
there isn't room for hockey in a city's sports market.
If there isn't enough people to fill an arena for
hockey despite what else is going on, then the city
can't sustain NHL hockey. Again, this is where Winnipeg
looks so good. There aren't any other sports that
would compete with hockey at any time of the year.
Hockey wouldn't be #5 or #7 or even #2 for that matter.
It would always be #1. So even though we only have
700,000 people (e-hem Al Strachan), we all put hockey
first. The sport hockey would have 700,000 people
to draw from in Winnipeg. After the NFL, MLB, NBA, NASCAR, NCAA and making moonshine
in the bathtub, how many people are left in Atlanta
for hockey to draw from? Okay, that moonshine comment
was cheap, but hey, we have to listen to false stereotypes
about our city all the time.
If you refer back
to the list above (which again is just a sample of
the past 8 days or so) you'll realize that you could
switch the word "Senators" with the word "Admirals" and then replace the word "Islanders" with the word "Moose" and the attendance figure would...well it would just stay the same.
It's not like I'm
picking on one team to make a point. Of the nine
games listed above, there are eight buildings represented.
They are random evenings, not just Mondays I'm picking
out (which isn't an excuse anyway).
Why do arenas need
to be 19,000 seats unless they are in large Canadian
cities? Mostly due to the NBA. Otherwise there really
is no point in having this many seats for NHL hockey.
Ask 80% of American team owners.
15,200 paid seats
every game in a loud and intimate setting, 60 luxury
suites sold out and no other sport that significantly
taps into hockey's marketplace. That's called a perect
place for a team. That's called Winnipeg.
Strachan, I beg to differ that the NHL Board of Governors would not want Winnipeg in
the league. It doesn't matter who comes to town
in these brutal current hockey markets, they couldn't
draw fans if there was a $20 bill taped to each
seat. And if you think it's Canadian teams that
deter people from going to hockey games down south,
then consider yourself just as lost as that brilliant
plan to grow hockey in all corners of the United
Do you honestly think
that the fans will miraculously come out to the rink
in Miami because Kansas City is coming to town? I'm
tired of being force fed loads of crap. Everyone
A Small Market?
You could have fooled
me. That's because the numbers in the NHL don't lie.
Or actually they do, but the truth only gets worse.
Despite whatever spin
the NHL wants to put on it, the fact remains that
attendances are horrific in many cities in the NHL,
and that includes places that you'd least expect.
Large markets (I will use that term loosely throughout)
like Chicago, St. Louis, New Jersey, New York and
Boston that are traditionally healthy hockey havens
are posting embarrassing attendance figures. Southern
cities like Phoenix, Nashville and Miami are also
reporting brutal numbers. Tampa Bay and Carolina,
riding their recent Stanley Cup hype, are posting
20,000-range attendances, but who's to say if this
is an accurate portrayal. Not likely.
All of this begs to
ask one of my favourite questions: How exactly is
Winnipeg considered a small hockey market? Assume
MTS Centre could put 15,500 people in the building
with minor modifications (one extra row, 12 more
suites etc). Now take a look at these attendance
figures down south and ask yourself where a hockey
team would have a better chance. In Winnipeg at MTS
Centre? Or in some 21,000 seat building in Missouri
or Arizona or Florida? Even if tickets are paid for
and not used, those empty seats can't scream loud.
They also can't buy popcorn, nachos or beer. They
don't buy game programs, a souveneir or hail a cab.
They don't hit the local pub after the game and therefore
they don't put a penny into the team or economy surrounding the arena.
Want to find out where
the NHL ranks among the likes of the NFL, MLB, NBA,
NASCAR and college sports? Look no further.
- Chicago drew
a whopping 8,008 for a game against Nashville on October 12th. I think the Moose draw more.
Louis has already had five home games in 4-digit numbers, to be exact; 8,531, 8,629, 9,049, 9,467, and 9,631. Their arena holds nearly 20,000 people for hockey. Looks like they might want
to look into borrowing that curtain that MTS Centre
uses to close-off the upper bowl. Editor's Update: Quote from a Nov. 13 SLAM Sports article: "After four announced crowds of less than 10,000 at the Scottrade Centre, there
were fewer than 5,000 yesterday. A team that made the playoffs 25 years in a row - a major league
record in North America - can't draw flies anymore."
- You'd never know New
Jersey (8,269 on Novemeber 2nd) and the New York Islanders (9,431 on October 16th) are in the heart of a metropolitan population base of over
20 million people.
