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Old 05-12-2011, 03:14 PM
 
416 posts, read 943,762 times
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While I am going for Vancouver all the way, . . . I just have to say this.
Nashville fans should be proud.
The atmosphere in Nashville for game 6 was magic. The fans were LOUD and excited. (and the catfish on the ice was so AWESOME, and perhaps a new tradition)
As a southern city, . . . it looks like hockey is establishing a firm foothold there. I am assuming and hoping the franchise is healthy financially. (CAN ANYONE 100% CONFIRM THIS?)
The team is moving up, and has now burst into the 2nd round for the first time in history, and the future only looks brighter.
and just look at the situation in Phoenix, . . . and it looks like Atlanta is about to lose their team.
You cannot change the performance of your team, but you control the level of support for the team and your own contuct.
So, keep it up in Nashville !
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:28 AM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
13,227 posts, read 18,030,901 times
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Nashville and Atlanta seem to have opposite problems. Nashville has the fan support, but corporate support is nil. Atlanta has all the corporate support it needs, but the fan support is limited to some die-hards. Hopefully things change in both places.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:25 AM
 
Location: yeah
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Nashville is a great market and I'm glad they are really establishing themselves among expansion successes (San Jose, Tampa Bay) rather than failures (Atlanta, Florida).
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Englewood, Near Eastside Indy
8,345 posts, read 14,147,173 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nb1968 View Post
While I am going for Vancouver all the way, . . . I just have to say this.
Nashville fans should be proud.
The atmosphere in Nashville for game 6 was magic. The fans were LOUD and excited. (and the catfish on the ice was so AWESOME, and perhaps a new tradition)
As a southern city, . . . it looks like hockey is establishing a firm foothold there. I am assuming and hoping the franchise is healthy financially. (CAN ANYONE 100% CONFIRM THIS?)
The team is moving up, and has now burst into the 2nd round for the first time in history, and the future only looks brighter.
and just look at the situation in Phoenix, . . . and it looks like Atlanta is about to lose their team.
You cannot change the performance of your team, but you control the level of support for the team and your own contuct.
So, keep it up in Nashville !
Nashville fans have been throwing catfish on the ice for the better part of a decade, albiet in sporadic fashion. As someone who has been a Preds fan since their inception and has been to countless games, it is nice to see that someone in Canada is noticing the atmosphere in Nashville, rather than throwing the city and its fans under the bus at every opportunity. The atmosphere has been that way since day one.
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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I saw a Preds game on-line some time ago, and the one aspect of their presentation ( Fox Sports-Nashville), was the EVEN-HANDEDNESS of their broadcast; sure, they discussed the Preds a little more than their opponents, but the game was broadcast with absolutely no bias whatsoever, which seems to be the exception with home announcers...
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Old 05-13-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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Things must of changed then - because a few years ago the preds announcers were by far the worst - they were the type of homer announcers that whined that every single movement was a penatly and that they were being vilified and that guys like tootoo just couldn't get a fair shake - seriously painful to listen to and it seemed to set the tone for the fans

Glad that things seem to have improved - i like nashville as a city and although I can't stand trotz, he could develop into the preds what a guy like jerry sloan was for the jazz
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:27 AM
 
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Thank you, NB, we are quite proud of the team. We were obviously disappointed that the run ended where it did, but the boys accomplished a lot of new things this postseason. We can only hope for even greater things in seasons to come.


As far as the team's financial situation...it's on much better ground than it was a few years ago. I'm very happy that Craig Leopold decided to bring the NHL to Nashville, but I am equally happy that he is no longer in the picture. He complained that he lost millions of dollars on the team here...then he bought the Minnesota Wild....and is now complaining that they are losing money (how hard could it be to balance the books in the Twin Cities??? Fan support is solid as hell up there).

The new ownership is locally based (not non-residents like Leopold) and committed to both success on the ice, and to the city itself. The team's marketing improved tenfold when the new owners took over. That, coupled with the run to the second round of the playoffs, should be good news going into next season. Attendance improved from 14,900 per game to 16,100 per game (94% capacity) in just one season...and the stadium sold out 16 times, compared to only 4 the previous season. Fan support isn't really much of an issue, now. Yes, I'd like to see a sellout every game...but we're pretty close as it is.

Gnutella is mostly right about the corporate support...that has long been the Predators' problem. Our individual season ticket sales are on par with most of the NHL...it's the corporate support that is lacking. I'm hoping with the recent boost in attendance and visibility, corporations will step in and use this opportunity (not too much, though...we don't want it as dull as Maple Leafs games).



On somewhat of a segue to the current Atlanta situation...it saddens me that they are facing the prospect of losing their team. Yes, fan support is lacking...but I don't think they had a chance with those owners. They are simply awful. I'm not saying the NHL would definitely work in Atlanta...but the experiment known as the Thrashers isn't a great barometer. It takes time to establish a solid and loyal fanbase....and it takes success on the ice...something that always seemed to elude the team. The owners have to be willing to make the monetary sacrifice to build (AND MAINTAIN) a solid team, as well as market the team to potential fans and sponsors. If fans and sponsors don't feel like the ownership is serious about either winning or staying in town, it's doomed.

