Thursday, May 24, 2007

Think Hamilton will get a team? Dream on!

After failing to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins, the owner of RIM (the company that makes the Crackberry) has bought the Nashville Predators. Already there is talk about Jim Balsillie moving the team to Hamilton. But it simply won't happen -- in fact unless the Buffalo Sabres or Toronto Maple Leafs both went bankrupt at the same time it will never happen.

Forget the indemnification issues -- which could run as high as $75 million US for each of those teams. It comes down to a simple thing: People in Hamilton just don't care. Really, they don't.

If they can't be bothered to support a minor league team that's made it to the Final Four and is one game away from the Calder Cup final (average attendance during the playoffs has been a pathetic 3000 out of 17000 seats) then why on earth could they be expected to support a team with tickets costing ten times as much? The attendance at the recent Brier was pathetic. So it is with a lot of other major events in town. In fact, the last time Hamilton did anything successful was the 2003 Road Cycling Championship and that really was a one-off.

My feeling is that Balsillie will move Predators to Kitchener -- just outside the danger zones for the two "enemy" cities. Besides, there are more corporations based in the Golden Triangle than Hamilton and with that much more money for box seats. A new stadium would probably be needed but it could be built practically for free and not on the backs of Waterloo Region taxpayers. Here in Hamilton, we're still paying for the white elephant called Copps Coliseum and it's completely inadequate in the present environment -- they'd need quadruple the number of boxes just to break even. A 17000 seat stadium doesn't make money. One needs at least 21000 to make it work.

Besides, we're a crowded house as it is in the East. If there's a city that really deserves a team more than any other, it's Winnipeg. Phoenix isn't about to move back to their old home but another team might be persuaded.

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Anonymous said...

Get Harper and McGuinty to dole out some cash fast. We need a new arena in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge soon and fast. The Preds will be playing there in 2008

Anonymous said...

Did you see the series between Winnipeg and Hamilton? Winnipeg had a near sell-out and Hamilton I believe averaged around 2500 people per game. That's not supporting hockey so they would have a tough time justifying a team in Hamilton.

Warren said...

Though I’m totally biased, Kitchener would be a great place for the team; lots of enthusiasm for the game, and far enough away from Toronto to make it work though. You’re right though, in that a whole new stadium would have to be built. No arena in town is near adequate.

Jason Hickman said...

With all due respect, forget Steeltown.

Bring Back the Jets!

Charles J said...

Go Hamilton Predators! All you doubters will be eating your words!

Kevin F. said...

Hamilton has an NHL arena, needs an NHL team and the arena will sell out every night after the first season becuase everbody will go to see a stanley cup contender play!