- Nashville, Atlanta,
Florida, Anaheim, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago, Washington,
New Jersey, St. Louis and NYI are all averaging less
fans (or faux fans) than MTS Centre holds. That's
11 teams that can't pull in as many fans as we can
fit into our new building. And they are in...here
goes again..."larger markets". Many of them are doing exceptionally well on the ice too.
If our arena is too
small than what is the use for the size of their
buildings? I'll tell you what the use is. It's called
concerts, NBA basketball and anything but the NHL.
Even with the population base these cties have, they
can't, or don't want to , stretch their sports dollar
far enough to include hockey. There are too many
other options that are more appealing. Not in Winnipeg.
Hockey would be it. First and foremost. Front and
Check out this
great take on where the NHL has gone wrong. An interesting perspective from an American
writer. The league is well aware of what is going
on so I don't understand how they think sugar-coating
it will fool anyone.
Winnipeg needs the
NHL. The NHL needs Winnipeg.
We have the ability
to draw from numerous revenue sources and draw full
ticket value for each and every seat.
Attendances are 100%
capacity in all Canadian markets. We are the ones
bringing the overall average up. Sure there are good
American hockey cities, just not 24 of them. Not
by a long shot.
Sold to Canadian, Eh
It's official. The
Pittsburgh Penguins are under new ownership, and
a Canadian no less. What does this all mean for Winnipeg? It's hard to say just yet, especially since it is not known whether or not Pittsburgh
will be able to secure a new arena for the franchise
or not. Should they build a new facility for the
Pens they will stay put anyway.
But if a new arena
fails to get built and the lease with Mellon Arena
expires come next June, there is freedom to move
the franchise elsewhere. Being that the new owner
is a Canadian (Jim Balsillie of BlackBerry fame),
it certainly can't hurt the chances of the possibility
that a franchise move might be north. But where north
On our side, we have
a brand new arena, ready to move into, which eliminates
the cost for Mr. Balsillie to construct one which
could easily run upwards of $225 million. Also avoided
in Winnipeg is the costly mandatory territory infringement
fee that would be owed to the Buffalo Sabres and
Toronto Maple Leafs, thought to be at least $75 million.
That means that a move to Winnipeg saves the new
owner $300 million in costs on top of the $175 million
he has already paid for the team up front.
Even if Copps Coliseum
were used to ice an NHL team, it would require incredible
amounts of upgrades that would only become outdated
in a short period of time anyway, much like the facility
is now. For example, Copps boasts just a single concourse
to service all 17,000+ seats and has few private
boxes which, at best, are sub-par in today's standards.
A new arena would need to be constructed. Obviously
a man with as deep pockets as Mr. Balsillie has could
afford to build a rink and pay off the Sabres and
Leafs, but the point is he wouldn't need to. I suppose
on the bright side, if he did it might spell the
end to the Sabres in Buffalo and they would be next
on our radar.
Though maybe a tad
too optimistic, you can't help but feel that this
situation is ideal for Winnipeg's chances of eventually
luring the Pens here. Here is why. It has been made
relatively clear that a price tag of $175 million
is too steep for any group in Winnipeg to front,
or at least be willing to. Understandable if not
unfortunate seeing as the Pens were worth $100 million
less than that only two short years ago. But where
it gets ideal is a scenario where we can provide
a new building to move into in a day's notice and
give the team the best shot a turning a profit and
being successful, most importantly because we are
in a hockey market and could sell-out 15,000 seats
regularly. In essence, we would split equities with the new ownership. They have the team, we have
the house. An example scenario might work like this.
The True North limited
partners (plus any addional investment) could purchase
25% of the franchise while leaving a majority 75%
share with existing Pens ownership. In turn, the
Pens ownership buys into MTS Centre for 25%, leaving
75% with True North. Meaning the two sides virtually
exchange a portion of the value in their respective
assets but maintain majority ownership of each. They
become equity partners in achieving the same goal...icing
a winning hockey team and creating the largest potential
bottom line. Together they hire top front office
hockey people to run the new NHL team while watching
MTS Centre genrate ample money from concerts and
several other sources. Sounds good to me and it really isn't that impossible.
What does sound impossible
is sustaining a pro hockey team in Kansas City year
after year. Or putting a team in Waterloo, Ontario.
If we judge by various polls scattered throughout cyberspace over the past two days, Winnipeg is the overwhelming
majority leader when it comes to being asked where
the Pens should move to if they can't stay put in
Pittsburgh. All polls show landslide figures where
Winnipeg leads with over 50% of votes, while cities
like Hamilton, Quebec City, Kansas City and Houston
register numbers between 8%-11%.
