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It seems the NHL has waited long enough to find a buyer that'll keep the franchise in the middle of nowhere. I'm uncertain if the recent success has factored in on that. I can't say I like it though. There are cities waiting for a franchise and a city that has proven for a decade it couldn't sustain a franchise gets to keep on struggling. Well I'm no business man and it's not my money they're toying with, but it's our league and they should only do what's good for the fans.
The recent success has everything to do with this.
I've been to Phoenix (Glendale) for a game this year and can say a few things without a doubt:
- Awesome arena- Nice set of bars and restaurants right outside the doors for pre and post game- Bunch of hotels within walking distance of the arena- The few fans they do have are passionate and hockey savy
However, the place was a ghost town with an "announced attendance" of 14k. At most there were 3000 people in the stands. They pad the figures by including season tickets, comp tickets, special ticket (buy one get 2 free) deals.
If the fan base all of a sudden shows interest then fine keep the team. The fact is that tickets need to be dirt cheap regardless of the teams' success in order to drive fan support. This is not a viable business model.
What I take from this is that there is a deal in place, but it still has several significant problems to overcome:- Need to have a renogiated lease with the city with millions of dollars being paid to the new owner to run the arena (has four of the seven votes needed to push this through the city council)- Need to satisfy the Goldwater Institute that the public funds paying for the team are legitimate (possible, but still a chance of a roadblock)- The new owners will probably want an out clause after X number of years of poor actual attendance (unlikely to fly in the city council)
So is a deal possible to keep the team in Phoenix? Yes. Is it likely to occur? Maybe (50-50). Will it work for the long haul? I doubt it.