FanDuel - WFBC

July 20, 2007

Bettman Buggers Up Balsillie's Bid: Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie has accused NHL commissioner Gary Bettman of forcing the owner of the Nashville Predators to break off discussions about the sale of the team to Balsillie

posted by garfield to hockey at 03:08 PM - 10 comments

Also interesting to note is this story[via kuklas] that came out today proclaiming that if Balsillie did have a franchise and said franchise was unprofitable he would decline revenue sharing due said franchise owner. In conjunction with the arena lease and mock season ticket sales, this Balsillie character is cuing up Bettman's downfall.

posted by garfield at 03:16 PM on July 20

Dude, no doubt Bettman blocked it. He does not want a team moved to Southern Ontario. Geez, I just wanna kick him. Little rat monkey king.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:48 PM on July 20

Gary Bettman is the worst commisioner in professional sports today! First he makes a T.V. deal with a station that hardly anyone can get even if they wanted to, now he is blocking the sale of a franchise that has lost over 70 miilion dollars since they came into the league. If anybody tries to tell me that Kansas City is a better hockey market than southern Ontario then I want some of what they are smoking because anybody who knows hockey knows better than that. I have nothing against Kansas City, but when the opportunity to strengthen the league as a whole is being prevented by the guy who has already fucked things up enough, I have to shake my head and realize that pretty soon there may not be an N.H.L to worry about.

posted by muggsy at 07:05 PM on July 20

Can we please stop talking about Gary Bettman. He is an employee of the owners. He serves at their whim. And he has done a marvelous job for them. You want to blame somebody, blame them, they give him his marching orders, they wanted US expansion, they wanted FOX, they wanted David Stern's ex right hand man, they wanted the lockout. No owner wants another franchise in Southern Ontario (or any other franchises in Canada). The local gate and local TV coverage does nothing for owners in California, or Florida, or Michigan. The other owners want a TV deal in the US, because that's the only way they get more money. Well, that and expansion cash grabs (another ridiculous thing "Bettman" gets blamed for). In that respect, Kansas City (or Nashville, or Bangor, Maine) is a FAR better market than Kitchener-Waterloo or Hamilton or Winnipeg or Quebec or any other nonsensical suggestions. If you were the owner of an NHL franchsise, attempting to justify your investment, and the investment of your partners, where would you rather have a team? I like talking about the pro sports leagues as if they're not franchised entertainment delivery collectives too, but they are. Blaming businesses for attempting to maximize return on investment is a waste of time. That being said, it would be great to ditch the leafs and cheer for the RIM Blackberries.

posted by loquax at 07:36 PM on July 20

The local gate and local TV coverage does nothing for owners in California, or Florida, or Michigan. loquax, you are wrong. The local gate does indeed do something for the owners in California, Florida, Michigan and indeed Colorado and Georgia. Less successful teams in the N.H.L. withdraw money from a revenue sharing fund, and more financially successful teams pay into this fund. Therefore, if a team in Southern Ontario generates more revenue than a team in Nashville or Kansas City, they would be contributing to this fund, as opposed to withdrawing from it. Do you really think McDonalds or any other franchised company cares whether their most successful franchise is in Medicine Hat, Alberta, or on 5th Avenue of in New York. No, they don't. They're just looking for the best financial return they can get for the company. The N.H.L. would put franchises in Capetown and Kabul if they thought they'd make money from doing it.

posted by tommytrump at 08:10 PM on July 20

Revenue sharing in the NHL is minuscule compared to other leagues, and last I heard, it was a pool of something like $100mm a year. The delta in that pool is nothing compared to what a TV deal (however farfetched) in the states might bring. The only reason it even exists is to ensure that the league is big enough and stable enough for a truly national audience. Otherwise, why would the owners of the Leafs or Rangers care if Florida survived or not? Think of it as an investment to show ESPN the NHL is a serious, big four league. Putting a team in Hamilton, even if they sold out every single game, will make ESPN guffaw and jack up the NASCAR coverage. The NHL is not like McDonalds in that the overall league is affected by the individual franchises - the owner of a McDonalds franchise doesn't care where the other franchises are or what they do as long as he makes money. The owner of the Phoenix Coyotes does care - they need the TV deal. Badly. That's REAL revenue sharing. The extra few hundred grand each team might put into a revenue sharing pool is nothing, a fourth line winger. Or a fifth of Nik Antropov's salary. I'd bet that on the chance at a sniff from ESPN anyday. The N.H.L. would put franchises in Capetown and Kabul if they thought they'd make money from doing it. You're absolutely right. That's why they took franchises away from Quebec and Winnipeg and put them in Phoenix and Colorado. Canada is useless to the NHL as a moneymaking operation. At the very least, it takes care of itself with the TSN and CBC dollars. And that's why they would much rather have a team in KC than Hamilton. This is, of course, assuming that one even believes any of the numbers tossed around by the league when it comes to matters like these.

posted by loquax at 08:45 PM on July 20

Can we please stop talking about Gary Bettman. He is an employee of the owners. He serves at their whim. And he has done a marvelous job for them. You want to blame somebody, blame them, they give him his marching orders, they wanted US expansion, they wanted FOX, they wanted David Stern's ex right hand man, they wanted the lockout. Not entirely true. In fact, Bettman has a great deal of power over the owners. The way the NHL Board of Governors is established suggests that the commissioner actually has more relative power than any of the other pro sports. I'm trying to find the article that outlines this arrangement. But it's the TV money that prevents a team in Canada, since all those fans that would flock to another Southern Ontario team are already watching hockey. It's not a "new" market and an expansion in TV revenue. The gate revenue is not nearly as substantial, or as shareable.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:10 AM on July 21

Down with Bettman. He does not mind a team in Canada, as long as it's in Winnipeg, or in worst case, Quebec. He must go. The NHL needs serious contraction, and Bettman has no guts.

posted by Joe188 at 12:53 PM on July 21

Canada is useless to the NHL as a moneymaking operation. At the very least, it takes care of itself with the TSN and CBC dollars. And that's why they would much rather have a team in KC than Hamilton. The NHL got more money from TSN and CBC, because of the demand in the market here, than they got from NBC (zero dollars). Everything that Bettman does in trying to "expand the market" doesn't add up.

posted by mkn at 09:50 PM on July 21

For what it's worth, Nashville is responding, and perhaps it's not an entirely foregone conclusion that the team will be moving.

posted by bender at 11:10 PM on July 22

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