And does everybody close to this debate seem to forget a very telling set of
events in the recent past? Winnipeg sold-out (and turned hundreds away) a
meaningless exhibition game between two teams that weren't dressing half
their stars at ticket prices upwards of $119 each. Hamilton, the city that
only 11% of web browsers feel should get a team, got roughly 7,700 people
out to their exhibition game a week later, turning nobody away. Am I missing
something here or does Winnipeg shine with bright colours when compared to
the desire Hamilton shows to gain an NHL franchise. Oh, and Hamilton is surrounded
by a marketplace of over 4 million people. This should be brought up repeatedly
in the media. REPEATEDLY! Yet some personalities (shame on you Darren Dreger,
TSN) insist on throwing out the same old "Winnipeg can't afford it and can't spend $100 per ticket and doesn't have the
corporate support" comment, despite the fact that these pre-conceptions and reputations have been
proven false and thrown out the door long ago. Nice to see "sports" people paying attention to the facts.
always Florida, Nashville, Atlanta, Carolina and
Phoenix to prey on should the Pens move to Thunder
Beyond the multiple
kudos to our city and new arena from the likes of
Wayne Gretzky and Jeremy Roenick, there were many
hot discussions about the return of the NHL on various
media outlets. Thanks to the Winnipeg Sun for running a feature on the flyering of MTSC on Sunday night, TSN Off The Record for showing footage of the flyering, Global Edmonton and Global Winnipeg for doing a feature, CBC Radio Winnipeg for hosting a call-in show and The Fan Radio in Calgary for spending some time with me as well. To those that I couldn't get back to
in time, I apologize. It has been a very busy few
Mark Chipman on for approximately ten minutes yesterday
morning. Check out their Audio Vault and scroll to "Sept 18 - 9am", then forward to the 9:10 mark.
Chipman was the Winnipeg Free Press. The reason I refer to these links is that both discussions reveal in detail
just what is going on. It should clear up some things
for those of you that aren't certain where things
stand or choose not to buy into what I have been
saying (which, by the way is understandable). We
must keep level heads on this issue but push the
idea consistently on everyone.
Once again, thanks
to all those who helped with the massive operation
on Sunday night. Getting 11,000 of those flyers out
was an incredible achievement. The digital version of the flyer is available for download by clicking here.
Speaking of the website,
in just the past 48 hours it has received over 8500
hits, most of which are likely first time visitors.
Media coverage always boosts the numbers but it's
the flyers have had the largest affect. There's always
more room on the bandwagon!
On a side note, the
Winnipeg Sun was trying their best to get a quote
out of me that would state that I intend to run for
mayor thanks to a certain sign that was held up high
at the game Sunday night! As funny as it was...thanks
but no thanks!
Game Huge Success!
Thanks to the dedicated
efforts by 22 campaign supporters, it is estimated
that roughly 11,000 flyers got into the hands of hockey fans last night at a sold out MTS Centre. Job well
done! The response was overwhelmingly positive and
I am happy to report that I did not pick up one single
flyer off the floor or sidewalk, meaning most flyers
likely ended up in people's pockets. People seemed
eager to read the content of the flyer which was
aimed at informing about what tickets price levels
would look like for NHL hockey for several different
ticket packages. It also included positive quotes
from key people in the hockey world regarding the
NHL's return to Winnipeg, as accumulated over the
past two years. In short, the flyer went off extremely
well and I believe the design and content was enjoyed by many.
out the operation with respect and courtesy, once
again showing that this campaign is first class and
nothing less. Thanks to all of you who helped out
and thanks to the many of you who gave such favourable
feedback to myself and others throughout the entire
evening. It was well received.
As for the events
of the day, it started in the morning for me. I found
myself standing right next to Wayne Gretzky in the
locker room during a media scrum and also included
sightings of Kevin Lowe, Curt Keilback and Shane
Doan. There was an overload of positive feedback
about MTS Centre, the city of Winnipeg and the NHL
returning in general. The vibe was superb early on
in the day.
When it became time
to hand the flyers out the vibe had hit the streets.
People from all directions were converging on MTS
Centre clad in Jets gear as if the team were still
here and it was a regular season game. Seeing that
many people pouring in from all angles was incredible.
It really showed what the downtown could feel like
if this were 42 nights a year and it was our own
team we were following. People gladly accepted the
handouts and immediately began reading. Instantly
people began selecting and discussing where their
affordability range was for tickets, like they were
actually chossing a package to buy. It was exactly
what the purpose was. To get people to talk about
it again and be informed of just what they would expect to pay for various seats to NHL hockey.
When 7:00 rolled around, there wasn't a wasted flyer
to be seen. The floors were clean and game ready
The first two periods
were relatively calm but the energy was clearly there.