Now Atlanta isn't known as a great sports town...at least not in terms of support......but, one can only wonder what it would have been like for the Thrashers if they had serious owners.
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Old 05-17-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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excellent post

Ownership is so important - it really drives the whole bus and IMO this is the area where Bettman/NHL has failed the most

It's not so much the expansion or where they've expanded - but they didn't do it with much stewardship

Ownership groups are not well vetted, arenas are not secured in advance, corporation support isn't hand held - they basically leave a lot of it up in the air

It does a disservice to the league and to many of these cities to just plant a team with bad ownership and bad facilities and expect it to shine - especially if it's not a traditional market

You see the importance of ownership and league cooperation in all sports and hockey does a terrible job at this

For all the faults of Bud Selig he's done an above average job of this - not all have been smashing successes - but it seems he's learned from some of the earlier follies and MLB really works hard to get the right mix of ownership/facilities in their markets ...... even if it's a long & difficult road
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finger Laker View Post
excellent post

Ownership is so important - it really drives the whole bus and IMO this is the area where Bettman/NHL has failed the most

It's not so much the expansion or where they've expanded - but they didn't do it with much stewardship

Ownership groups are not well vetted, arenas are not secured in advance, corporation support isn't hand held - they basically leave a lot of it up in the air

It does a disservice to the league and to many of these cities to just plant a team with bad ownership and bad facilities and expect it to shine - especially if it's not a traditional market

You see the importance of ownership and league cooperation in all sports and hockey does a terrible job at this

For all the faults of Bud Selig he's done an above average job of this - not all have been smashing successes - but it seems he's learned from some of the earlier follies and MLB really works hard to get the right mix of ownership/facilities in their markets ...... even if it's a long & difficult road

While I am not a Gary Bettman "hater," I can see many flaws in his approach and handling of the game. I'm honestly shocked that he's still here after the lockout year.

I hear a lot of fans around the league (mainly from Canada or the traditional US markets) claiming that hockey should think about contraction....whether it be to gain a stronger player base, or to cut out the teams that "aren't viable."

A lot of the teams that fall into the latter category have the problems you mention -- mainly poor ownership (or none, in the Coyotes' case). The arenas aren't the problem, as every Sun Belt and expansion arena was built in the 90s or later.

I do think that Bettman went a little too far with the expansion into the Sun Belt markets...too many teams in too little time (he should have allowed a handful, let the seed grow, and then maybe let the next commish decide whether or not to pursue further expansion). Of course, my beloved Nashville team would not be here if it wasn't for that.

Unfortunately for Nashville, we are JUST NOW getting a lot of press about our fan support. The team, the coaches, and the GM have been a solid group for years now, and there is a solid and very die hard fanbase -- even though we haven't always been stellar in attendance numbers, the fans that go have always been loud. You also have to remember that the Predators will not ever be in the top half in attendance simply due to arena size (17,113).

I feel like the Canadian media hasn't, until now, ever given Nashville a fair chance. Yes, it's a small market (in the US, at least). Yes, it's a non-traditional market. But a lot of now successful Northeastern US teams were "non traditional" markets in the early days of the sport. Now that decades have passed, it flourishes there. People who criticize fan support in the Southern markets have to consider the big picture. You don't put a new sport in a market and expect there to be instant success. You have to grow fan support. A decade isn't enough. You need a generation or two before you can fully assess the viability of a market. Why? It's not the original fans who are key to the success. It's their kids...and grandkids. Because it's the young fans who will grow up, always knowing hockey, learning it from infancy, and end up playing the sport as youths, and potentially later on in the NHL itself. To those of us who live here, we have seen incredible growth in youth hockey in a very short amount of time. The NHL teams have brought professional guidance to camps and high school programs...THAT is the future for the NHL in the South. 10 years ago, there were very few places to play, and no high school teams. Now, hockey teams are springing up in high schools across the area, and several new rinks have been built to satisfy the demand.

The South has barely scratched the surface when it comes to the potential hockey market it can become. It's an exciting game...if you are familiar with it, know the rules, and have a team or teams to root for. With 115 million people, the South represents the largest population region in hockey, with arguably the fewest fans. I think Gary Bettman dreamed of making it a viable hockey region. It's fair to say he acted too quickly in moving or expanding too many teams here...but to me, it's not the number of teams that are the problem...it's the commitment and ownership. The NHL needs to make sure that the owners are interested and committed to growing the sport, rather than just owning the team as a potential tax write off, or simply using it as a means for profit (this part isn't exclusive to the Southern markets). The teams with solid ownership, on-ice success, and solid fanbases, like Dallas, Carolina, Tampa, and Nashville, are good examples of what hockey can be here. Atlanta never had a chance as far as I'm concerned...and it looks like it will be too late to salvage the potential of that market. It's a shame, too.

The truth is, if the NHL wants to remain part of the Big 4 sports leagues, it needs to grow its fanbase. It's not going to do that in Canada and the Northeast. I applaud Bettman for looking over the horizon, and seeing the potential goldmine in the South, even if it has come with mixed results. To remain competitive with the NBA and MLB, they need to gain support in every corner of the US. This isn't to say that teams shouldn't be moved if support is eroding or the team is a financial failure...but I don't see contraction, or a move back towards Canada as a long term solution to the sport. The solution is to make the non-traditional markets....traditional. That takes time, money, and effort. It will be an investment well-paid off in the future if they put the work into it. It will also take a couple more decades, at least, before the approval comes from the other, more established hockey markets.
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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I agree with that as well - looking at it many teams had stadiums set at expansion

I know the coyotes didn't and that was a major issue and is still part of the problem that they have today - The panthers the same, they moved into a new building and have been terrible - The lightning originally played at the thunderdome/trop - The sharks at the cow palace and the pepsi center came a few years after the relocation of the nords/avs

However - Atlanta, MN, Columbus, Nashville, the Ducks and others had relatively shiny & new buildings waiting for them
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