This weekend, the Times had a nice look at the Buffalo Sabres and their owner, billionaire Tom Golisano. Golisano said something very interesting:
We can remain profitable as long as we play decent hockey…If the team were to evolve into a lower-echelon team, I think there would be significant concern about losing money.
How can teams survive in this kind of environment? Realistically, successful teams are much harder to keep together since the players are obviously performing at a high level, meaning they can command greater value on the free market, once they’re free agents. So not only do teams need to be good, they need to draft well and have a strong talent pipeline so they can continue to be good. Obviously, it’s not impossible, but it is very difficult. So basically, it seems the NHL is setting up the smaller-market teams to fail.
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Speaking of failure, William Rhoden had a Sunday column (and sadly behind the Times paywall), about the NBA reaching out to China. I’m constantly shocked that the NHL isn’t doing more of this kind of outreach in Europe. It probably doesn’t have the same kind of revenue potential as China, but it would have to be better than not doing anything at all.
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Also, thanks to Leafer Sutherland, who posted a cool interview with yours truly over on The NHL Arena Program blog.
Also, since I haven’t mentioned this in a while, don’t forget to show some Twitter love.