Everywhere you looked there were the colours red,
white and blue and various signs being held up. By
the 3rd period, twenty rounds of the wave were going
around and around along with loud chants of 'Go Jets
Go!' The buzz was back and for one night we got a
taste of what it could be like again. And imagine
if it were actually our team playing on the ice!
What then? Insanity, that's what.
All in all it was
a very telling night. Upwards of a thousand people
were turned away if not more, clearly showing that
demand was very high, even at high ticket prices
mostly between $79 and $119, to see a meaningless
exhibition game between two teams that aren't even
ours. In fact one an arch-rival and the other the
team that was ripped away from us 11 years ago. It
spoke volumes about the hunger level in this city
for NHL hockey.
Besure to browse through
all media outlets today to read through what was
said by various hockey people and journalists. There
wasn't a negative thing mentioned. Not one. Nice
for a change. Once again, it takes Wayne Gretzky's
comments to wake people up in this city. Whatever
it takes...we have known it all along.
Tick Tock. Tick Tock.
(Pictures coming soon)
Set For Sunday!
For those of you who
made it down to Tavern this evening...thanks for
coming! To those of you who couldn't make it...you're
fired...just kidding! Below are some key notes about
Sunday for you to follow.
1) Everyone is to meet
in the parking lot across from Tavern United (Graham
St.) at 5:00pm sharp on Sunday. I will have all of the flyers to divide amongst you.
2) At that point,
you will be off to your designated door post that
have been assigned. There are 4 sets of street level
doors and 3 sets of skywalk doors to man. I have
the map to show you once you have met with the clan
at the Tavern parking lot.
3) Should it rain
we'll have no choice but to step just inside the
doors to hand the flyers out. Obviously this does
not pertain to skywalk volunteers as they will be
4) There will be no
talking back to anyone who gives lip. This likely
won't even occur because this is the exact target
audience that wants the NHL in the first place. But
should you get flack, simply ignore it or tell them
to enjoy the game. Better to keep handing out flyers
than to miss a dozen people while arguing with an
idiot. Once again, this falls under the "be the bigger person" category. True North are aware of what we are doing and have given permission
for this handout to occur. It marks the first time
the building managment have ever allowed such an
activity, so carry yourself with maturity and respect.
But most of all...have
fun!! Remember, we're promoting the cause and making
sure that nobody forgets what Winnipeg wants and
what Winnipeg needs! Remember to wear your Jets gear
or campaign shirt. Some campaign shirts will be there
shoud you decide you want to pick one up.
Also be sure to bring
catchy signs! I will be going around taking pictures
of the best signs to include on the site.
Falling Into Place For Oilers-Coyotes Game
Things are rolling
along as planned for the big blitz handout before
the NHL Exhibition game come September 17th at MTS
Centre. For those of you who offered their help,
thank you. There will be a meeting of sorts on Thursday, September 14th at Tavern United Powerhouse at 7:00pm. I say "of sorts" because there is nothing intense about this meeting. It is more about getting
everyone on the same page and assigning them certain
doors of the arena to work outside of. It is also
about making sure everyone understands some ground
rules about conduct. We must continue to hold this
camapign's name with the highest regard not only
for our own credibility but for the reputation of
our key sponsor to this event, Trackitback. To find out more about this up-and-coming Winnipeg company visit their website.
Though so many of
you e-mailed me regarding Michael Farber's column
in Sports Illustrated, I seemed to have missed that
there was a poll included with that online version.
The article has the writer imagine he was NHL commissioner
for a day. His #1 task? To put a team back in Winnipeg.
In fact Winnipeg is running away with the poll results
by a margin of over 40%. Check out Farber's article and be sure to participate in the poll to count your vote.
The "Rants" section
and "Notable Quotes" will be updated shortly. Thanks for your patience. Please don't forget to send
in your photo of your campaign t-shirt somewhere
on earth to add to our "Wear in the World" section. And if you don't have a shirt yet...get one!! It makes doing these
PR stunts that much easier to pay for. All proceeds
from t-shirts sales thus far were used to cover some
of the costs of this upcoming event. Ten thousand
glossy, colour, full page sheets aren't cheap! Looking
forward to seeing many of you help pass them out.
Call for NHL Exhibition Game Help
Big plans are in store
for NHL exhibition game night on Sunday, September
17th at MTS Centre. The Return of the Jets Campaign
intends to hand-out 10,000 glossy flyers to people
entering the game that night. Although we already
have great volunteers on board, we will need a few
more helping hands to properly distribute the full-page
colour flyers. If you have already offered your services,
I will contact you shortly regarding the game plan.
We will likely meet the week before to discuss simple
details. Please feel free to contact me if you are seriously interested in joining these others in helping out. All
that is required is an hour of solid, mature help.
No talking back to disbelievers. No showing up late
or quitting early. Just level-headed dedication for
an hour. Maybe an hour and a half.
Stay tuned for more
info and for reaction to the sale of the Penguins
once it becomes official and concrete details are
released. There is both good and bad news for Winnipeg
in that deal. We just have to prepare ourselves to
look like gold in front of the NHL and North America
as a whole on September 17th.
is three years old today. Not much more to add to
the last post, however, be sure to put aside some
money for that NHL exhibition game coming to MTSC
this fall. We NEED to sell the building out. Although
selling out one single exhibition game is not indicative
of what kind of hockey city we are, it will still
make a statement. I appreciate all of the help that
has been offered so far, but for the many of you
who don't frequent the "Campaign Chat" forum, please feel free to contact me if you are seriously interested in helping hand something out that night outside
of MTSC. I will need 14 volunteers in total. Only
mature individuals whom I feel will reflect the campaign
in a positive and constructive manner will be chosen.
Success Proves Front Office More Important
Than Size Of Wallet
For those of you who
have forgotten, June 1st will mark this website's
3rd anniversary. Time does fly. Though I'd certainly
love to have our ultimate goal accomplished by now,
I feel we are well on our way and in the right position.
There are still plenty of struggling teams down south
and despite what the NHL brass wants us to believe,
there are far too many empty seats in at least eight
buildings in the United States and far too many discounted
seats for those that are filled. There are also far
too many households that don't even have the opportunity
to watch NHL hockey due to the lack of a large scale
network covering the league. The future of the NHL
is clearly up north. Winnipeg is still the answer.
As an 80's kid, it is hard to cheer for the Oilers,
they had their fill of success and some. But I must
admit, just like the Flames run two years ago, it is
great to see a Canadian "small
market" team succeed. Why? Because Edmonton's ability to go all the way is a clear indication
that, in the new NHL, a team with a $30 million payroll
can win the Stanley Cup. That is a huge statement and
goes to show what a smart front office can do for a
franchise without maxing out their salary cap. Is it
any coincidence that the Oilers, who were always contending
for the cup since their existence, did nothing during
the "out-of-control years" of the NHL (1994-2004), then once the CBA is rectified, they are right back
in the mix. Obviously not. Achieving this level of
success also allows teams to generate more revenue...well
The other interesting aspect of this year's playoffs is whether a team like the
Carolina Hurricanes can turn a profit even after going
so deep into the post-season. If they can't, it speaks
volumes about the future of sun belt franchises. Quite
simply the future is bleak. Nashville couldn't even
get it's corporate community to ante up for the first
round of the playoffs this year, not to mention it's
fans held back too. This goes to prove that corporate
support in these markets is just that...showing face
during the regular season. True interest would spawn
playoff sell-outs. And for those of you about to argue
that Nashville has a larger building and that they
got as many fans out as MTS Centre can hold at full capacity I say this; first, MTS Centre seats would all
be full priced tickets. Second, Nashville is double
the size of Winnipeg. So why can't they fill 30,000
seats? Under the NHL's mentality that's why they chose
Nashville right? Because there are 1.5 million people
there? And there is where my HOCKEY FANS PER CAPITA
comes into play. If people want to declare Winnipeg
a small market and in the same sentence admit that
Nashville (a larger market) barely gets the same amount
of fans to their games then they are out to lunch.
What we are looking for here are large HOCKEY markets,
not merely large business markets. Under that model,
teams should be in Mexico City, Sydney and Dublin. But they're not. That's because they don't
buy into hockey. Winnipeg does. A much larger percentage
of our 710,000 people do than the 1.5 million in Music
Scott Taylor recently
commented that Winnipegger's only make an average of
$661 per week. This is really an irrelevant statistic
anyway. But hey, we're looking good! The average resident
of Nashville earns $423 per week (source: city-data.com)
and they have far more pro and college sports to stretch
those dollars than Winnipeg does. Want more? People
in Raleigh, NC earn an average of $482, Tampa $571,
Phoenix only $381. Bottom line: the stat means nothing.
The issue is really this: who of the people who earn
more than the mean income will buy season tickets and
who of the people that make less than mean income will
scrape to buy single game tickets or minipacks? The
answer is higher in Winnipeg for both cases.
The Manitoba Moose signed
an extension for affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks
last week. The 3-year deal should set off no panic
buttons. It is merely business and to be honest, I
am surprised it wasn't a 5-year deal like the last
one was. The Canucks don't want to sign a one year
agreement only to have to do it all over again a year
form now. In addition, remember, the Moose can leave
town just a quickly as they got here from Minnesota...overnight.
Regardless, nothing to be concerned with. It is common
knowledge now that Winnipeg and True North have left
the door open to NHL discussions. Lets hope those discussions
go very well very soon.
Stay tuned for exciting
details to unfold regarding the recently announced
NHL exhibition game to be played at MTSC on this fall.
We have MAJOR work to do. Being that the teams are
the Oilers and Coyotes, the atmosphere will be electric
and very emotional. The signs will be out that night
and so will we! We must sell the place out at NHL prices
to make a HUGE statement to the NHL and to the rest
of the province.
Declares Chipman, True North Have Offer On Table
Yesterday, national US
news service MSNBC reported that Winnipeg was officially in the running to purchase the Penguins should
their plans to stay in Pittsburgh fall through. This
comes at a time when Winnipeg local media are equally
excited talking about potholes. If that sounded like
a call to local media to get with this NHL campaign,
When one ponders how Mark
Chipman could afford to put forth such a deal, you
have to realize that although he admittedly does not
hold the capital to handle this kind of venture on
his own, True North's limited partners certainly can.
How a deal is structured locally (ie - MTSC operation
and ownership) remains to be seen. But it is clear
somebody has been convinced that the numbers work.
You don't approach a National Hockey League team if
you're just joking.
As for the Pens, they
may just end up staying put. But that gives us the
ability to put pressure on "operation pounce". As in pounce on the next team that needs a new home. And they'll be several
despite what the attendence figures would have you
Example: Four tickets "accounted
for" in Nashville.
2 paid $36.00, 2 got free
tickets. Total ticekt sales $72.00. The two that showed
spent $40.00 at the game but got their nachos for free,
as did anyone who walked through the gate. The two
free tickets didn't show and therefore didn't buy popcorn,
beer, parking or a program. Grand total revenue...$112.00.
Example: Four tickets
used in Winnipeg.
2 paid $69.00. 2 paid
$59.00. Total ticket sales $256.00. All four got nothing
for free except a small promo-pack of Clodhoppers at
the gate. They spent $96.00 in concessions and parking.
Oh, and they also screamed
Now what's better? 16,800
faux people or 15,200 actual people.
Sun Runs 3-Part "Jet Lag" Report
Upon the conclusion of
a CBC call-in show that I was a guest on today, I couldn't
help but notice the many scribbles I had chicken scratched
all over the back of one of my utility bills. They
were all counter-arguments that I was ready to rebut
from the insanely negative phone calls to CBC. I'm
sure every downer made a phone call during the 25-minute
segment whose theme was whether or not Winnipeg has
survived the loss of the Jets 10 years later.
My answer...well I suppose
we've survived. I can survive a blizzard too but that
doesn't mean it was fun. And it certainly doesn't mean
I wouldn't have preferred a sunny day.
Paul Friesen from the
Winnipeg Sun was the other panel guest and to my surprise
we virtually agreed on just about everything. Two callers
weren't even from Winnipeg and the others were senior
citizens who said the NHL is too expense. One went
so far as to say that when the Jets were here he couldn't
give away the third ticket he had to every game. Sounded
a little phony to me (who buys three season tickets
and gives one away to a third party every game?). Another
said Winnipeg was not the hockey city we claim to be.
Do the World Juniors ring a bell? Another claimed he's
a big fan of the Moose but had only been to one game
this season. Yeah, and I'm a huge Hillary Duff fan
but I don't own her CDs and didn't attend either of the two concerts over the past year. Sigh.
I was called a dreamer
twice, told we don't have the population and informed
that downtown doesn't have the build-up to sustain
an NHL team. Duh, it works the other way around! Growth
stems from the franchise being the nucleus, not the
other way around! Needless to say, none of these people
have read through this website. I swear I nearly drove
to the nearest bridge. Problem was it was the Redwood
and it's under construction. Then I thought of the
Charleswood bridge, but that would be too ironic because
it was opened the very summer the Jets left town.
Alright, enough of the
In a nutshell, the callers
were older "I-hate-change-and-have-no-clue-about-the-real-facts" people. It got so bad, Paul Friesen's tone started to sound like he was on the
staff of this campaign. With no time left to rebut,
I signed off and went on with my day. A day that included
reading Part Two of a Winnipeg Sun look at the tenth
anniversary of the Jets heading to the desert. I found
today's pieces rather dull and void of any real insight
besides that same economist from U of M that insists
there are no ties to an economic influx from a professional
sports team being in town. I guess you can skew numbers
any way you want to. Last time I checked, Pearl Jam
created more business downtown than Billy Idol did
as NHL hockey would have more impact than the AHL. In other words, more people equals more business, period.
In other news, it looks
like the Pens could be staying put. That's not to say
that's final, but if so, I am happy for them. I'd take
'em, don't get me wrong, but they should have their
team just like we should have ours.
There are many teams under
water right now but none have officially asked for
a life preserver...yet. There has never been any doubt
in my mind that call will come. What concerns me most
is what happens when that call comes. The money is
here, the interest is here, the building is here and
the big players are here. The million dollar question?
It's not whether we can afford it, it's not whether
MTSC is big enough and it's not whether the NHL wants
The unknown is how is
the deal going to go down? To elaborate... how much
for a team? How is MTSC to be run and who controls
it? How is the debt on the building dealt with? Who
is involved from outside True North's limited investment
partners (a list that carries some of Manitoba's heaviest
hitters)? Can these individuals work together? Quite
the complex question and quite reminiscent of 1995.
We are always our own
worst enemy in this city. Can that perception be broken?
Time will tell. Lets hope for all of our sakes that
our wealthiest citizens can all get along instead of
scare away a potential drowning franchise. There would
be nothing worse than seeing a dozen rich people fighting
over who gets to throw the life preserver. Because
during that time Kansas City could have already pulled
the hysterical hockey team ashore.
Campaign Headline Chamber Mag
North CEO Mark Chipman gives a candid explanation of
what it will take to bring NHL hockey back to Winnipeg
in the newest issue of The Chamber Wire, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce's quarterly magazine.
Many of the figures that
appear on this website are backed up via this article
which is a positive outlook on the "conceivable" idea of the NHL returning to Winnipeg. The article concludes with the mention
of the Return of the Jets Campaign and several quotes from myself. While it fails to mention the actual website
address, it does note that this campaign has been around
since the spring of 2003. Be sure to read the entire
article found In The Press.
you visited the site today chances are pretty good
that you were this campaign's one millionth hit! That's
right, since June 1, 2003 there have been over a million
hits to the website and over 225,000 unique visitors
(calculated as an accumulation of different visitors
on a daily basis). From far and wide, the Return of
the Jets Campaign has attracted people from all over
the world. Some former Winnipeggers, some who have
never been to Winnipeg in their life.
right, for a limited time when you order anything from
the campaign e-store you'll receive a free "Bring 'em Back" bumper sticker! Stick them where everyone can see! Also note that a 15% discount
is given to any order of two or more products. While
you wait for your t-shirts to arrive in the mail, pass
the time by sending a few well-written e-mails to a
few of the contacts listed under Media Contacts. Spread the word of the new flashy website and online store!
Welcome to the
After 33 months, www.JetsOwner.com
has finally received a make-over! I hope everybody
enjoys the new design and features as well as the online
store that is now operational. A few things still need
to be touched up and more features will be added as
time goes on, but until then, soak up the new site
and be sure to spread the word of our new style!
It must be noted that
all of the ideas I had for this site became a reality
largely because of two individuals. Lauren Robb (site re-design) and Jason Wagner (online store) were integral parts of making this happen. A thanks also goes
out to everyone who supported the old site for nearly
three years and we all should look forward to this
new era for the campaign. Now we push this on absolutely
Exciting things are still
coming including a newsletter you can sign up for and
new products to add to our e-Store. The Campaign Chat forum also has a new look to it! Be sure to check out the e-Store and order your shirts today! A free bumper sticker is included with every order
for a limited time!!
March 1st: New
JetsOwner.com Goes Live!!
will be a squeeze, but the all new home of the Return
of the Jets Campaign will go live on Wednesday, March 1st. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Broose Tulloch of CKUW for his generous donation of webspace for no cost for almost 3 years. Broose
helped me with the basics of web design just to get
this campaign off the ground back in May of 2003. Look
how far we've come.
This will be the last
post under the old format of JetsOwner.com. Copy and
Paste the look of it for your achives. It will be interesting
to look at it again down the road.
Enjoy the new site. New
things will be added as always so visit often and look
for coverage in the media regarding the new site and
some content that is new for viewers.
With all the keys in place,
we can now move into high gear.
See you on the new site!
the Key Issue
With the announcement
by Mario Lemiuex that he will look into all options for new ownership for the Penguins there
was naturally a frenzy whipped-up in Winnipeg. Some
media got right into it. Others didn't. Mike Beauregard
of CBC couldn't understand what all the hype was. Sorry
Mike, you missed the point.
Anyone who understands
this process understands that the Penguins situation
could fall one of two ways, one of which would see
the Penguins stay in Pittsburgh; another to be sold
to another American city. You see the Pens have strong
ties to individuals that have little interest in moving
a team to Canada. The Pens would also likely have the
highest of price tags as the first team to cave post-modern
The more cities interested,
the more bidding. That's not to say Winnipeg couldn't
afford to grab the Pens, but do we need to? Absolutely
not. Luckily there are plently of fish in the sea in
the near future. There's also the well known fact that,
should the Pens get their casino money, then the new
owners must keep the team in the Steel City. Will they
get that casino money? Not likely. If that money was
pegged for the Pens it would have been given them long
ago so they could get going on this new arena. The
Pens aren't getting any casino money. Unless somebody
wants to privately build this team an arena, they're
as good as gone. The government is playing a little
game called "not on my watch". Mario is selling for the same reason. He doesn't want to be the bad guy and
wants out before the ship sinks all the way to Antarctica.
Do you blame him? The scary part is that the Pittsburgh
media doesn't seem to understand the severity of the
situation and seem to dismiss the true possibility
of the Pens leaving. They're not taking this seriously
at all. Afterall, they do have other pro sports.
All of this sounds oh-so
back to Mike Beauregard and others. If they think we
are getting whipped into a frenzy because we think
the Pens are moving here, the real reason for excitement
just flew an F-14 right over their heads. What was
the 3rd thing that needed to happen in this website's
list of to-dos? (Please refer to the home page if you
don't know). Better yet I'll spell it out.
The arena is built, the
CBA came through and all people had left to doubt was
whether or not there were people with the bucks willing
to get this done. Two days ago we got that answer.
Knowing this has kept me going for 33 months! Why so
many people have missed this point is baffling.
When Mark Chipman says
he'll throw his hat in the ring, who do you suppose
makes up that hat? Just the Chipman's and Jim Ludlow?
Certainly not. They admittedly do not have the kind
of capital to venture into NHL waters alone. They are
key players and run MTSC but for them to say they will
pursue the Pens situation, it requires a hat with some
major players inside. We're talking a hat from a Dr.
And there is where all
the exciement lays Mr. Beauregard. Not that we think
we're getting the Pens, but that when the time comes
for several other teams to look to move elsewhere we
now know that we have a group that is ready, willing
and more-than-able to try and bring one to Winnipeg.
For those who constantly doubt Mark Chipman's priorities,
we also have the proof that he is clearly willing to
do away with the Manitoba Moose and the AHL. So really
two key questions have been cleared up in one day.
Do the naysayers have anything else to doubt? I'm sure
they'll find something. The "$150 ticket multipled by a family of 83" is still out there.
3 for 3. And just few
weeks past the Jet-O-Meter's timeline of December 2005.
Now we enter into the final waiting period of our journey
knowing that everything is in place at our end. Everybody
in this city...government, business, MTSC brass...are
Now the Return of the
Jets Campaign kicks into full blitz gear with a brand
new flashy website and online store to raise funds
to stuff our desire for the NHL's return in the faces
of every single Winnipegger. Until the job is done.
Famous last words...stay
All New Campaign Website & More!
time has come. The timing is right. After 33 months,
The Return of the Jets Campaign is pleased to annouce
major changes to this website as well as very exciting
additions. By March of 2006, www.JetsOwner.com will go live with its whole new design and features! A more professional design
is being created as you read this and the end results
will be incredible!
The new design will include
all the bells and whistles you would find on other
top websites. Lauren Robb and a handful of other helpers are working with myself on new additions to the
site as well as cleaning up the existing content. There
will be four or five new sections to browse through
and all pages will be more user friendly. But that's
website will be in the design stages very soon. A full
campaign online store will be in operation as well,
complete with worldwide ordering and shipping! The
campaign has a whole new logo and shirt design to unveil at the time the site launches. As time goes on, more
and more campaign gear will be released! The more you
buy, the more you'll support the cause therefore helping
to raise funds for camapign events and costs like:
more merchandise production, various types of advertising,
rallies etc. All proceeds will go to campaign costs.
With so much about to
happen with this camapign, we should all be excited,
but please understand the time and attention to detail
that is involved with such a major overhaul. All of
this should come together by the time the playoff races
are in full gear in the NHL.
Winnipeg is still a hot
topic. With recent positive comments from Mark Chipman
and Teemu Selanne it it obvious that Winnipeg is still
fresh in the minds of owners and players. Also, check
out today's National Post for the feature sports section
article on the 10 year anniversary of the team officially
leaving town. The campaign is mentioned along with
Hang tight! The Return
of the Jets Campaign is about to get much larger in